Tuesday, February 17, 2009

You can't control the weather

Today marks another day of school being called off. We last had students on the 10th. Understandable as to why we don't have them coming in though. I felt like a sailboat walking to school today. All I had to do was slightly pick up my feet and I was blown all the way to school, although turning was another task. We have winds of 40 mph and you can't see anything in the distance, not even buildings that really aren't that far away. Here are some pictures that I took this morning. You can see all the blowing snow. Hopefully, things will get back to normal soon. We're only allowed 10 weather days before we start having to make them up. We've used 5 so far and I already have my ticket home. The weather needs to get better soon.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


This week has basically been lost. We did have one day of school, but the rest of the time it has been too cold to have the kids come in. It reached -50 this morning.

The temperature wasn't the only thing keeping students away from school. This week is also part of an important cultural event for the people across the Slope. Starting on Wednesday was a festival called Kivgik, or Messenger Feast. Inupiaq people gather together in Barrow for Eskimo dancing, speaking, and other great events. Most of our students were able to attend and those who didn't stayed behind and listened to it being broadcast on the radio.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wildlife in the tundra

The sun is back and am I ever happy to see it. We have a full day of light. The way it hits the snow out in the open tundra is absolutely beautiful. On top of the light, we can also see literally tons of caribou. There is a whole herd that graze right across the river from the village. It is an amazing sight to see. Where else on Earth would you see this kind of thing.

Due to the many caribou around the village, it does cause some inconvenience. A couple weeks ago, the pilot who make trips into our village often said she needed to buzz over the runway a couple times to clear it of the animals. All the caribou were just hanging out, not at all intimated by the close proximity of people. It also causes a few disturbances in the classroom as well. I have one boy, very easily distracted, who will jump up in the middle of class to go count caribou. This in turn gets the rest of the kids out of their seats and crowded around the window. I will admit it is quite a cool sight. I find myself at the window too.

We also have wolves in the area which is very neat. Doug, our science and math teacher, was out cross county skiing the other weekend and saw a few near the caribou herd a little ways out of town. Also, a few of the teachers were gathered in one of the classrooms and saw one walking just across the river from the school. That was amazing.

Here are a few pictures from a walk I talk a week ago. The black spots on the picture are the caribou. I'm hoping to go out on a snow machine for better pictures in the future.

We've also been experiencing some bitter coldness up this way. So far this week we've only had one real day of school. Both Monday and today were cancelled for the kids due to it being too cold. Today it was down to -44 air temperature, but -63 with the wind chill. All the kids are frostbitten and the risk is to high for them to walk to school in this temperature.