HERE’S TO KATHY HOCKER: SCIENTIST, ARTIST, WRITER, TEACHER, MUSICIAN

After asking Kathy Hocker if I could interview her for this blog, I realized that writing about her would be a challenge.  She has so many talents!  How could I do justice to all of them?

Then we did the interview, and I discovered that it would be easy to cover all her talents because she uses them to create the whole of who she is and what she does.

Kathy’s field is science; her college major was forest ecology.  During the interview it became clear that she has her feet firmly planted in the natural world.  Every one of her varied talents — art, writing, editing, teaching — become tools she uses to enhance her commitment to the observation, study, and understanding of the world we live in.  Her singing weaves it all together.

kathy2Kathy Hocker was born in Las Cruces, NM in 1968.  After three years the family moved to Edinburgh, Texas, at the very southern tip.  When Kathy was six, they all moved to Juneau.  Kathy has been in Alaska ever since, except for college and a brief time in California.

She went to Harvard, where she majored in forest ecology.  She was interested in biology, and hoped to find her niche there.  She got a bachelor’s from Harvard (they call it an AB.)  She really wasn’t excited about a master’s in science, but she realized that the path that made her happiest was the one that allowed her to share the beauty and poetry of science.  She explains as follows:

1.  She sees science as a way to understand the world, calling it a natural and elegant function of our psyches.  She says that the  fundamentals of science flow in our consciousness.

2.  It is her belief that science reveals beauty.  She says, “Even during field work, you are in the middle of a wonderful opportunity to notice things of beauty.  Being in a very careful state of observing leaves you open to seeing, hearing, and experiencing the beauty around us.  There is beauty in the fundamental nature of the universe.  You can see lovely symmetry, balance, and interconnections between all things.”

kdrawing1-2In 1992, Kathy went to California, where she taught at an environmental school.  Several counties in the state have outdoor facilities with cabins.  She worked with students who were all from schools in Shasta County.  The program was based in Whiskeytown, California, near Mt. Shasta.  Kathy took these fifth and sixth graders on hikes where she would teach them about natural history.  She worked with each group of students for one week.  There were enough schools in the county to allow her to teach classes for the entire school year.

In the natural history classes, Kathy taught concepts, but, more important, she taught students how to be, out in the natural world:  to look and to listen.  They did hands-on activities.  For example, they would be blindfolded and Continue reading

SMITTEN: A moose-hunting story by Kim Papaw Warren

Back by popular demand, here is guest blogger Kim Papaw Warren, to tell you a new moose-hunting adventure.  Hope this story makes you laugh as hard as it did me!

kimwI  went moose hunting again yesterday afternoon. In my area of Southeast Alaska, our season lasts one month and we are allowed one bull.  So far I had seen five bulls but no shooters.  (To be a legal “shooter,” a bull must have a spike or fork on one side or three brow tines on one side, or there must be a 50-inch spread between the extremes of the antler.)  As I approached the willow-covered muskeg I had chosen to hunt, I saw a cow watching me from about 300 yards away.  She continued to watch with mild curiosity as I settled under a spruce tree, levered a round in my Winchester Model 71 and got ready to start calling.  I sat unmoving for about 15 minutes to let things settle down.  The cow lost interest and moved on, grazing on the willow tips.

I started calling, doing my best to mimic a love-sick cow in season.  After the second series of calls, a bull stepped out of the woods on the other side of the clearing, paddles flashing in the late afternoon sun.  He was looking around, Continue reading

PRESENTING JUDY COOPER, DOG MUSHER AND ARTIST

judy-c-1A woman of many skills, Judy Cooper has lead an interesting and active life.  She was born in 1939 in Cleveland, Ohio, and grew up in Madison, Wisconsin.  When 18 she entered Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and received a B.A. from there, with a major in biology and a minor in art.  The summer she graduated she went to the Michigan State University Biology Station at Gull Lake, where she took biology courses.  She attended the University of Colorado in Boulder for 2 years, where she studied botany, zoology, chemistry, and geology.

In January, 1964, she took Peace Corps training and went to Bolivia for 2 years, where she worked with the Aymara Indians at 12,000 feet above sea level on the Altiplano.  Most of the indigenous people of the Andes were conquered by the Incas.  The Aymaras, however, joined the Incas, thereby retaining their own language and culture.  Judy was involved with a community development and preventative public health program, dealing with such diseases as tuberculosis.

After her return from Bolivia, she took a job for 2 years in North Carolina with a War on Poverty Community Action program.  While she lived there she had a brain hemorrhage and was taken by ambulance to Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  She was fortunate to have one of the best neurosurgeons in the country as her doctor.  When she recovered, she returned to her job and stayed until funding was cut.  Then she returned to Wisconsin and worked in a store until she had enough money to go to Alaska.

In 1968, Judy got her first Alaskan job in Hoonah, where she directed the Continue reading

TLINGIT TRIBAL HOUSE DEDICATION AT BARTLETT COVE

stephanieThis story comes from guest blogger, Stephanie Shor. It is a report on the dedication ceremony of the new Tlingit tribal house in Bartlett Cove, Glacier Bay National Park.  Stephanie is the editor of our sweet local paper, “Strawberry Point Pioneer.”  Thanks, Stephanie, for sharing the story of this historical event with us!

“We heard our ancestors singing as we came into the bay.  They’ve waited a long time for us.  It’s hard to hold back the tears of joy.”

The shores of Glacier Bay were humming with people, young and old, native and non-native, as three traditionalcanoes2 Tlingit canoes slowly emerged through the morning mist of Bartlett Cove. Hoonah Tlingit children, grandchildren of the tribe in their ancestors’ regalia, waited with wide eyes to receive them in a long-awaited return to their homeland.

The first day of the week-long tribal house dedication event included a color guard for Hoonah veterans, a naming ceremony for the tribal house, a spirit song and a collective breath of life into the structure.

As the canoes, carved over long months from 400-year-old trees, drew closer to the sight of the new tribal house standing on ancient Tlingit land, elders and their grandchildren began to sing.  Hoonah’s youth met the
tribded2rowers and were handed the individually carved oars of their elders as the crowd lifted the canoes to carry as a whole onto land.

Huna Tlingit history began in this land of lower Glacier Bay, where there were at least 3 ancient tribal houses, like the modern-day version now in Bartlett Cove. About 300 years ago, they were forced to flee their homeland as glaciers advanced and overran their settlements, Continue reading

RAVEN STEALS THE SUN

Raven walked along the sandy beach, alone.  He wanted someone to talk to.  You see, in those days, animals and people understood each others’ languages.  So, when Raven heard voices crying, “Let us out!  Let us out!” he knew the voices of people and he searched for the source of the sound.

He came upon a giant clam shell, and from inside came the voices.  Raven pried the clam shell open with his strong beak and let the people out.  Now he would have someone to talk to!

“Thank you, Raven,” said a small spokesperson.  “But how shall we survive?  We are very cold.”

I will bring you a sun,” said Raven.  “He will warm you.”

Raven flew to the part of the sky where the suns lived.  While they slept, he grabbed a small sun in his beak and flew away.  But the Continue reading