As we look ahead to solve our budget woes in Alaska, it needs to be clear what impact the proposals by the Murkowski administration will have on our children. In addition to education funding reductions we are hearing about, there is another source of funding that educates Alaska's youth that most of us do not know about.
The Alaska Science and Technology Foundation (ASTF) is slated for elimination. During its run, ASTF has supplied millions of dollars in direct grants to teachers who want to educate our youth through experiences and projects, but lack funds to do so.
As a recipient of an ASTF grant this year, I was able to teach a sportsman's biology class at JDHS and provide students with skills and experiences that help our young people appreciate the outdoors of Southeast Alaska. With help from local residents, the Territorial Sportsman, ADF&G, the Coast Guard, Red Cross and others, students learned about wild and edible foods, boating safety, hunter's education, CPR and first aid, map and compass navigation, wild game processing and cooking, fly tying and fishing.
For 14 years, ASTF, has provided funds that have been leveraged many times with community support to provide innovative programs for our youth. Without ASTF, this course would not have been possible and an opportunity to educate our youth about Southeast Alaska would have been lost. Our kids need the grants that ASTF provides.
Erik J. Lundquist
JDHS science teacher