Hoonah Youth at Tidelines Institute

Susan Bradford and Kelly St Claire were two outstanding students invited to visit the Tidelines Institute’s campus on Inian Islands. They were asked to share the knowledge they gained this summer through the TRAYLS (Training Rural Alaskan Youth Leaders and Students) program, led by Alaskan Youth Stewards (AYS) and Hoonah Indian Association (HIA). Susan and Kelly introduced water sampling and tree coring to the college level gap year students studying ecology at Tidelines. Susan and Kelly have been collecting data for these two projects for their active TRAYLS season and felt confident in their ability to share these techniques with the students at Tidelines Institute to assist in their journey to educate and excite college aged youth with ecology in the Tongass National Forest.  

Left: Susan Bradford Right: Kelly St. Claire

Water Samples

In addition to teaching the scientific procedure to the gap year students Susan and Kelly noted the importance of collecting water samples in Southeast Alaskan communities. Water sampling is crucial in Southeast Alaska to monitor for Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) that can be a deadly detriment to communities that depend on harvesting bi-values. Cockles, clams, and mussels are commonly harvested and may filter Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) that contain phytoplankton that carry PSP. The Indian General Assistance Program (IGAP) at HIA takes samples and sends them off to SEATOR (Southeast Alaska Tribal Ocean Research) weekly to maintain safe monitoring of Hoonah waters through frequent collection of water and bi-valve samples.

Susan and Kelly teaching the gap year students how to collect water samples. Students asking Susan questions about the types of phytoplankton.

Tree Coring

Coring tree’s is a partnered project with the College of Wooster and their study on climate effects on Southeast trees. Kelly and Susan taught the students how to properly use a borer on our local Hemlocks and Spruce trees. The hands on demonstration was a success as the Hoonah and gap year students collected perfect samples with the trees core, allowing each tree’s age to be calculated.

Hands on learning by taking tree cores and applying new skills!

“I helped teach a class on how to do water samples and tree coring. I had a good time, it was a very broad experience. My favorite part was watching the Alone series will Colter (the Tidelines Caretaker) knowing that he was in it!”

Kelly St. Claire

Oxeye Daisies Removal

During her stay Susan had noticed plotted plants at the community table containing the invasive Oxeye Daisy flower. Visibly upset Susan expressed the dangers of the invasive Oxeye daisy to the group and then was encouraged to lead the ecology class on how to safely remove Oxeye Daisy’s.

Susan teaching gap year students and staff on the dangers of invasive oxeye daisies and how to properly remove them.

It was astonishing for the students and staff to learn about the science taking place in Hoonah and environmental education from Hoonah’s high school youth. Both students showed passion and patience while talking through procedures and encouraging hands on application of the projects. After Susan and Kelly shared their knowledge they were encouraged to partake in the multitude of activities at Tidelines Institute. The students were able to show off their fishing skills while casting for rockfish, participate in homesteading, and explore the field of marine biology with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Alaska Department of Fish and Game (AD&FG) Sea Lion crew staying at the institute.

Kelly taught gap year students how to fillet a fish while Susan assisted with a Harbor Porpoise dissection (AD&FG 18786-05 NMFS Stranding Permit Number) led by Dr. Kate Savage. Kelly and Susan both observed local Sea Lions gathered at a nearby rookery and learned about NOAA and AD&FG’s studies on Alaskan Sea Lions.

Susan noted the marine mammal dissection as one of her favorite experiences.

“It was very smelly and interesting! She [Dr. kate Savage] knew what she was doing and she was excited to teach us”.

Susan Bradford

Thank you Tidelines Institute for inviting our Hoonah youth to your campus. It was amazing to watch them grow within the comfort of the staff and students, while they shared and gained scientific knowledge!

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