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Last week, I wrote about some of the breaks the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has enjoyed during its 75-year existence.

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We just had a party up here, to celebrate the Geophysical Institute’s 75th year of existence. Seventy-five years also happens to be the average life expectancy for a human these days.

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Years ago, I worked for a hunting guide on a river in the middle of Alaska. One of my duties was to drive a motorized canoe full of moose meat upstream to a gravel bar where he could fly it out.

With the new school year starting soon and schools opening, it is time to think about lunch. The best way to make sure your child has fun and healthy lunches is by packing them at home. 

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Leaving cloven hoof prints from the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, more than 3,500 muskoxen live in Alaska. All of those shaggy, curly-horned beasts came from one group of muskoxen that survived a most remarkable journey in the 1930s.

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On a fine June day about 100 years ago, in a green mountain valley where the Aleutians stick to the rest of Alaska, the world fell apart.

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Greenup — the great, silent collective explosion of freed tree buds that had been frozen all winter like a clenched fist — will happen any day now in much of Alaska. The phenomenon is easy to notice here in middle Alaska, which is locked up in black-and-white for much of the year.

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In Alaska’s infinite waters swims a handsome, silvery fish. Until recently, we knew little about the Bering cisco, which exists only around Alaska and Siberia. Then a scientist combined his unique life experiences with modern tools to help color in the fish’s life history.

If you walk through a lumberyard this month in anticipation of building a home, addition, or shed, be ready for sticker shock. Prices on plywood, chipboard and studs are noticeably up, and the average price of lumber overall has almost tripled since COVID hit just over a year ago.

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The Alsek, a world-class rafting river that flows into the Gulf of Alaska from its headwaters in Canada, may soon abandon the lower part of its drainage for a steeper one 15 miles away.

With long winters and isolation due to the pandemic, this has been a tough winter on everyone, especially if you have children that you need to keep active.

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Scientists regularly use remote sensing drones and satellites to record how climate change affects permafrost thaw rates — methods that work well in barren tundra landscapes where there’s nothing to obstruct the view.

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A few years ago, Link Olson wanted students in his mammalogy class to see one of the neatest little creatures in Alaska, the northern flying squirrel. He baited a few live traps with peanut butter rolled in oats and placed them in spruce trees.

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In mid-March, it is snowing once again in Fairbanks, as it has snowed on many days since October. That makes it a good day to pick up Matthew Sturm’s new book, “Field Guide to Snow.”

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Bowhead whales are true northern creatures, swimming only in cold oceans off Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Svalbard and Russia. These bus-size whales have the largest mouths in the animal kingdom, can live for 200 years and can go without eating for more than a year due to their remarkable fat …

This feature is the first part of a series on holiday cooking by Joyce McCombs who wrote a food column for our sister publication, Delta Wind, for many years.

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On a December night more than 60 years ago, a 28-year-old Japanese student touched down in Fairbanks, Alaska. He set down his suitcase as he stepped off the plane and looked northward, hoping to see the aurora borealis.

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“On winter mornings, just as the sun’s uncertain light slopes across the Tanana Flats, ravens fly over my log cabin on their daily commute to town. Perhaps, like me, they would prefer to remain here in the hills above Fairbanks, where temperatures are usually ten or twenty degrees warmer. But town is where the day’s work lies, where ravens and people earn their daily victuals. Dozens of the birds crest the ridges alone, in pairs, strung out in groups that punctuate the sky like ellipses. They sail over slopes covered with spare aspen and birch trees and descend on the city wedged between the frozen Tanana and Chena Rivers. Across other ridges, from other directions, hundreds of ravens are flying through the thin light to pick at the carcass of civilization.”

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Many of you who follow me know that I love the holidays. This is my favorite time of the year — giving thanks and gathering with family and loved one at Thanksgiving, followed by the festive and ever-cheerful Christmas and New Year’s Day. It is a time to spend with family and share time and …

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Ice that floats on far-north oceans has been dwindling the last few years. Scientists have described the shrinking of this solar reflector — once bigger than Russia and now taking up less space than Australia — as a breakdown of the world’s refrigerator.

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Katie Kangas operates a bed-and-breakfast in Ruby, Alaska. On the morning of October 15, she turned to look out her picture window, toward the cabin next door. She was waiting for her client to switch the light on, at which point she would step out and deliver his breakfast.

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Biologist Stacia Backensto has fooled a raven. When trying to recapture birds on Alaska’s North Slope during her graduate student days at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, she wore a moustache and beard. She also strapped pillows to her waist.

In the fall of 1914, the talk in Seward covered everything from the Great War in Europe to which town would get the new government railroad. In 1915 Seward became the terminus of the Alaska Railroad, and life in our small town changed rapidly as thousands of newcomers began arriving in Alaska.

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A few nights ago, stretched in a tent on the blue-gray gravel of the Lowe River floodplain, I woke to a series of sharp jolts. It felt like the earth was a giant halibut, and I was the fishing pole.