• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
3m 2s

ANSEP helps Native youth get hands-on experiences

By Heather Hintze 7:22 PM July 29, 2014
KODIAK ISLAND –

It’s not your typical summer job: Trekking into the woods looking for bears.

For 18-year-old Randall Friendly it’s the internship of a lifetime. He’s working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at its Brown Bear Research Camp at Karluk Lake on Kodiak Island.

“No bears, just some sockeye swimming up the creek,” said Friendly as he scanned the area.

Unfortunately, all the bears are likely in the mountains foraging for berries. That means there’s a swarm of spawning sockeye that have taken over the creek.

A couple issues researchers are looking into is the declining bear population around the lake and why bears choose to feed where they do.

“It is surprising just having had past field season to compare it to,” said biologist technician Caroline Cheung. “It seems a little bit quieter, especially when you see these creeks filled with salmon. You think they’d be having a buffet.”

Dead salmon pile up with no bears around to eat them. Friendly wades into the water to kick some of them away from the research equipment.

He’s from Tuntutuliak, a small village of 400 people just outside Bethel. The rotting reds aren’t a sight he’s used to seeing.

“Where I’m from is between fresh water and ocean water, so it’s estuary. So we can fish there where the fish are healthy and silver.”

With no bears in sight, Friendly helps change out the memory cards and batteries in the bear and salmon cameras.

He knows every part of the project is important and he’s thrilled to help in every aspect.

Friendly is one of about 25 interns around the state from the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP).

The goal is to get Alaska Native youth interested in math and science and prepare them for college. Nearly 80 percent of ANSEP students have graduated college or are currently enrolled.

“It accelerates students and motivates them, so they believe they can do it,” Friendly said. “At first I thought it was going to be a hard thing but now I have the confidence to work harder.”

Friendly is the second ANSEP intern to work at the Brown Bear Research Camp, and staff welcome the help.

“It’s great having Randall out here, being able to share these experiences with him,” Cheung said. “It’s not only enriching and rewarding, it’s exciting to see him so happy to be out here and to be eager to learn.”

The search for bears wasn’t a total bust. Friendly spotted a pair along the shore.

“They look like siblings because they’re both big,” he said while looking through his binoculars.

The team wasn’t able to get very close before the bears retreated into the woods.

Luckily, throughout the summer Friendly’s been able to tag along with researchers and get some very up-close encounters, almost too close for comfort.

“The exciting part is when we got to see the bears and when you’re watching them up close,” he smiled.

At Camp Island, he used the cards he collected from the cameras to start counting.

It’s his final week at work at the bear camp and he’s more than grateful for the opportunity.

“It helps you learn how to cooperate with others, work with other students and other people,” he said.

He’ll take those life lessons with him to college in the fall. Right now he plans to study biological sciences at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Editor’s note: KTVA would like to thank ANSEP for providing travel to Kodiak. 

Latest Stories

  • FCC approves measures intended to combat prison cellphones

    by Associated Press on Mar 23, 8:15

    COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Federal officials have taken a step toward increasing safety in prisons by making it easier to find and seize cellphones obtained illegally by inmates. The Federal Communications Commission unanimously voted Thursday to approve rules to streamline the process for using technology to detect and block contraband phones in prisons and jails […]

  • Lifestyle

    Sperm problems? Smartphone device could screen for infertility

    by Shanika Gunaratna / CBS News on Mar 22, 22:35

    What would happen if screening for male infertility was just about as easy as taking a pregnancy test in your home bathroom? That’s the question researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital tried to answer when they went about developing a smartphone-based test that men could use to test their semen in […]

  • Politics

    What your vote means for Proposition 8

    by Daniella Rivera on Mar 22, 22:34

    In an effort to make taxicab service better and faster, the Anchorage Assembly voted in December to make changes to Title XI in municipal code. The changes will put an additional 166 cabs on the streets over the next five years, but the cab industry says it’ll do more harm than good. So they’re asking voters […]

  • News

    North Korea missile launch attempt fails, U.S., South Korea say

    by CBS/AP on Mar 22, 21:18

    North Korea’s latest missile launch ended in failure on Wednesday, the U.S. and South Korean militaries said, three days after the North claimed a major breakthrough in its rocket development program. The reported launch failure comes as the North is angrily reacting to ongoing annual U.S.-South Korean military drills that it views as an invasion […]

  • News

    New languages considered for ASD immersion program as lottery deadline looms

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 22, 21:15

    Parents in the Anchorage School District have shown enough interest in immersion programs that the district is considering adding other languages. “The three languages that continue to come up are Korean, Arabic and French,” explained the program’s director, Brandon Locke. He said one thing working in the district’s favor is the “cost.” “People think this […]

  • News

    Mat-Su Borough Assembly takes 2 parks off trapping ban list

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 22, 20:33

    The Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly voted Tuesday night to change an ordinance on trapping in the borough that was passed recently. The Assembly had approved a measure to ban trapping near school grounds and trails in eight local parks, but Assembly member Randall Kowalke requested a reconsideration of the ordinance less than 24 hours later. He […]

  • News

    Renovations planned for UAS Ketchikan maritime facilities

    by Associated Press on Mar 22, 20:22

    Construction is expected to start later this year on a nearly $6 million overhaul of University of Alaska Southeast Ketchikan’s Regional Maritime and Career Center. The Ketchikan Daily News reports that Wendy Miles Horn, with the university, says the work is needed because the two buildings that make up the facility are inadequate, cramped and […]

  • Politics

    New fiscal plan pays out $1,900 PFD, but faces grim future

    by Liz Raines on Mar 22, 20:20

    There are now more than a handful of proposals in Juneau on how to use the permanent fund to solve the state’s multi-billion dollar budget shortfall. The latest is one unveiled by House Republican minority Wednesday morning, day 65 of the legislative session. House Bill 192 avoids a steep cut to dividends next year by using less […]