Tag Archives: Laurie Craig

Packing a digital punch

This article first appeared in the April 23, 2011 issue of The Juneau Empire

by Amy Condra

Photo by Amy Condra, Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center Director Ron Marvin adjusts a telescope that will transmit images of wildlife, such as far away mountain goats, to a 55-inch screen mounted in the visitor center.

Across the lake from the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, a mountain goat forges a slow and steady path up a cliff that rises far above the center’s standard vantage point.

“Many of our visitors couldn’t see them,” said the center’s director, Ron Marvin. “So I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be neat if we could see the goats up on a screen?’”

This summer, it’s possible — telescopes will track these and other animals, and transmit their images, in real-time, to a 55-inch screen.

The screen is one of two that has recently been acquired and mounted by the center, and each will show a variety of graphic

Laurie Craig, an interpreter with the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, said that such updated technologies are playing an unprecedented role at the center. 

“They provide flexibility and an array of new opportunities for educating our visitors,” Craig said. “With large video monitors that are incredibly clear and brilliant, we can show off historic as well as contemporary photos. The blue ice images are spectacular!”

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Coats of many colors: Woodford to speak about Alaska’s bears

Courtesy of Terry Tollefsbol / USFWS, A grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park. Grizzly bears are called brown bears in SE Alaska, but are the same animal.

This article first appeared in the January 27, 2011 issue of The Juneau Empire

by Amy Condra

How do you coax out the crowds on a chilly Friday evening in Juneau?

Laurie Craig, an interpreter at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, cites one topic that tends to pack the house: Animals.

“I call it ‘charismatic fauna,’” said Craig, who has been organizing the center’s Fireside Lectures for seven years. “Furry animals bring in more visitors than anything else!”

This week’s scheduled presentation, “Alaskan Bears: Coats of Many Colors,” is aimed at easing the curiosity of those among us, and there are clearly many, who want to know more about these animals that share our world.

In Juneau we are surrounded by bears, says Riley Woodford, a writer and editor for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Wildlife Conservation.

“We live in one of the best places in the worlds for bears,” said Woodford, who will be speaking on the topic Friday night.

Woodford says his interest in the coats and colors of local bears was sparked by a comment from a researcher.

“It was really casual,” said Woodford. “A biologist, Kevin White, was doing some work with bears north of town, and said to me, ‘Hey, check out these white cubs! There’s a black mother bear with three cubs, and two of them are white!’”

Woodford, who worked as a field biologist before becoming a writer, said he started looking into the topic after White sent him some photographs of the bears.

Most black bears are black, says Woodford, and most brown bears are brown. Those are the classic colors, he adds.

“But in Southeast Alaska we have rules — and then we have the exception to the rules,” he said.

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