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By Marc Lutz
Wrangell Sentinel 

Field trip up Stikine teaches lifelong lessons for elementary students


Marc Lutz/Wrangell Sentinel

Virginia Oliver, center, teaches Tlingit to a group of fourth graders from Evergreen Elementary School on May 2 on Cottonwood Island, about 10 miles up the Stikine River. The class, along with the fifth grade class and fourth graders from Rae C. Stedman Elementary School in Petersburg, learned hooligan fishing techniques, wilderness survival, salmon and bird species identification as part of an annual field trip.

A simple 30-minute trip by jet boat could be the outing of a lifetime for many Wrangell and Petersburg youths, and if they pay attention, it could mean extending that lifetime.

On May 2, a mix of fourth and fifth graders from Evergreen Elementary and Petersburg's Stedman Elementary traveled up the Stikine River on a warm, sunny day to Cottonwood Island to learn about everything from identifying wildlife to surviving the elements.

Field trips up the river have been going on for about 23 years, according to Wrangell teacher Brian Merritt, who got the idea from a former student. What started a...

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