• 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

  • News

    Former sex worker, advocate, says bill awaiting Governor’s signature could prevent murders like Goodwin’s

    by Daniella Rivera on Jul 01, 19:43

    As the Anchorage Police Department continues to investigate the murder of an Anchorage woman convicted of prostitution, a former Alaska sex worker and advocate is speaking out. Terra Burns says Senate Bill 91, which is currently on the desk of Gov. Bill Walker’s desk, could help prevent what happened to Jacqueline Goodwin, 30, from happening […]

  • News

    State threatens oil producer with unprecedented demand

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 01, 19:36

    There is even more tension in the fight to build a natural gas pipeline across Alaska. On Thursday, the state sent a letter to BP and threatened to let the oil producer’s operating plan expire in late-fall if it doesn’t explain how they plan to market their natural gas. In the letter from the Alaska […]

  • News

    New trampoline park continues Northway Mall revitalization

    by Heather Hintze on Jul 01, 19:34

    East Anchorage’s Northway Mall will soon be home to a new trampoline park. Shockwave is opening at the end of July. After three solid months of work in the old Office Max building the features are starting to take shape. “This is the quarter pipe trampoline that goes eight feet up the wall,” owner Barry […]

  • News

    Obama administration discloses number of civilian deaths caused by drones

    by CBS News on Jul 01, 18:53

    The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) says that the number of civilian deaths in Pakistan, Yemen and Africa, as a result of U.S. counterterrorism strikes is between 64-116, between Jan. 20, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2015. These numbers do not, however, include Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria, where the government has conducted thousands of air attacks. […]

  • News

    Family sets funeral arrangements for murder victim

    by Daniella Rivera on Jul 01, 18:17

    The family of murder victim Jacqueline Goodwin says there will be a viewing at Legacy Funeral Home on Saturday, July 2, at 9 a.m. They invite her friends to attend and pay their respects. The woman who says she took care of Goodwin, Geraldine Turner, says Goodwin will be laid to rest in Kotzebue, next […]

  • Lifestyle

    The Hungry Chum: Thai food truck brings city flavors to Girdwood

    by The Hungry Chum on Jul 01, 16:32

    It was like a treasure hunt, with hand-drawn signs every few blocks that eventually led us between two buildings, past a rhubarb bush and a large, lazy husky. Then we found it — in a little courtyard sat the small pink and blue trailer. Known as Cheech & Nong’s Aroy-D Thai food truck, or any […]

  • DayBreak

    Mic Check in the Morning: Astronomar

    by Daybreak Staff on Jul 01, 16:28

    He’s a DJ in California, but his roots are right here in Alaska. Juneau native, Marlon Lumba, also known as Astronomar, has worked with many big name artists. This Fourth of July weekend he’ll be opening for Grammy-award winning artist Diplo at the dance music festival Diplaska in Anchorage. Lumba joined Daybreak for a Mic Check […]

  • News

    Is the fast-food industry signaling an economic downturn?

    by CBS News on Jul 01, 15:53

    If you want to get a read on Americans’ view of the economy, look at how they eat. Restaurant visits serve as a barometer for consumer confidence, with people cutting back on dining out when times are tough or they’re worried about the future. And after several years of solid growth in the fast-food industry, […]