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23 March, 2002

Climate: Sunny
High 33
Low 1

Alaskan BBQ

I was invited to two BBQ's today. Seems that a March BBQ is another favorite activity for Fairbanks residents even in freezing temperatures. After our morning rounds at Poker Flat, I struggled to stay awake for my first gathering but had a great time talking with locals and Alaskan natives. The next BBQ was just outside of Fairbanks in the middle of the woods. As I walked up the driveway, I noticed everyone was outside on the porch chatting away near the

grill and bonfire. Luckily for me, I was dressed for the "occasion." A childhood memory of my summer BBQ days in Illinois came into sight and gave me warm thoughts--it didn't last long though. After

grabbing some caribou sausages and hot chocolate, I immediately made my way to the bonfire. It wasn't even 9 o'clock before I looked up into the dark sky to see the Aurora Borealis. This time, the

greenish colored northern lights braved its way to the skies, rather than hiding behind rolling hills. It was an incredible sight!

1. Black spruce trees can withstand shady areas. See any other trees on this slope (north sun)?

2. The opposite slope (south sun) receives more light. Distinguish the variations of four types of trees: Birch-red, Aspen-white, White Spruce, and Black Spruce-green.

3. Black and White Spruce trees are very similar. Notice their distinctive tips (White Spruce - pointy tips, Black Spruce -rounded tips)

4. Birch and Aspen have a white coating. Both grow different colored buds in the spring, which can be seen from a distance.

5. Willow, a kind of bush with auburn colored stems is found near ponds.

6. Poplar trees are often located in the lower, wet areas.

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