Environmental Education in Chenega Bay, Alaska

This document is a sample of curriculum produced for Chenega Bay Environmental Program 2006


Environmental Education
Chenega Bay, Alaska

Chenega Bay Environmental Program
The Native Village of Chenega

Goals for Successful

Information is Factual
   and without Bias
● Culturally Appropriate
● Target State and Regional
   School Standards
● Use Traditional
   Ecological Knowledge
● Utilize Local Expertise
● Instill Awareness of the
   Natural World
● Instill a Sense of




Chenega IRA Council
PO Box 8079
Chenega Bay, Alaska 99574


Chenega Bay Environmental Program - 2006






Credits :

This publication was made possible by a grant from the U.S. EPA’s Indian General
Assistance Program 2006.
Text, class exercise modifications and developments were produced by Katherine McLaughlin,
Chenega Bay Environmental Program. Sandy Angaiak of the Chenega Bay Language
Program provided the Alutiiq words used in Environmental Education classes and in the
Explorer’s Journal.
The Chenega Bay Environmental Program is administered through the Chenega IRA
Council, the governing body for the Native Village of Chenega.
See page 33 for references to developed curriculums.
Photo credits:
Front cover: Top photo: Kate McLaughlin, Bottom photo: Dan Bogan
Page 4: Tim Karlovich
Page 12: Kate McLaughlin


Environmental Education in Chenega Bay, Alaska

Table of Contents

Credits 2

Introduction 4

Navigating in the Dark 5

Spring Garden Class 7

What Do Plants Need? 8

Moon and Tides 10

Beautiful Blueberries 15

Bugs & Dirty Water 18

Bugs = Beans 20

What is Waste 22

Interview with an Elder 23

Natural Resources 24

How Long Does it Last? - Chart 25

Explorer’s Journal 26

Environmental Education Curricula 27

Environmental Education Evaluation 29

Tidal Graph 31

Scientific Procedure Sheet 32

References 33








Class content:

The Native Village of Chenega
Evans Island, Prince William Sound, Alaska

The classes presented in this booklet are based on existing
curriculums or classes. The exercises were modified to fit
the individual needs of the students and community of
Chenega Bay. See ist of references on page 32 for resources
used in developing the class presentations.
A Scientific Procedure sheet is included on page 32 and is
intended to be used with classes that offer an experiment.
State of Alaska and Chugach regional school district standards
are applied when developing each class. General
standard topics are listed at the beginning of each class.
Current themes the school is presenting as part of their
unified teaching methods are taken into consideration and
incorporated into presentations.
Traditional ecological knowledge and local expertise is
used whenever possible in class presentations.
The appropriateness and relevance of the material to what
the students of Chenega Bay experience in their daily lives
is also considered and the material is shaped, as needed,
to reflect that. For example, a particular exercise on combustion
engines and air quality may utilize a picture of
children riding to school on a school bus, which is something
most children in the villages do not experience. Instead,
a picture of kids walking, riding on a boat or an
ATV to school is used in juxtaposition to the school bus
picture and the differences are discussed.
Natural events, traditional subsistence activities, story
telling, art and music are just some of the tools used to
capture the students imagination and to instill a sense of
connectivity and ownership of the local environment.


Beautiful Blueberries

State Standards:
Art, Culture, Reading, Writing, Geography, and Science

For the Little Ones:
Tools needed:

Construction/drawing paper
Crayons, non-toxic pens or paint

1. Alutiiq word for berries is atsuq.
Russian word for berries is chernika.

2. Who eats berries? (Bugs, birds, bears, fish, people.)

3. What different things can you do with berries?

4. Draw a picture of your favorite thing about blueberries. Use the paints, pens, crayons or the
blueberries themselves to color with.

5. Write a sentence describing your picture.

6. Sort berries into different kinds, sizes, colors, shapes.

For the Older Ones Tools Needed:
Magnifying glass
Blueberry specimens
Blueberry identification pages

1. Review and discuss above information (1-6)
   a) Why are berries sweet? Sugars, to attract eaters, so seeds
       will be scattered.

   b) Competition for resources. What happens if there are not
       enough berries for everyone?
2. How are blueberries used (besides for food)?
    a) dyes - Alutiq tradition of dyes made with blueberries for
        painting visors, masks and clothing.
    b) Fish bait
    c) Medicinal properties. Teas are made with leaves. Berries contain important antioxidants
3. Introduce the 4 local species of blueberry.
    a) Alaskan blueberry (Vaccinium alaskaense)
    b) Oval-leafed blueberry (V. ovalifolium)
    c) Dwarf blueberry (V. caespitosum)
    d) Bog blueberry (V. uliginosum)
(Note: Substitute species used here with local varieties.)

4. Exercise
: Each student is given 4 unidentified berry bush samples in separate zip lock bags, one from each species of plant. Samples should include twigs, leaves and berries from each specimen plant. Bags may contain labels with additional habitat or descriptive information on them. Using a handout of printed descriptions, or a plant identification book, students must identify and label each specimen.

5. Discussion
    a) Which species might be “better”? Why?
    b) Seasonal availability and habitat zones.
        1. Alpine
        2. Sub-alpine
        3. Muskeg/bog meadows
        4. Climax spruce / hemlock forests
        5. “Edge” species.

Plant Vocabulary

Oval - a slightly flattened circle

Lance - broader towards one end, tapering towards the other

Oblong - longer than broad with parallel sides

Elliptical - broadest in the middle and tapering equally toward both ends

Toothed - having several to many small indentions along the margin

Serrated - similar to toothed, but with continuous teeth

Alternate - leaves born singly along a stem

Deciduous - leafed trees, will loose their leaves once a year

Coniferous - evergreen trees, will hold their leaves throughout the year

Lobes - rounded segments

Hybrid - a mixture of separate species

Species - a population of like things that only reproduce with each other

Axils - upper angle formed between leaf and stem

Understory - the plants that make up the lower levels of a forest

Vein - network of tiny channels in a leaf through which fluid flows

Alpine - elevated slopes just above the tree line

Muskeg - a wet meadow made up of lichens, moss and wetland plants.

Climax forest - a stable stage of plant species


Blueberry Specimen Identification Worksheet
(reproduce this page as needed)

Specimen #

Bush shape: Is it a large, tall bush or a low growing, short bush?

Twig color and shape?

Leaf color and shape?

Fruit color, size? Are the fruits glossy or not?

What type of habitat was it growing in?

Specimen identified as:

Specimen #

Bush shape: Is it a large, tall bush or a low growing, short bush?

Twig color and shape?

Leaf color and shape?

Fruit color, size? Are the fruits glossy or not?

What type of habitat was it growing in?

Specimen identified as: