Sacajawea Audubon

March 9th Program – Alaska’s Izembek NWR

Izembek Brant

Brant Geese at Izembek NWR

For our March program, we leave the comfortable confines of Montana and travel northwest to the Alaska Peninsula for a presentation by retired Wildlife Biologist & Pilot Mike Vivion.

At 320,000 acres, the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge is one of the smallest of Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuges.  But, the refuge’s most prominent feature; Izembek Lagoon, offers critical habitat for virtually the entire population of several waterfowl species, as well as numerous shorebird species.

Located approximately 700 miles southwest of Anchorage at the distal tip of the Alaska Peninsula, Izembek offers unique habitats and a remarkable array of avian species found almost nowhere else.

Here, the North Pacific Ocean is separated by only a few miles of the Alaska peninsula from the Bering Sea.   This geography brings about some of the most violent weather on the planet.  Two of the most active volcanoes in North America are visible from here on a rare clear day.  The Izembek Refuge staff also manages the nearby first and largest of the Aleutian Islands, Unimak Island, a volcanic wonderland in its own right.

Retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist/Pilot Mike Vivion will discuss the remarkable migration of the Pacific Black Brant, the Emperor Goose, Steller’s Eider and other unique species that depend entirely on this unique component of our National Wildlife Refuge System for their survival.

Mike Vivion is a retired Wildlife Biologist/Airplane Pilot who worked on several National Wildlife Refuges over the course of his 34 year career.  Twenty nine years of that career were spent in Alaska, where he was stationed on the Izembek, Kodiak and Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuges.  Aerial census and research projects took him to all the other refuges in Alaska.  He retired from the FWS in 2005 and taught at the University of Minnesota, Crookston for seven years.  He and his wife Gina, a retired elementary school teacher, moved to Bozeman in 2013 and are happily retired.

Sacajawea Audubon Society meets every 2nd Monday of the month, Sept. through May at Hope Lutheran Church, 2152 West Graf.  Meetings start at 7:00 p.m. and are free and open to the public.

Unimak Volcanos

Unimak Volcanos

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