The Denali Foundation
The Alaska Rural
A curriculum that challenges young minds
to make connections between academics and traditional native
"Observing Snow" was published by
the Denali Foundation with the generous sponsorship of The
Rural Systemic Initiative.
Written and Compiled by:
Leslie Adams is a mother of two, holds a MS in Natural
Resource Management, and teaches natural history for
the Denali Foundation. She instructed the science portion
of the pilot programs and assembled the curriculum.
John Busch holds a MA in Anthropology. He did extensive
interviews with the Elders of Minto. John is a student
of Athabascan languages and documented the native terminology
found throughout the curriculum.
Patty Craw is a geologist for the State of Alaska,
holds a BS in Geology and specializes in science education
projects. She developed the original "Denali on the Road" curriculum
and directed the first pilot programs.
The Denali Foundation Mission:
"To benefit the Denali National Park bioregion, the State
of Alaska and our planet, through the development and implementation
of research, education and communication programs."
Table of Contents
Four Corners of Life
Water: the Stuff that Makes
Snow on the Ground Changes
Exploring Native Snow
Open Note Review
Bibliography & Resources
The Observing Snow curriculum could not be possible without
the help and contributions of many people. The communities of
Minto, McGrath, Galena, and Cantwell helped make this project
This program was sponsored by the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative
(ARSI). The guidance of Ray Barnhardt, and the technical assistance
of the Alaska Native Knowledge Network were key in bringing the
project to completion.
We would especially like to thank the Elders of Minto, namely
Neal and Geraldine Charlie and Evelyn Alexander who did wonderful
activities with the students. They and Wilson Titus spent many
hours talking with us about the traditional native lifestyle
and winter skills. Marie Dimenteff and Jim Dimentoff and Lena
Petruska, Elders of McGrath shared winter skills such as making
snow shoe bindings, fire building and other outdoor skills. Mary
Jane Derendorff was invaluable as our liaison to the community
and made the entire collaboration of Elders and schools in McGrath
Robert Charlie, CHEI Executive Director, was instrumental in
encouraging the Elders of Minto to participate in the Observing
Howard Luke, Elder of Fairbanks spent time
teaching our staff appropriate ways of operating within the
Native community and
among Elders. He reminds us, "you can't go against nature."
Cindy Reigle was instumental in developing the concept of Denali
on the Road. Her work helped make the initial contact with
Linda Paganelli, Kim Fleuth, and Patty Craw
developed the first "snow
science" program that was used in schools on the road system.
Patty Craw directed the first pilot program that went into the
village of Minto and invited Elders into the classroom. The Glaciology
Chapter and many of the science activities are her work.
Jeff Jakobson of North Pole Middle School was an early evaluator
of the curriculum, providing constructive comments based on years
of teaching experience. He helped us avoid many pitfalls from
Matthew Strum of CRREL shared many wonderful activity ideas.
Dennis Trabant of USGS and Keith Echelmeyer of the UAF Geophysical
Institute generously shared their slides, aerial photographs
and ideas for activities.
Edward LaChapelle, who is responsible for
much of the definitive research in the snow science field,
kindly allowed us to reproduce
graphics and information from his classic work, "A Field Guide
to Snow Crystals."
We would also like to offer kind thanks to all the wonderful
teachers, parents, community members, students, and child care
providers who gave their time and energy to make this program