Paddling Around Glacier Bay, Alaska


Kindergartners at Chestnut Street earned their deputy park ranger badges with the help of the National Park Service on Jan. 18 and 19.

Organized by STELLAR teachers Dara Perlow and Stacey Weinberg, the young students participated in a videoconference with Park Ranger Steve Schaller, who discussed the history, environment, climate and wildlife of Glacier Bay, Alaska. Students learned that the native people of Glacier Bay, the Tlingits, consume fruits such as blueberries and strawberries as well as fish like salmon and halibut. They also learned that Tlingits travel by kayak because they live on an island surrounded by glaciers and icebergs.

Rowing in virtual kayaks, the kindergartners observed a variety of wildlife, including humpback whales, orcas, sea lions, sea otters, birds, bears and wolves. Prior to the lesson, Schaller mailed the class an orca tooth, which the students could touch and examine in person during the videoconference.

Concluding the presentation, Schaller explained the mission of the NPS and the symbolism of the badge, and swore in the kindergartners as the newest junior park rangers. The class pledged to preserve and protect all the plants and animals of Glacier Bay and teach their friends and family the valuable lessons they had learned as junior park rangers.