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So ... You'd Like to Work in Alaska?

What's that you say? You'd like to work in Alaska? So you can see for yourself why everyone says it's different up here? OK, great. But before sending in your application, please make sure you've examined the following skills and abilities needed for the job:

Must be able to:

1. Carry 50 pounds of gear through shoulder-high wet grass up a 60-degree slope on a remote island to chase and capture 82 flightless Aleutian Canada geese, place them in transport boxes, and haul them back to the ship. Tubefeed said geese with extremely slimy and smelly liquid every 2 hours aboard ship in close quarters amid large, rolling ocean swells until you reach the translocation island. Condition of own stomach has no bearing on tube feeding schedule.

2. Land inflatable boat on beach through heavy, cold surf while wearing mustang suit and seaboots. Avoid dumping self and cargo of Aleutian Canada geese in said surf.

3. Stand all day on ship's flying bridge, counting and identifying every living thing that comes within 150 meters of ship. Identify at a glance and count thousands of "USDAs" (unidentified small dark alcids) in flocks flying, sitting on the water, or diving. Differentiate between crested and whiskered auklets, murres and murrelets, Laysan and black-footed albatrosses, horned and tufted puffins, many others. Do this in dense fog.

4. Navigate through dense, wet Katmai forests using bear trails and aerial photographs to find wetlands to delineate. Nimbly dive into trailside bushes to allow oncoming 1,000-pound brown bear the right-of-way. Make tremendous noise all day to warn bears of your progress through said forest. Develop creative vocal warning techniques beyond "Heyyyyyy, bear!" Photo-document wetlands. Keep camera in focus while backing away from bear.

Must have a willingness to:

1. Separate innards from seabird carcasses that are slightly past their prime for tissue analysis.

2. Perform above task in shipboard lab that is rolling in heavy seas.

3. Listen to Captain say, "Just another day on the Bering Sea" while watching anemometer hit 94 knots.

4. Stay up all "day" (never mind that in summer, "night" never comes and "day" lasts for four months).

5. Spend inordinate amounts of time waiting for airplanes in bad weather.

6. Spend a lot of money for travel that lasts longer than you thought it would. Sometimes, much longer.

Helpful to have immunity to:

1. Seasickness

2. Biting flies

3. F16-sized mosquitoes

4. Sleep

Helpful to have indifference to:

1. Thousand-pound brown bears

2. White-knuckle landings in bush aircraft

3. Wet (very wet) beach landings through ice-cold Aleutian surf

Helpful to pay attention to:

1.5,000-volt electrical fence around your camp tent

2. Rustling noises in the bushes

3. The weather

Ready?

Karen Boylan is the Congressional Liaison and Deputy ARD for External Affairs for the Alaska Regional Office.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Title Annotation:Alaska
Author:Boylan, Karen
Publication:Endangered Species Bulletin
Geographic Code:1U9AK
Date:Mar 1, 1999
Words:469
Previous Article:Alaska's International Affairs Program.
Next Article:Canada and U. S. Save Shared Species at Risk.
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