Reports from the Field: Friends Volunteers in Action

by Poppy Benson, Friends Board Vice President

We have over 20 volunteers out this summer and fall and here are the early reports.

Galbraith Lake Bunkhouse – The area “is to die for”, said Friends volunteer Bev Cronen about her work site at Galbraith Lake in the Arctic Refuge. “There aren’t very many places you can look in every direction and see wilderness and beauty.”  Bev and her husband Louis Dupree of Homer drove their camper up the Dalton Highway to help the refuge assemble the insides of a new bunkhouse.  Bev went on to say that they really enjoyed the refuge people and volunteers they worked with and were glad to be a part of this.  She praised their supervisor Paul Banyas for his flexibility and adaptability as they had several surprises when they arrived at Galbraith Lake after a long day of packing the trailer with furniture parts, tools, and supplies and pulling it up the Haul Road.  They arrived at 11 pm, only to find that the bunkhouse still had carpenters working in it and the old bunkhouse was full of archeologists.  Thank goodness Louis and Bev had their camper but Paul made it all work. 

First meal on the newly assembled table in the new Galbraith Lake bunkhouse. From L to R – Refuge Intern Clay, hired carpenters Zack and; Nathan, Refuge maintenance worker Paul Banyas, Friend Louie Dupree, and refuge volunteer Ken. It was an amiable group that finished the work in time  to go hiking. pc:: Bev Cronen.

Kenai River Festival, Soldotna. Every year we help the Kenai Refuge at their booth and do outreach of our own at the Kenai River Festival in early June.  Volunteer participation was great this year under Marie McConnell’s leadership. Seven friends volunteered: Marie, Lynne Schmidt, Dan Musgrove, Becky Hutchinson, Anna Haylock, Carolyn Weathers who helped with the refuge activities and Michelle Semerad who came from Anchorage to help.  Marie reported attendance at the festival seemed to be down and more of a tourist audience than in prior years.   

Marie McConnell and Lynne Schmidt of Soldotna at the Friends outreach table at the Kenai River Festival in June. pc: USFWS