Junior Rangers at Elim

August 15, 2013 Posted by: Dev Dharm Khalsa
Today we are off to the village of Elim to hold a Junior Ranger program for school-age children, or at least that’s the plan. Elim is a village of 350 at the base of the Seward Peninsula. Unlike Nome, Elim has trees and nice sunny weather.

Nome is foggy as usual, but after an hour-long weather delay we’re off. Our small Cessna Caravan II skims through the low fog barrier and soon we are soaring above a blanket of cottony clouds.

Then the clouds part to reveal a vast expanse of boreal forest overlooking deep blue ocean. Waves crash against tall granite cliffs, sparkling as if covered with diamonds. Ahead we catch our first glimpse of Elim, nestled above the rocky coast. We loop around and descend onto a graded dirt runway, screeching to a halt in front of a light blue warehouse. A handwritten sign on the front of the warehouse says ‘Welcome to Elim’.

Approaching Elim 

The Village of Elim is set at the Northern Reaches of the Boreal Forest

We unload our bags and catch a ride to town soon after landing. After unpacking our activity box at the community center, the fun begins. The eerie silence of the community building’s basement is broken by what sounds like a herd of elephants - the kids have arrived. After the ruckus settles down, Ranger Jenn gives an introduction to the Park Service and we’re off to the basketball court to play some games.
Ranger Jenn Introduces the National Park Service by an Arrowhead Match-up Activity
Ranger Jenn Introduces the National Park Service by an Arrowhead Match-up Activity

Ranger Katie leads ‘Ice Age Mammal Twister’ followed by ‘The Ranger Game’, then it’s snack time! Cara leads the ‘Move It’ chant, a song about Wooly Mammoths, Saber-toothed Cats, and all sorts of different Ice Age Mammals and their ‘enormous appetites’. Time speeds past like sand running through an hourglass, and soon enough our time is up. The day finishes with a fossil-making activity and the Junior Ranger induction ceremony.
A Junior Ranger Learns About and Creates Her Own Fossil
A Junior Ranger Makes Her Own Fossil After Learning About How They Relate to the Ice Age

The stampede starts again, and by the time my ears are adjusted it is silent. As we wait for our plane to arrive, we take a walk down to the beach. The lull of the waves and the nice warm weather give the place a tranquil feel. I don’t want to leave, but soon enough the drone of a Cessna breaks the silence. The ground whizzes past and soon Elim is but a dream of sunny weather.


Bio: My name is Dev Dharm Khalsa and I am an SCA Multimedia Development Intern with Bering Land Bridge National Preserve. This summer I will be creating photo and video projects highlighting the wildlife of Bering Land Bridge NP and the surrounding area. Originally from Wasilla, Alaska, I am a rising senior at the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, where I study Philosophy and Studio Art. I am very grateful for this amazing opportunity to travel the Seward Peninsula and translate its natural beauty for others to enjoy.

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Last updated: April 14, 2015

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