Thursday, July 22, 2010

Salmon, Science & Water, Alaska by Mac Parsons

July 9, 2010
Seward, AK

I was born and raised in Florida and moved to Wisconsin at the age of fourteen. This coming year I will be a junior at the Hudson High School. I really wanted to come to Alaska because I wanted to experience the outdoors and explore the mountains. The one thing I enjoyed the most was the hiking of Mount Marathon and learning about the natives in the Kenai Peninsula (photo: Mac at Exit Glacier).

Today has been fun. We learned about salmon, scientists, and water. At the end of the day we got out on the side of the road to pick weeds. Yeah, yeah, I know what you are thinking. Not one of the most fun days, right? Actually, it was really cool and interesting.

We went to a river to look at salmon and then we ran into an Alaskan mountain man/scientist (concerning salmon). He was a gruff dude but knew a lot about his “children.” His job is to net the salmon and then take them out of a holding area and check that they are healthy for spawning. He takes care of them like he was a father figure. He called them his kids and talked like he loved them very much. He was passionate about his career. It was so cool to see a hardworking Alaskan taking care of one of their most famous resources. In Alaska salmon are treated like gold-it’s Alaska’s most precious resource (below: Mac moving salmon to a holding tank at the hatchery).

Which leads me to our next activity… water testing! Boring, right? WRONG. It was so much fun to see how well Alaska takes care of its water sources which in turn takes care of the salmon. The main part of the water testing is to make sure that the water is healthy enough for the salmon to thrive. They test the pH, temperature, and other scientific stuff and we got to be the scientists and go behind the scenes and test the water! (below: water testing)

After that we had a little break then it was off to pick evasive weeds to help protect Alaska from harmful plants. We got the privilege of helping make Alaska a better place. We picked weeds that focused on the ox-eyed daisies. It might not sound fun, but think of it this way- you’re leaving your mark in Alaska by helping out  (photo: below group with many bags of Ox-eyed Daisies).

You might not be a part of Alaska, but Alaska will always be a part of you. No matter how small, you helped make Alaska a little better. Today was a good day, and it really helps to have a good group to make the experience a little richer.

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