New Exhibits at the Tetlin Visitor Center

The public is invited to attend a celebration of Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge and the new exhibits at the Tetlin Visitor Center.

Photo Credit: Kay Lynn Odle-Moore, USFWS

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Tetlin Visitor Center, Mile 1229 AK Highway

There will be a brief program followed by demonstrations and activities. Light refreshments will be served.

Winterpocalypse Pics

Because every day is a winterpocalypse in these parts (compared to other parts)…

Upper Tanana Imagination Library Family Night – Northway

Upper Tanana Imagination Library Family Night featuring the book Ladybug Girl and Bumble Bee Boy for families with children kindergarten age or younger is taking place at the Northway Preschool Room on Thursday, December 9th from 5-7pm.

*Arts & Craft activities

* Pizza

*Door prizes of gently used books and more!

Come carpool from Tok and join the fun! Let Carrie Beeman know if you’d like to attend.

Did You Go to Chickenstock? We did!

Here are a few snapshots of the weekend at Chickenstock – and yes, it rained and rained and rained but the musicians kept playing.

Arriving at Chickenstock

Our camper - we overnighted for two nights

Got outhouses?

The stage at Chickenstock

The backstage at Chickenstock.

Got Chicken Hat?

Yes, it really WAS the stage!

Folks at Chickenstock

I ❤ Chicken, Alaska, too!

I got the chance to interview Josea, the gal who organizes the event. Will upload later this week.

Did you go to Chickenstock? Please share photos and stories!

Alaska Singer/Songwriter Marian Call Crowdsources a Tour

I recently had the pleasure of having breakfast in Anchorage at the Snow City Cafe with the ultra-talented singer/songwriter Marian Call. Marian is a self-professed geek girl on top of being a powerhouse singer based in Alaska. She is about to embark on a unique and incredibly smart DIY musical tour of the Lower 48 called 49 > 50 as in “coming from the 49th state to the rest of them.” Oh yeah, she will end up in Hawaii at the end of the tour to get some much-needed rest.

I’d love to get her to Tok on her way back to Alaska although that won’t be until sometime at the end of year. Would love to get her here before she leaves the state but that is only weeks away, and as we know in Tok – and in everything else in life – timing is everything.

So in the meanwhile I’m just shouting from the social networks my support for what Marian is doing. She is crowdsourcing her music tour.

What is crowdsourcing, you ask? In a nutshell, crowdsourcing is going to the “crowd” or the public using social media to glean information or get ideas or get feedback. Sourcing the crowd for their thoughts and opinions. Social media is the perfect set of tools to do this with and it is smart for any company or individual to tap into the crowdsourcing power of our Social Web.

So what this means for Marian is pretty exciting. GET INFO HERE ABOUT HOW TO BOOK HER IN YOUR TOWN.

Here is how Marian defines the types of shows she will do:

There are two kinds of shows: House Concerts and Venue Concerts.  House concerts I set up directly with you (even if they’re not at a house, or not at your house).  For venue concerts, such as cafés, bars, farmer’s markets, and music halls, I collect information about a venue that you think is really a perfect fit and has dates open, and I contact them myself (unless the manager happens to be your brother-in-law or something, in which case you introduce us).

You can book a performance date for either type of show directly with her (instructions here). And you can see how her tour is shaping up on her site.

Her last show is in Anchorage on 10 April! If you are lucky enough to be in Anchorage or in nearby parts, you must go see her before she spends the rest of the year bringing her fantastic music to the rest of the country. You can buy tix on her web site!

I can’t begin to tell you how important it is what Marian is doing. Besides the fact that she is a smart, savvy, talented woman coming out of Alaska who can represent the State of Alaska in a positive, empowering way, she is also tapping into the power of crowdsourcing and empowering her fans with the ability to bring her to their towns – and their homes. So suddenly fans of music are not at the mercy of a venue or a music booker or booking agency. If you want to see her and hear in person, you just reach out and try to make it work.

My own company Conversify is working with several companies that are crowdsourcing on products including wine and perfume. This is the future. I’m so thrilled to see it happening.

Follow Marian on Twitter or on her Facebook Page.

Power to the People!

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Tundra Telegraph – Let’s Put Tok on the Social Media Map!

There is an interesting new site by Alaskans for Alaskans (and the rest of the world, of course). Tundra Telegraph is part of AlaskaDispatch and gives Alaskans the opportunity to create content. I know we have some excellent writers, photographers and videographers here in Tok so it would be great to see some of you contributing to this new site.

Here’s a press release explaining the project:

Alaska Dispatch announces launch of, the state’s online news source, announced Thursday the launch of, a new Web site entirely dedicated to Alaskans to tell their stories through words, videos and photos.

Jennifer Canfield, who worked previously as news director at 90.3 KNBA-FM in Anchorage, is the editor of Tundra Telegraph. She will actively reach out to Alaskans to encourage them to share content, including distributing video cameras across the state to those who want to serve as citizen journalists in their regions. Canfield and the Dispatch’s staff of experienced journalists will provide storytelling guidance and training directly to participants, enabling them to cover their communities themselves, rather than relying on outside news organizations’ quick-hit “parachute journalism.”

Tundra Telegraph is an ambitious project, one that harkens back to the roots of Alaska Dispatch. When the Dispatch first started in mid-2008, it depended on Alaskans to share stories. Tundra Telegraph builds on the Dispatch’s mission of citizen journalism.

While Tundra Telegraph is for all Alaskans, the Dispatch is working extra hard to give voice to rural residents. Rural Alaska has long suffered from a lack of media coverage due to financial, logistical and cultural challenges facing both the state’s media and the remote parts of the state. This has contributed to an ever-deepening urban-rural divide. Tundra Telegraph aims to knock down those barriers and spur discussion.

“I come from a generation of Alaska Natives who are searching for who they are and what it means to be Alaska Native,” Canfield says. “I also come from a generation of native Alaskans who are worried about the future of our home state. For me, Tundra Telegraph is a place to explore both sides of who I am. I hope it becomes something equally meaningful for you.”

ABOUT: With a staff of a dozen experienced reporters and editors, is committed to telling the story of Alaska. In addition to reporting on statewide news, events and culture, Alaska Dispatch strives to provide thoughtful analysis of Alaska issues, as well as diverse opinion and insight from a broad range of contributors.

Who do you know in Tok who could be a great contributor to share what is happening in our area?

Ahtna Cultural Summit in Glenallen this month

Alaska Native Languages
Image via Wikipedia

I’m hoping to attend the Ahtna Cultural Summit  in Glenallen Fri. May 29 and Sat. May 30 at Glennallen High School.

From the flyer:

The Ahtna culture and language are dying out like a fire that hasn’t been tended. If we are to save what is left, we must act now. Join us as we discuss what we can do to revive what makes us Ahtna Koh’taene.

One of the rich but often overlooked aspects of the Tok community is its proximity to a large number of Alaska Native villages and peoples. I recently had the honor of attending a dinner for a Northway elder, my first experience with traditional events and foods from this area. I sampled moosehead soup and muskrat (a mild, oily meat) although I didn’t get a chance to taste the beaver or beaver tail.

I was struck by the community aspect of the event. Everything is a community effort, from the event preparation to the serving to the cleanup in an organic way based on friendship, hierarchy, and other understood  roles. This is not “event by committee” that I’m more used to where it is like a homework assignment to do your part. I look forward to more experiences and learning from our neighbors.

Recently, I missed a tremendous event in Anchorage – the Indigenous Peoples’ Summit on Climate Change. I’m (not) surprised at how little national coverage this global event received, and it was right in our back yard! If anyone attended and would like to share some stories, I’d be happy to publish them on this blog.

On a related note, I’ve been sitting for over four years on a proposal to do a documentary film about traditional knowledge and global warming, always pushing it back as life happened. I’m feeling like the time is now to revisit this project. I’m open to speaking with interested parties about this.

Another related piece of news is that there will be some archaeological test digs in the Refuge this summer. I’m hoping to interview the professor who is leading them and bring some of their information and findings to this blog.

I feel like some doors have been opened here because the time is now for reaching out and communicating with our neighbors, sharing knowledge and resources, and telling our stories to a wider audience. Our world and many of our communities are in crisis. Now is the time to come together.

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Fiber Optic Coming to Tok?

Optical fiber provides cheaper bandwidth for l...
Image via Wikipedia

A little birdie told me a few months back that Tok would be getting fiber optic as early as the Fall. Well, now rumor has it that it may be much sooner – like sometime in the next few months!

Anyone who has been following my quest for high speed – and affordable – Internet in rural Alaska knows that “high speed” and “affordable Internet” are not usually used around these parts. I’m currently paying close to $200 for my monthly Internet access, 512k up and down, 10Gig bandwidth allowance, $30 each Gig over. (Waiting for your eyes to pop open and jaw to drop. There it goes.)

I got a peek at some numbers for the new service that will bring Tok onto the Information Superhighway instead of the rural side road and my own eyes popped open and jaw dropped. For the same connection speed, the Gig bandwidth allowance is doubled and the price is about one-fourth of what I pay now! Heck, I could afford the truly high speed connection at those rates. (more…)

Imagination Library coming to Tok & Tanacross

welcome-to-dolly-parton_s-imagination-library-1Here’s the program I mentioned recently in this blog. My company social media marketing company Conversify is making a cash donation to the project, and I’m enrolling my 2-year-old. This is reprinted with permission from Carrie Beeman and originally appeared in the latest Mukluk News.

The Imagination Library is coming to Tok & Tanacross. With recent grants from the Rasmuson Foundation, The CIRI Foundation, and ConocoPhillips, Best Beginnings has provided matching funds to help start an Imagination Library in the communities of Tok & Tanacross.

Attend the KickOff Event!

All parents of young children living in Tok & Tanacross are encouraged to sign-up their child during the kick-off event on Saturday 4/11/09 at the Tok School Library. Drop by anytime between 10:30am-12:30pm. The theme of our event is trains. From The Little Engine That Could to Thomas The Tank Engine, there will be many activities set for young children to do and explore. In addition there will be door prizes and snacks, so mark you calendars! Volunteers are also welcome.

What is an Imagination Library you may wonder? The Imagination Library was created by the musician and actor Dolly Parton in 1996 as an effort to foster a love of reading among preschool children and their families. She did this by insuring that every child in her home community in Tennessee would have books. Reading with young children is proven to be the single most important thing parents can do to ensure their children’s success in school.

How the Imagination Library works is that each child enrolled in participating communities receives a free book in the mail every month. This means all the children in living Tok & Tanacross are now eligible from birth until their 5th birthday, allowing a child to create a home library with a total of sixty books. With the arrival of every child’s first book, the classic The Little Engine That Could every child can now experience the joy of finding their very own book in their mailbox. These moments continue each month until the very last month in the program they receive Look Out Kindergarten Here I Come. All the books in between are age appropriate and chosen by experts. They are grouped by the year the child was born.

Donations support the Imagination Library, so there is no charge to families.

If you are interested in helping with Imagination Library or participating, please leave comments here and I’ll make sure Carrie or one of us gets back to you (if you don’t already know how to reach her directly)!

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2009 Tanacross Dog Sled Races!

We had a blast today going to the 2009 Tanacross Dog Sled Races. First, I’ve never been to a dog sled race so that was exciting in and of itself. Plus, we got to visit Tanacross, an Athabascan village near Tok, which was a very special privilege for all of us. (Here’s some interesting information about the Tanacross language.)

It was a blue sky, white clouds, frigid day, but despite the cold we enjoyed every minute of the experience, including the “up-close-and-personal” access we had to the racers and sled dogs. Here are just a few photos from the day. More on my Flickr page.

I look forward to more outdoor activities and events in the Tok area, and more than anything, look forward to returning to Tanacross in the near future.

2009 Tanacross Dog Sled Races

2009 Tanacross Dog Sled Races

2009 Tanacross Dog Sled Races

2009 Tanacross Dog Sled Races

2009 Tanacross Dog Sled Races


Alaskans brace for volcanic eruption (

Alaskans brace for volcanic eruption
After 19-year break, Redoubt could roar back to life in days, scientists say

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A volcano just 100 miles from Alaska’s largest city has stirred back to life after nearly 20 years of tranquility, sparking a round-the-clock eruption watch, seismologists said Thursday.

The fresh wave of seismic activity at Mount Redoubt suggests that the eruption could occur within days or weeks, the Alaska Volcano Observatory reported.

Read more…

Thanks to Peg, one of Living in Tok readers, for the heads up! We get our news a lot slower in these parts. I really need to pay more attention to online news!

Map: Tok vs. Volcano (Map lifted without permission from Hope they don’t mind the traffic this blog sends their way. Be nice and wave hello when you get there. Okay, Okay, I’m going now to ask their permission!)

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