Tuesday, March 20, 2012

More of the happenings in Kobuk

Things have been so busy that I haven't really gotten around to posting much, for that I apologize.  I must admit though that during our recent spring break (2 days long) I could have come to school and posted then, but I spent much of the time just relaxing.  It was so nice to just sit back and read and so forth.  I realized on Sunday afternoon that I had ready 7 books on my Kindle!
Today was the first day of spring.  Iw as talking to my parents this afternoon and it was 80 degrees there.  We had a high of 1 degree Fahrenheit here.  As cold as that my sound that is actually in some respects a warming.  We have had warmer weather just over spring break even.  On Thursday we reached about 14 degrees above and two teachers from Shungnak walked to Kobuk.  Katie and I walked about 1.5 miles or so back with one of them (the other got a ride back on a snow machine) and then turned around and walked that far back to Kobuk.  To give you an idea of how I have acclimated, I was plenty comfortable on our walk wearing only a sweatshirt and tennis shoes.  The walk was on the Kobuk river and by this point the snow is so hard packed that I could just walk on top of it and thus how I could wear tennis shoes.
Anyway, as to some of the happenings here in Kobuk.  Several weeks ago no I had the joy of traveling 15 miles outside of Kobuk to the camp of a copule that live literally out in the middle of nowhere all year.  It was quite a fun trip. I road in a basket sled that Erin pulled behind her snow machine on the way there and in Corrine's dog sled on the way back.  The couple who have the camp have a really interesting set up.  They have electricity via solar panels.  I asked Erin, but never had a chance to askt hem about how much electricity they are able to generate in the darkest parts of the winter (after all in December the sun never fully).   They also have a satellite dish for television and one for Internet.  They don't have any running water (they use a honey bucket in the bathroom), but they do have drains and stuff in the sink.  It was really quite an interesting set up.  Quite nice too.  During the trip we also so saw so many caribou.  It was awesome.
Another neat thing that has been going on is my middle school students created a video demonstrating a video they designed to be played in space.  It was very challenging figuring out a way to demonstrate, on Earth, a game that is truly designed to be played in space.  One of my students had the fantastic idea to string things up from the ceiling.  Still, it was hilarious watching the students try to pretend they were swimming through space.  The students loved the video so much that they wanted to keep watching and watching it.  The top three games will be played on the International Space Station.  I would be so amazed if we won!  The winning team is supposed to receive a school-wide NASA party.  I don't know what that would entail, but it would be really cool to win.  I do have to wonder though because the rules specifically say that only US-based teams can win the party.  we are, of course, in the US, but we are harder to get to than most countries!  After all it takes two planes just to get to Anchorage!
Right now, as a I write I am sitting in the school "gym" (we don't really have a gym) watching videos from the National Park Service.  We have a really neat opportunity this week, we have three rangers from the National Park Service visiting us.  There is one ranger based out of Kotzebue who regularly travels to the villages in our region doing special guest classes, but we got two more: Another out of Kotzebue and one out of Fairbanks.  My high schoolers started a lesson today on medical plants and will finish tomorrow.  They are making ointments out of local plants (picked back before freeze-up and dried).  Then on Thursday they will do a neat GPS lesson as well.  I have one GPS units for the kids to use, but she was able to bring enough for each of them.  The middle schoolers had a lesson on the gold rush today and are study the auroras tomorrow and caribou on Thursday.  Additionally, they brought some films from the collection that are usually shown in Kotzebue.  The neat thing though is that Darren, who organizes the films brought us 4 films, three of which have not yet been shown in Kotzebue.  The significance of that statement might be missed by many, but you have to remember we don't usually get things first here.
Finally, now that we have past the vernal equinox we now have more daylight than anyone south of us (which of couse is most people). Already the sun doesn't set until nearly 9.  Sunrise today was at 8:23 am and sunset will be at 8:43 pm.  Add to that the fact that we have an extended twilight and we are already quite light.  In April we will gain 3 hours and 45 minutes of daylight and in May over 5 hours!

I leave you with some more pictures from around here.  Enjoy!

Me on a snow go

In the dog sled.  That's actually Rob behind it, but when we left it was Corrine driving.

You can't really see me, but I'm in the sled.

On the way home.

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