Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Encounters in Alaska

Richard Nelson from EncountersYou'd think after living in Alaska for so many years--as in all my life--that there wouldn't be much I don't know about our fair state. Oh how wrong that would be.

In fact there are tons of things I don't know which is why I have developed a love for a certain radio show. It's called Encounters and it airs every Tuesday afternoon on our local KSKA public radio station. I catch it while I'm heading to the school to pick up the kids and invariably I tell them "shhhh!" as they get into the car so I can hear the last few sentences.

It's a strange show, really strange actually, because it's an hour-long monologue from Dr. Richard Nelson as he travels around the state to narrate different scenes of Alaskan life. Now that may not sound that exciting but Nelson has a doctorate in cultural anthropology and has lived in Alaska for 40 years in places as exotic and isolated as Wainwright, Sitka and Kodiak. He has this talent for sitting down in a scene of Alaskan wilderness and telling you what he's seeing and making it sound so appealing and interesting that if you closed your eyes you'd swear you were sitting next to him. Though I wouldn't advise doing that while you're driving. Not safe.

During one program he watched a hummingbird feeding frenzy and you could hear all the buzzings as if you were right there, on another he watched a pod of humpback whales bubblenet feeding and yesterday he talked about how Native Alaskan people--specifically the Inupiat--handled the extreme temperatures of the North Slope. Fascinating? Completely. And it's doubly amazing that I'm a fan considering that I'm not what you'd call an "animal person," it just shows you how good the show must be.

If you like hearing about Alaska or are at all interested in the natural world I'd highly recommend catching his program. You can sign up for the postcasts here, click on the itunes button and have the shows sent directly to your ipod (like me!) If you scroll down the podcast feed page you can see a list of past episodes and catch up.

Sometimes you can get things from outside of the state--last year he traveled to Australia and did a series of Encounters from all over the continent, talking about bats and kookaburras and kangaroos and all sorts of amazing creatures and I hung on every word. One thing you might try--if you have children who like nature programs (that would be us, I swear I should have an honorary degree in zoology)--you could play the programs for them at night as they're falling asleep which has been popular around here.

Squeeze that education into them any way you can, right?

Sponsored by Dimples and Dandelions


Jules said...

That sounds interesting but I am kind of a visual gal. I would love to actually "watch" that.

We saw mostly moose when we were up there. Those things are huge.

Heart2Heart said...


This sounds so great! I love learning new things everyday and as I've gotten older it seems like I crave new things all the time.

This show sounds much like Huwell Houser, not sure about the spelling and his TV show on PBS called California's Gold. Oh the places he has gone to see and some of them I've never known about living here my whole 45 years. Now I have to try and check out your recommendation seeing as I love Alaska so much. I swear if I wasn't with kids, I'd move there.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Heather said...

Okay I am going to have to sign up for the podcasts because he sounds amazing.

Also I wanted to tell you again how much I loved your green dress at Blissdom. I was the tall brunette that wore the glasses with the camera standing sort of in front of you. I instantly loved you because you made me feel short in my heels and then I came here and *swoon* Where have you been the last three years of my life.


Lori said...

We'll give it a try. It's good to hear that other kids like nature shows. My four year old would rather watch NOVA than Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Crystal Escobar said...

Hey, I'm reading your ebook (from SITS), and I'm loving it. I'm learning a lot from you :) thank you for sharing this information with us fellow bloggers. I'm now following you on twitter, and just added you as a friend on facebook. I look forward to getting to know you better through blogging.
Oh, and I LOVE Alaska. We went on an Alaskan cruise a couple of years ago, and it was the most amazing experience EVER!

Staci said...

That really does sound neat! Of course when you've got a place as pretty as Alaska, it makes it fun to listen to! I can only imagine what that same broadcast would be like here in Atlanta!! "And to the left, you'll see another building." Ha!

Man I sure would love to see Alaska one day!!