ASTF helps kids

Posted: Wednesday, May 07, 2003

It is well known that CPR doubles a person's chance of survival from sudden cardiac arrest, yet many people do not know how to perform CPR. This year more than 20 kids were CPR- and first aid-certified as part of sportsman's biology, a new class offered at the high school. Sportsman's biology teaches kids about the outdoors, hunting education, respect for nature and survival skills.

Sportsman's biology is a brainchild of Erik Lundquist, a teacher at Juneau-Douglas High School, and was made possible by a grant from Alaska Science and Technology Foundation (ASTF). With Gov. Murkowski's proposed budget plan, this innovative course would be cut and with it, all the learned skills associated with it.

Sportsman's biology is more than just a class where you sit down, take notes, take a nap with your eyes open, the bell rings and you move on. From boiling a cup of cocoa over a made-from-scratch campfire in the snow to doing a treasure hunt to demonstrate compass skills, sportsman's biology is truly a class that goes outside the classroom. The practical skills it teaches will undoubtedly serve us later in life.

It seems ironic that Murkowski made a campaign promises to help education. It seems as if education is one of the last priorities our new governor has. By cutting programs that fund new, original and imaginative classes, our governor is clearly sending a different message than the one that got him elected.

But funding classes like sportsman's biology is only part of what ASTF does. ASTF generated approximately $126 million in statutory net income over the last 14 years, half of which it has generously given to other worthy programs not connected to ASTF. This is the only program of its kind in Southeast Alaska. Shouldn't we be doing everything in our power to preserve it?

So often we hear our fellow classmates complaining about the lack of real world connections to the classroom. When are we ever going to use imaginary numbers? Will our future employers really care if we read "The Fountainhead?" Sportsman biology is a class that gives you real life connections to use in the future and gives you connections to use right now.

Every person in the class is hunter education-certified. Every person is CPR and first aid-certified. We can all make a fire using only the materials we find around us. ASTF helped make it happen.

Anna Gagne-Hawes

JDHS student

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