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Aqua Kids is an educational show for kids and teens which focuses on natural resources and conservation. Their mission is to bring nature and wildlife into our homes--inspiring us to get involved and advocate for species and habitats in need! To see their list of achievements (including winning two Emmy Awards!) and view clips of the Aqua Kids show visit their websitehere.
So what are the Aqua Kids doing in Alaska and how in the heck did I get to be traveling with them for the week??
Well, to answer the first part of that question, the Fisheries Outreach Coordinator at the Fish and Wildlife Regional Office, Katrina, sent them the invitation! Katrina found out about Aqua Kids and noticed that although they have traveled all over the country to film episodes, they had not been to visit Alaska. So she reached out to their production company, explaining the many different conservation efforts in Alaska which would fit perfectly into the show's repertoire. They were excited to make the trip happen and Katrina spent the better part of a year making sure that the Aqua Kids could see as much of Alaska and as many Conservation-related projects as possible during their two-week stay.
Second half of the question: I totally lucked out and since I work as an outreach intern only a few miles from the regional office where Katrina works, I got invited along for the ride!
The week with Aqua Kids started on Monday (well, duh) when I met the cast and crew at lunch. There were 4 crew members and 4 Aqua Kids cast members-- all of whom were extremelly nice and fun, so I knew this was going to be a great week. We went from lunch to a local pool where the team shot some clips of a cold water safety course (photo above). It was exciting to be around a camera crew and definitely a unique experience as compared to what I normally do during the work day!
Another part of the experience...camping all week! Some of the cast had never been camping before and it was fun/funny to help them learn the ways of the outdoors. You know, cooking on a camp stove, setting up a tent, peeing in the woods, all things which seem like second nature for this Colorado native were verrrry new for the Aqua Kids. Not to mention that they had to worry about looking camera-ready every day after a night of sleeping on the ground and waking up at 6 AM!
Aside from the logistics of the trip, the team got a lot of great footage over the course of the week. Each day focused on a different topic ranging from fish passage and culverts, to stream bank restoration and rain gardens. The photo at top right is Aqua Kids filming in a stream which had been restored by a local middle school! The photo directly below it is of the group photographer (pictures of people takin' pictures of people...Jack Johnson anyone?"), the Aqua Kids, and a group of local campers who planted a small rain garden which will filter storm water runoff from the house behind it.
I am back in the office today to play a little catch up, but on Sunday I will be meeting up with the Aqua Kids again for a day of salmon fishing on the Russian River! Check back next week for updates on Aqua Kids week two...I'm sure there will be many more stories to tell be then!
Wishing another happy Friday and weekend to you all,
P.S. enjoy this picture I took at an overlook off of the Glenn Highway in Palmer, Alaska. Sheesh this place keeps amazing me!!