DIY Creamer’s Field Ornament Crafts for the Holidays!

In this season of gratitude, we thank you all for supporting us through this interesting year! While we are unable to gather in person for ornament crafting with our amazing volunteers, we wanted to share some awesome ornament crafts inspired by the art and wildlife at Creamer’s Field. We have compiled three easy ornament crafts that the whole family can create together with the right materials, supervision, and creativity! The first craft is the Cork Moose Ornament! While walking along one of the nature trails, visitors may spot moose meandering through the boreal forest on the refuge. Known as moose across North America, Alces alces is the largest member of the deer family. Adult moose can range in size from 800 pounds (small adult female) to1,600 pounds (large adult male), and they can be up to almost 6 feet tall. Moose can range in color from golden brown to almost black, depending on the season and the age of the …

Meet the Programs & Events Coordinator: Melanie Graeff

Melanie joined the Friends of Creamer’s Field family back in March 2020. She has since been involved in creating outreach content for in-person and virtual programs, along with content for our website and social media accounts. Melanie was raised near Dayton, OH. She grew up playing soccer and spending time outside. She was recruited to play at the collegiate level at Capital University in Columbus. During her studies, she expanded her interests to include environmental science. After marrying husband Nate, she moved west to Olympia, WA to pursue a graduate degree. Her studies encompassed utilizing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology for mapping the Earth, science education, program outreach, climate science, and natural resources management. Her favorite outdoor passions include kayaking, hiking, birding, trail running, fishing, and wildlife photography. After earning her Master’s, she had an opportunity to work as an AmeriCorps member alongside the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to facilitate shorebird education and outreach at several wildlife refuges in …

Meet the Executive Director: Grace Nelson

Grace Nelson has joined the Friends of Creamer’s Field family as the executive director, effective September 1, 2021. Grace hails from Lancaster, PA, but now calls Fairbanks home.  Her love of nature and keen interest in environmental stewardship and conservation inspired her to earn a Bachelor of Science at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in Natural Resource Management with a focus on agriculture and education.   While at UAF Grace formed a strong connection with and a deep love for the Fairbanks community.  After graduation, she worked as a Fish & Wildlife Technician for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, division of wildlife conservation. Most recently, she worked with the Salcha-Delta Soil and Water Conservation District as an agriculture technician, managing a cover crop variety trial.   In her free time, Grace enjoys exploring Alaska, hiking, fishing, and photography.  She is also the volunteer director of the Alaska Youth Hunter Education Challenge, a youth event promoting safe and ethical hunting. …

Refuge Hosts at Creamer’s Field

Throughout the year, Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge hosts many resident and migratory birds, mammals, insects, students, scientists, and visitors. On a visit to the refuge, you might have passed the “Refuge Host” sign by the large dairy barn and probably asked: why would this refuge need a host? The farmhouse was renovated in the 1990s to serve as a visitor’s center for the refuge. To ensure that the Farmhouse Visitor’s Center was fully staffed to accommodate visitors, the Refuge Hosting program was set up in 1998. Refuge Hosts serve as volunteers for the Division of Wildlife Conservation of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The summer season lasts from May 15 – September 15 and that period is split into three duty periods. Throughout their duty period, volunteering Refuge Hosts stay on site at the RV hook-up area. They provide essential services at and around the 12-acre historic buildings area. Refuge hosts staff the visitor’s center on the …

European Bird Cherry (Prunus padus) and Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) tree distribution and abundance at Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge

By Hazel K. Berrios, Natural Resource Technician, and Limor Dubrovsky, Natural Resource Intern, Fairbanks Soil & Water Conservation District Prunus padus and Prunus virginiana (hereafter referred to as Prunus spp.), commonly known as European Bird Cherry and Chokecherry, are native to Northern Europe and across Asia; so how did they get all the way over to Alaska? Both Prunus spp were introduced around 1959 in Alaska by the Alaska agricultural experiment station in Palmer, as an effort to increase tree fruit culture in Alaska. Since then, both Prunus spp. have become common ornamental trees that are planted in residential areas and in public parks. The first collection and record of chokecherry spreading into natural areas was documented by Welsh in 1968 in Palmer. A year later it was documented in the surroundings areas of UAF. Since escaping cultivation, it has spread into native riparian habitats as well as intact forests in the Anchorage, Mat-Su, Kenai, Southeast and Fairbanks areas. Currently, …

DIY Bird Ornament Crafts for the Holidays!

2020 has been a whirlwind to say the least! Unfortunately, we all were unable to gather together this time of year for ornament crafting with our amazing volunteers in the Farmhouse Visitors Center. But that doesn’t mean that our creativity must be stifled when it comes to decorating for the holidays! I have compiled three easy bird ornament crafts that the whole family can create together with the right materials, supervision, and creative inspiration! The first craft is the Origami Sandhill Crane Ornament! Sandhill Cranes are a standout migrating bird that pass through Creamer’s Field during the warmer months. This ornament is sure to be a standout on your tree!  Please follow this video tutorial on how to properly fold the paper to create the origami crane! After your paper crane is folded, add physical features so people know it’s a Sandhill Crane! Add the red crown, the yellow eyes, and you can even color orange for the iron rich …

Falconry: A Living Human Heritage found at Creamer’s Field

Nobody can truly say when the first ‘falconer’ came to be; developing the idea of harnessing a bird of prey’s natural beauty and power for their own purpose.  From what history has unfolded, falconry may have manifested itself sometime during 1300 BC in the plains of Central Asia. For much of human history, this ‘sport of kings’ was a symbol and key emblem of social standing, wealth, and power. Although, falconry is practiced on a much smaller scale today, it still holds reverence to some of its major premises – the training a birds of prey to hunt for quarry within their natural habitat.  A major component of falconry is its involvement with wildlife and environmental conservation.  One great story involves our beloved, Peregrine Falcons.  The Peregrine crisis began in the 1940s, when DDT, a modern synthetic insecticide was used liberally to combat malaria, typhus, and other insect-borne diseases.  Almost 10 years later the population of Peregrines started to decline …

Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge: A Wonderful Place to Enjoy the Outdoors and Become One with Nature

Each spring, thousands of migrating waterfowl stop in Fairbanks on their way to their northern breeding grounds.  These birds have flown many miles from their southern wintering grounds, often arriving in the Golden Heart City before the snow melts, usually in early April.  Numerous species arrive every year, including swans, ducks, geese, and sandhill cranes.  The Refuge also provides the jumping off point for birds after the breeding season, and before they once again take to the air for the southern wintering grounds.      The Refuge is owned by the State of Alaska, and managed by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADFG), which covers over 2,000 acres of forest, wetlands and fields, and is home to resident birds including raptors, ravens, grouse, chickadees and redpolls, plus numerous mammals, both small and large.  Wood frogs can also be found, an amphibian that can survive the brutally cold winters thanks to an internal “glycol system” that allows their bodies to freeze solid and return to …

Volunteers from the Fairbanks Garden Club breathe new life into Anna Creamer’s Historical Garden

The Fairbanks Garden Club has been working on gardening projects in Fairbanks since 1953.  Last year Friends of Creamer’s Field approached the garden club for some help in restoring and maintaing Anna Creamer’s historic vegetable garden, located  in front of the Farmhouse Visitor Center.    Susie Crevensten and Liz Masi took on the challenge of restoring and planting the garden in 2019.   At the end of the Garden season of 2019, a “Plant America” grant from the National Garden Club came to our attention and Doug and Susie Crevensten applied for it.  The “Plant America” grant was focused on improving gardens in the community and the Anna Creamer’s Historic Garden certainly fit that description. The grant also supplied a composter which will always be available for soil enrichment. In 2020, gardeners from the Fairbanks Garden Club became interested in making the Historical Garden a real success.  Liz Masi, Carol Slator, Althea St. Martin, Beverly Wright, Marlene Wright, Janet Brower, Susie and Doug Crevensten, Lucy Smyth and …

The Far North Quilt Trail to start at Creamer’s Field

The first time I was saw a barn quilt was several years ago at  “Grandma’s Garage Sale” deep in the peat bogs of the Goldstream Valley. I didn’t know what barn quilts were then, but was intrigued by a small painted quilt block of a simple red and white Ohio Star design, and I purchased the piece for 25 cents and brought it home. I didn’t know then that this bold geometric painting would alter the course of my professional painting practice and lead me on the endeavor of initiating Alaska’s first barn quilt trail: the Far North Quilt Trail Project (FNQTP).  A brief explanation of this relatively new folk art movement: barn quilts originated in Ohio in 2001, and have grown exponentially in popularity. These large, bold, geometric paintings placed on the sides of barns, businesses and other buildings are now found nationwide. Many barn quilts linked together in one area is known as a quilt trail. These self-guided touring …