Nome After a short flight from Kotzebue, we landed in Nome in pleasant weather and caught a cab to our hotel. Our cab driver wistfully mentioned that he had just arrived home from Fairbanks, where he had played his last round of golf for the year. A university vehicle awaited us at the hotel and we discovered that our cab driver is also the mechanic who had just serviced our borrowed rig. He is an example of a phenomenon quite common in small Alaskan towns, where many people display numerous talents and fill a variety of roles within their communities.
We had another great school experience at Nome Beltz Jr-Sr High School. As with our earlier school visits, we saw quite a few hands go up when students were asked if they had used Google Earth before, but then the students were amazed to discover so many new layers and features they hadn’t known about. During the lessons, it was so great to see the light bulbs go on when students realized that they can even go beyond exploring these layers and can create and view their own content in Google Earth. That’s what this is all about – helping students have an “aha” moment. After school, we met with faculty and staff to share information and discuss classroom activities and school projects. Some teachers had already come up with ideas for geo-based projects and lesson plans, and although we were at the tail-end of an extremely busy week, I was suddenly re-energized by the conversation.
We were lucky enough to be offered a quick tour – and an opportunity for the school to use their new GigaPan. All of the principals have been so generous with their time! We piled into a school van and saw the sites, with commentary from the school’s director of technology and the principal at the wheel. We drove up to the top of Anvil Mountain on a rugged gravel road. This mountain was the site of a White Alice communications station during the Cold War. Nome is only 160 miles from Siberia and the Anvil White Alice was designed to detect planes or missiles coming from Russia. The site has been cleaned up, but at the request of the people of Nome, the shells of the towers still remain.
We continued up the road and set up the GigaPan to take a panoramic view of the fall tundra, old gold dredges, and the waters of Norton Sound. The undulating hills of red and gold were gorgeous to behold – take a look for yourself by panning around and zooming in on this image:
Farther along on our impromptu tour, we were on the lookout for musk-oxen
, but unfortunately, none revealed themselves to us. Back in town, we saw monuments to the past in the statues of the “Three Lucky Swedes
” and the renovated St. Joseph
’s church. Nome
is a city rich in history and the students are well aware of it.
When asked what they would like others to know or see about Nome
, I heard such responses as, “the golden beaches” and “the Iditarod
I can’t wait to see how these students use their new found skills with Google Earth and Maps to share their stories of Nome with the rest of the world!
Katie KennedyUniversity of Alaska