Earlier this week, more than 150 sixth grade students from Floyd Dryden Middle School ventured onto the firing range and woods off Montana Creek Road to test their outdoor skills.
The Outdoor Skills and Safety Program is available to all 6th grade students in Juneau.
The program is more than just firearm safety and hunter educations, says volunteer coordinator Jesse Kiehl, who has been involved with the program for 6 years.
“The benefits of this program go way way beyond firearm safety and a Hunter Ed card, so we try to get as many kids involved as possible.”
Kiehl says schools encourage participation in the program because many of the segments apply to all of life in Alaska.
Trip planning, cold water safety and survival, wildlife management, the science that’s involved in meat care, and the mathematics of land navigation are all parts of the curriculum.
“We focus at all times on firearm safety, on safety in the woods, in the field. If the kids take nothing else away from this, every one of them gets a grasp on the basic rules of firearm safety and how to be safe around a firearm. This is Alaska. The vast majority of these kids have a firearm in the home and if they don’t, there’s one in their friend’s house, or more than one. So knowing how to be safe around them is an essential skill for every Alaska kid.”
The program is volunteer driven with people from various groups involved. It is supported by the ADF&G Hunter Education Program, the U.S. Forest Service, Alaska State Troopers and the Taku River Sportsman’s Association.
- The totem pole is an icon of the Pacific Northwest. The carved art form showcases clan stories and family crests in museums around the world. After more than 30 years in the Anchorage Museum, a century-old pole from Southeast has made it back to Sitka, where curators are prepping a permanent home.
- One of the Sealaska regional Native corporation’s longest-serving leaders is stepping down. Rosita Worl says she will not run for another term after 30 years on the board.
- President Donald Trump’s budget outline calls for eliminating funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. The NEA has been a frequent target of Republicans, but U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski supports the endowment, and Tuesday she won the 2017 Congressional Arts Leadership Award.
- Ten years ago, Paul Manafort "secretly worked for a Russian oligarch who wanted him to promote Russian interests," the AP's Chad Day tells NPR.