During the summer of 2015, Kobuk Valley National Park held its seventh annual Camp Willow summer camp program. The program which is partially funded through the Murie Science and Learning Center’s science education microgrant brings local 10 - 15 year olds from the community of Kotzebue to discover what it is like to be a park ranger.
The camp is a free, two-day, overnight trip that takes campers just outside of Kotzebue to participate in campfire-building, blueberry-picking, and a variety of interactive activities that allows campers to explore the exciting realm of park science. Campers start their adventure by hiking while using GPS to search for hidden prizes strewn across the tundra. They then spend the rest of their trip learning about vole trapping while discussing why everything, even the smallest critters such as voles, play a vital role in the ecosystem.
Led and organized by five devoted Western Arctic National Parklands education staff the camp came off without a hitch, and the staff is looking forward to hosting the camp for an eighth year in 2016.