Wainwright Students and Seals

The overall purpose of this program is to provide an educational opportunity for the young people of Wainwright with the intent of inspiring students to go on to college and to study the biology of marine animals and veterinary medicine. Success would include a North Slope student becoming a biologist or veterinarian for their community and surrounding communities on the North Slope of Alaska.

The program began with a visit to Wainwright in January 2012. Greta Krafsur, veterinary student at Colorado State, and Billy Adams and Leslie Pierce of the NSB-DWM gave presentations to the community and the Alak School about seals, biology of seals and other local marine mammals. Seals were provided by hunters for dissections in the classrooms.

In the summer, students applied for the opportunity to travel to Fort Collins, Colorado, to visit Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine (CSU-CVM) to see what Greta does with the samples she and Billy collected from harvested seals and walrus for health assessment. The trip to Colorado included many other sites as well, including a cattle feedlot, sheep feedlot, dairy farm, raptor center, horseback riding and Rocky Mountain National Park. Thanks to Pearl and John Hopson for chaperoning and to Greta for providing all of the tours!

Billy and Greta with Edna Ahmaogak’s class at Alak School

Billy starting dissection of ringed seal with Alak School secondary students

Alak School student cutting through sternum of ringed seal

Students and chaperones at CSU-CVM looking at slides made from tissues collected from walrus hunted by John Hopson, Jr. Slides are used for health assessment studies

Frances looking at walrus slides

Wainwright students and chaperones at CSU-CVM in July 2012: Leslie Pierce, Lavisa Ahvakana, Frances Nashookpuk, Brenton Nayakik, Olemaun Hopson, Jay Jay Aguvluk, Pearl Hopson, John Hopson, Jr., and (kneeling) Greta Krafsur


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