Written by Courtney James, Chad Ward, Ethan Kadake, Brandon Ward, Bree Travica, and Audrey Clavijo

This week we did all sorts of activities including tree plot management, trail-building on Grave Island, water sampling, deer meat processing, and formline drawing. Today, Friday, we are going to the garden and tomorrow we will be hosting the Kake Community Clean Up! 

Our week was very active; it was the first time we went out into the field to learn about silviculture and forest management. Ben Case (US Forest Service) and Gary Lawton (Sealaska Corporation) made the activity into a competitive game so that we were collecting information for them and having fun at the same time. Tuesday we began our trail-building efforts on Grave Island. The trail begins at the beach and goes towards the forested section of the island. It will help elders and community members to access the old grave-sites on the North shore of the island. Other fun events from this week included a water sampling in Keku Point and processing two deer for the OVK Cares Act, which is working to provide food for our community.

Brandon and Chad hanging out during work

On Wednesday we did water sampling at “Nautical Mile 3”, located in Keku Point, which is Northwest of Kake. Our research includes testing pH, salinity, temperature, and presence of heavy metals and fecal coliforms. Out on the boat, we heard whales breaching and the water was calm. It was partly cloudy but we could still see the snow-capped Barinoff mountains in the distance. The research went smoothly and everyone did their job well. Was a very good day on the water! 

Once back on land, we worked on two deer and later learned some Formline tips from local artisan, Mike Jackson. The crew’s favorite part of the day was working on the deer and cutting it up. We all learned something new that day. Such as working a new job on the water sampling or learning how to process a deer. A tricky one was the formline, we all think it’s beautiful Native art work but we all find it very difficult. 

Bree processing a deer that was shared with Kake community members. Photo by Willow Jackson.

As a crew, we love being out in the woods and being active, especially when we have to take on a task that will require a lot of work. On Grave Island, our goal is to make a nice trail through the middle of the island. Not only will this help our community to access the graves located on the further parts of the island and open land for burial sites, it also allows us to show respect to our elders. We are grateful for the help of Mike and Shawaan Jackson in our efforts. We recognize that the value of our hard work is to create something long-lasting and valuable for our whole community and generations to come.

Ethan working on the beach

We are all excited for the Second Annual Kake Community Clean Up tomorrow, July 11th, 2020! We posted signs around town and on social media to spread the word.  Weigh-In will take place at 2PM at Kake Tribal Grounds. Prizes and a cookout at Culture Camp Beach will follow.

The Rules: the team that collects the most carryable weight in trash WINS!

Launched in 2017, the Training Rural Alaskan Youth Leaders and Students (TRAYLS) Program provides hands-on experience with natural resource management technical skills and cultural knowledge while preparing youth to occupy leadership roles in their communities.  This year, TRAYLS and Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) programs are active in three Southeast communities: Kake, Hoonah, and Angoon.