Research at the Refuge

By Michael Guttery and Tasha DiMarzio, Alaska Department of Fish and Game Waterfowl Program Over the last few months, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) Statewide Waterfowl Program staff have been developing a research project focusing on white-cheeked geese. According to the National Audubon Society, the white-cheeked geese of North America were long considered a variable species of Canada Geese. It was not until 2004 that four of the smallest forms (Richardson’s, Aleutian, Taverner’s, and Minima) were recognized as their own distinct species known as Cackling Geese. The seven species of Canada Geese are the Atlantic, Interior, Giant, Moffitt’s, Dusky, Vancouver, and Lesser. In this research project, ADF&G is focusing on Lesser Canada Geese (Branta canadensis parvipes) and Taverner’s Cackling Geese (B. hutchinsii taverneri). These two species of geese are common in Alaska, though relatively little is known about them. In the late 1990’s, a University of Alaska Fairbanks graduate student, Dr. Michael Eichholz, conducted research aimed at mapping …

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 …

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 …