Tonya Lee (left) and Mary Ruskovich hold two top entries by Hunter Simeonoff, grade 4 from Old Harbor (left) and Denise Kalmakoff, grade 8 from Akhiok. Kayla Desroches/KMXT
Children from around Kodiak Island took part in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife calendar competition this year. The department holds The Alaska Migratory Bird Calendar Contest annually. This is the first time Kodiak villages have participated. This year’s theme was “Alaska’s birds, colorful and camouflaged.
Tonya Lee, who works with the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, talked to students about how females protect their eggs and males attract mates.
“I went to the village communities," Lee says. "And did some activities with the kids on the theme and had a lot of fun learning about bird courtship and why female birds are camouflaged and why male birds have exotic colors and different plumages that come out during the mating times of year.”
Students learned about Alaskan birds like puffins and auklets and then created art pieces in any medium they chose. And this Wednesday, judges picked three entries from each age group to send onto the state competition. Local artist Mary Ruskovich was one of those judges.
“The colors were fantastic," says Ruskovich. "And that’s what the judges looked for, was the use of color, how many colors they did use, and the different perspectives on each of the pictures. The kids would use this theme, but also put their own twist to it.”
They also selected written submissions. This poem is by Olivia Salanof from Old Harbor. She’s in third grade.
One day there was a Mallard
Her name was Ms. Mallory Mallard
She loves colors
Good thing she was a Mallard
Because they have quite a few colors!
She admires Mr. Mallard’s colors:
Green, black, white, gray, and purple.
The state competition will be judged in April.