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February 16, 2004

UCSC cosponsors lecture series on Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

By Jennifer McNulty

Home to polar bears, caribou, and red fox, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a 19-million-acre treasure that is often called the “crown jewel” in the U.S. refuge system.

Every year, polar bears come to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to den and give birth. The refuge's wildlife includes 36 fish species, 36 land mammals, nine marine mammals, and more than 160 migratory and resident bird species. Photo: Kennan Ward/grizzlyden.com

In collaboration with the Santa Cruz City Museum of Natural History, the UCSC Environmental Studies Department is bringing four experts on the refuge to Santa Cruz to participate in a series of public lectures and events entitled, “Endangered Treasure: Our Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.”

The museum is also sponsoring an exhibit on alternative energy called, “What’s the Alternative? Sustainable Energy Solutions.”

Dennis Takahashi Kelso, assistant professor of environmental studies and coholder of the Pepper-Giberson Chair in Environmental Studies, is a former commissioner of environmental conservation in Alaska and instructor of the UCSC Alaska field course.

He invited four Alaskans to participate in the lecture series, which begins February 25 with a talk by Stanley Senner, executive director of Audubon Alaska. Senner’s talk, “Energy and Environment in America’s Arctic,” will take place in the Louden Nelson Community Center Auditorium at 7 p.m. Admission is $7 for museum members/$10 for nonmembers.

“As the Bush administration revives efforts to open the refuge to oil exploration, the museum’s timing for this exhibit couldn’t be better,” said Kelso. “The Environmental Studies Department is pleased to collaborate with the museum to bring this important information to the public.” The exhibit is part of the Smithsonian Museum’s traveling exhibit.

In addition to the lectures, wildlife photographer Kennan Ward (UCSC ’80) will host a slide show of his work in Alaska on March 6 at 7 p.m. at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz. Admission is $12-18. Tickets for all events are available at the Santa Cruz City Museum of Natural History, 1305 East Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz. For more information, visit the museum web site or call (831) 420-6115.

UCSC is sponsoring the participation of Peter Van Tuyn, former litigation director with Trustees for Alaska, who will discuss “Drill and Fill… or … Wild for Your Child: The Fate of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,” on April 12 at 7 p.m. in the Louden Nelson Community Center Auditorium; admission is $7 for museum members/$10 for nonmembers.

The campus is also sponsoring a talk on April 21 by Bob Childers (UCSC ’72), a longtime advocate of subsistence rights for native Alaskans, and Trimble Gilbert, a resident and former chief of Arctic Village on the border of the refuge. They will discuss “Arctic Environment and Native Issues: A Conversation,” at 7 p.m. in the Harvey West Clubhouse; admission is $7 for museum members/$10 for nonmembers. All four Alaskan visitors will also deliver guest lectures in environmental studies classes on campus.

In addition, other events include:

• A free community forum on “Sustainable Energy Incentives & Barriers: Why Aren’t We There Yet?” will be held March 17 at the Harvey West Clubhouse at 7 p.m. Speakers include Thomas Wittman, operations assistant at the UCSC Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems.

• Joe Jordan of the NASA Ames Research Center will discuss “Saving the World with Sky Power” on April 1 at the Santa Cruz City Museum of Natural History at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $7 for museum members/$10 nonmembers.

• April 10 will feature a “Solar Demo Day for Families” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the museum.

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