The Student Conservation Association's Online Community
It is solstice day in the land of the midnight sun. With over 21 hours of daylight, the summer sun truly does eternally shine on this prehistoric land. And so it is that, even though I grew up in the 'last frontier', I still find it difficult to find sleep with the sun blazing through the bedroom window at 10pm.
But there are perks to this midnight madness. Alaska is a beautiful gem and I couldn't be more happy being here, right now, inspiring awareness of the prehistoric region which was once known as 'Beringia'.
I've been working as an SCA Multimedia Development Intern in Bering Land Bridge National Preserve for over a month now, and so far it's been a great experience. I have had the opportunity to venture into the Seward Peninsula to gather footage of the migratory birds of Beringia and I am currently learning valuable video and timelapse skills for an upcoming trip to Serpentine Hot Springs.
Everywhere I go, I see breathtaking vistas of rolling tundra, craggy peaks, and volcanic formations such as pingos (hills formed from ice expanding upwards under dry lakebeds). A common misconception of tundra is that it is a flat desolate land devoid of life, however it is actually one of the most vibrant living landscapes in the world. With the coming of summer, wildflowers are slowly weaving a blanket of bright oranges, blues, and violets over the mossy tundra floor. Many of these flowers are under 6" tall.
One of the most interesting is the Arctic Willow. You would think of willow as a shrub, but the dwarf variety grows to a grand height of 3-25cm! The willow (and it's normal-sized cousin) is a favorite of muskox and caribou. Oh - did I mention that these two animals are Ice Age survivors? Yup, they've been here since the last Ice Age! (except for a hundred-year period when muskox were extinct - the variety here now were imported from Greenland in the early 1900s)
In this first month I've realized, more than anything, that I have so much to learn in these coming weeks. And on this solstice, I feel grateful that I have this opportunity to do what I love and hopefully inspire others to care more about our beautiful planet. Thank you, SCA.