Sarah Genschaw

Daily Point of Light # 1363 Apr 26, 1999

As a volunteer for the Kenai Fishery Resource Office, Sarah Genschaw facilitated the start of an Adopt-A-Stream program with the Kalifornsky Beach and Tustumena elementary schools to increase students' awareness of the environment. Although the program was her major accomplishment, she also participated in a wide variety of environmental projects.

The four sixth grade classes that are involved in the Adopt-A-Stream partnership attend classroom sessions on salmon and aquatic insect life histories and identification. They also take monthly sampling trips to a local creek where they learn how to use equipment to collect water quality and fishery data. These skills are taken back into the classroom and integrated into their regular lessons. As the Student Conservation Associate, Genschaw is largely responsible for overseeing the Adopt-A-Stream program activities. Teachers and staff at the elementary schools have described her as knowledgeable, enthusiastic and able to build a rapport quickly and easily with the school children.

Genschaw gained her knowledge about the environment and aquatic animals through her year of service with the Kenai Fishery Resource Office. During this time, she volunteered to assist with the Dolly Varden Radio Telemetry Project that tracked radio-tagged fish within the Kenai River drainage. As part of the field crew, she was always ready to cheerfully explain the project to the public when questions would arise. After several months on the job, she became an expert consultant and trained other volunteer educators at the nearby Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on developing a wetlands curriculum. Her co-workers relied heavily on her expertise and often recruited her efforts on special projects. One biologist organized a two-week Andreafsky River Science Camp for high school students in Alaska and Genschaw was instrumental in refining the hands-on activities of the camp, which is now an annual event.

Presently, Genschaw maintains her ongoing involvement with the Adopt-A-Stream program. The program, which requires the mobilization of more volunteers each year, is planned to continue indefinitely. Through this program, Genschaw helps students to gain a sense of increased control and involvement with their communities while providing a source of supplementary information to augment what they learn every day in the classroom.