Donlin Gold Supports Kuskokwim Native Association Interns

Donlin Gold is invested in the education and future employment of the YK region’s youth. To further this commitment and support the continued education of YK students, Donlin Gold assists in funding an internship program offered through the Kuskokwim Native Association (KNA) Fisheries Department.

KNA’s college internship program began in 2004, offering three internships each summer and providing different scholarship and skill building opportunities.
Since it began in 2004, 34 students have participated in KNA’s College Internship Program. While only three college internships have been offered each year in the past, this year five internship opportunities were available due to generous contributions from the CIRI Foundation, the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP) and Donlin Gold.

This summer’s group of hardworking college interns consisted of Amanda Hoeldt (a second year intern), Brad Gusty (a third year intern), Ben Hoeldt, Megan Leary and Jarome Williams.
The interns’ work took place at the George River Weir, Tatlawiksuk River Wier and Salmon River Weir, with additional work located on the Kuskokwim River. Interns worked on a variety of projects including designing and building community fishing wheels, installing weirs, tagging Bering cisco fish, surveying land and assisting in planning a high school internship program.

Additional projects included working at the Bering Cisco Radio Telemetry and the Chinook Mark-Recapture Project. Work at the Bering Cisco Radio Telemetry included using Kalskag fish wheels and beach seining at Kalskag camp for Bering Cisco tagging, while work on the Chinook Mark Recapture project involved radio tagging and live releasing over 300 Chinook salmon.

Interns also had the opportunity to visit the Bethel Test Fishery and be educated on the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s (ADF&G’s) in-season migration tools, observe operations, speak with managers at the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge and attend a Salmon Management Working Group meeting.

Through these projects and opportunities, interns were able to experience different challenges, develop critical thinking skills and prepare for future careers in fisheries or biology. Many of the interns plan to participate in the College Internship Program again next summer and/or plan on working in similar fields in the industry.

Intern Ben Hoeldt is just one of the interns that had a positive and educational experience during his internship. Ben’s involvement during his internship included working on the George, Tatlawiksuk and Salmon River Weirs. Additionally, Ben assisted in resupply, weir instillation and mapping.

“During my internship I learned how to collect scales from salmon, install and maintain both floating and fixed weirs, determine number, sex and species of salmon, as well as repair a dry suit,” said Ben. “In the future I hope to receive a job helping with conservation of the Alaska salmon fisheries in the YK region.”

Donlin Gold is invested in the Yukon Kuskokwim region with a strong commitment to local hire.  Through providing the YK region’s youth with scholarships and internships to continue their education, Donlin Gold increases the likelihood of youth returning for employment in the region.

“With Donlin Gold’s support of KNA’s College Internship Program, the goal of having local biologists involved in the management of our natural resources grows closer every year, “ said the Director of Fisheries for the Kuskokwim Native Association, Don Gillikin.

Donlin Gold is happy to be able to aide in providing internship opportunities, and we give our appreciation and thanks to the additional supporting sponsors. We are committed to supporting education opportunities for YK region youth and preparing them for future employment.

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