At APU’s Kellogg FIELD school, graduate student instructors strive to make every day a learning adventure for their young pupils — but even by their high standards, one day this fall stood out for students and staff alike!
On the final day of their fall studies in mapping, orienteering and wayfinding, 10- and 11-year-olds in the Eagles program were surprised by their FIELD School instructor, Master of Science in Outdoor and Environmental Education (MSOEE) student Allie Pratt, with two incredible guest presentations.
Just before 10 a.m., as FIELD School students were outside enjoying the fresh snow, the walloping sound of an R22 helicopter rumbled overhead. It flew directly over the campus, looped around, and stunned everyone when it landed in the schoolyard! Robert Kozakiewicz, a pilot with Pollux Aviation, flew the helicopter to FIELD School to give students an up-close look at the GPS he uses to fly. As students listened closely and asked thoughtful questions, Kozakiewicz spent almost an hour demonstrating how helicopters work and how he safely navigates on his flights.
When it was time to say goodbye, Kozakiewicz’s takeoff was just as impressive as his landing. The main rotor whipped up a tiny snowstorm as the R22 hovered above the play yard before disappearing into the sky.
You might think the day couldn’t possibly get more exciting — but you’d be wrong! That same day, Iditarod musher Scott Janssen and a group from Turning Heads Kennel visited with special guests: two working sled dogs and a litter of 10-day-old Alaskan husky puppies.
Janssen shared stories of life on the Iditarod Trail and gave students the opportunity to see and feel some of the gear needed to safely run a long-distance dog team. Students got to help outfit one of the dogs in all the gear it would wear to go out with its team on a training run or in a race like the Iditarod. And of course, there were plenty of puppy snuggles to go around, including in some of the younger students’ classes earlier in the day. The handlers from Turning Heads said it was great socialization for the puppies, and considering how much joy they brought to everyone at FIELD School, the visit was a win-win!
The day was also a living example of two of Kellogg FIELD School’s five educational benchmarks: Our Shared Alaska Experience, exploring Alaska’s unique cultural practices; and Outdoor Pursuits, teaching students about the joy and health benefits of outdoor activity while learning to care for gear and creatures.
“This day is a prime example of the dynamic learning taking place at Kellogg FIELD School, both for the students and the MSOEE student instructors,” said Steve Rubinstein, director of APU’s graduate program in Outdoor and Environmental Education. “Allie Pratt’s vision and determination in facilitating this offering to her students exemplified engaged education.”
APU and Kellogg FIELD School extend many thanks to the team of people who gave time, energy, and expertise to make this amazing learning opportunity happen:
- MSOEE student and Kellogg FIELD School instructor Allie Pratt
- Shannon O’Laughlin, Kellogg FIELD School Coordinator
- Turning Heads Kennel handlers Sarge and Rachel
- Pollux Aviation pilot Robert Kozakiewicz
- Mushers Scott and Debby Janssen
- Stephanie Harrod of APU’s Compliance and Risk Management Office
- APU Digital Content Producer/Photographer Ted Kincaid