Teaching children to stay alive when they become lost outdoors


Contact: Kathy Kurtenbach, Marketing Coordinator, Alaska Sea Grant, 907-474-7476, k.kurtenbach@uaf.edu
NR: SG-2007/NR255

Fairbanks, Alaska—The headline-making rescue last week of 12-year-old Boy Scout Michael Auberry in the North Carolina woods, and his awareness of basic outdoor survival principles, point out the value of preparing children to survive being lost in the wild.

Auberry credited his survival to Gary Paulsen's award-winning novel Hatchet, in which a 13-year-old boy survives a harrowing ordeal when a bush plane he was in crashes in the Canadian wilderness.

But novels will get you just so far when it comes to mastering wilderness survival skills. The Alaska Sea Grant College Program offers several publications and a video compiled by survival experts that are sure to be useful for teachers, survival trainers, scout leaders, parents, village safety officers, children and others.

These and other outdoor and marine safety materials are described on the Alaska Sea Grant web site in the Safety & Survival section of the online bookstore, or call 1-800-789-0090 for a free catalog.

Outdoor safety materials include:

1. Surviving on the Foods and Water from Alaska's Southern Shores

This illustrated booklet, updated this month, describes how to make outdoor water sources safe to drink, and how to find and prepare intertidal sea animals, bird eggs, land plants, and seaweeds for eating in outdoor survival situations. Includes color pictures to help distinguish edible plants and animals from poisonous ones.

2. Outdoor Survival Series for New Readers

These three booklets on outdoor safety and survival are written at the fourth-grade reading level. Published with the Literacy Council of Alaska.

3. Outdoor Survival Training Curriculum

Geared to grades 5–7 and useful through the high school level, these two beautifully illustrated publications, a teacher guide and a student workbook, provide instructors with a concise program for teaching kids the skills they need to survive in outdoor emergency situations. Instructors who buy the instructor manual will be supplied with up to 25 student workbooks, free of charge.

4. Surviving Outdoor Adventures

This comprehensive four-volume, ring-bound-binder set provides all the materials needed to teach kids at grade levels K–12 good habits in outdoor safety. The materials can be used to teach anything from one lesson to a yearlong program. The units cover Preparation for Outdoor Activities, Personal Flotation Devices, Cold Water Survival Skills, Ice Safety, and Lost or Stranded. Published with the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association.

5. It Could Have Been Prevented

This dramatic video about small-boat safety on rivers in rural Alaska, produced in partnership with Alaska Native leaders, touches on issues such as alcohol use, weather, and personal flotation devices. The fictional story about a family traveling upriver to a fish camp illustrates how the tragedy befalling the boaters could have been prevented. Produced with the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association.

6. Family Boating: Preparing for The Emergency

This illustrated fact sheet provides details that family boaters should be aware of in preparing for emergencies, especially in the cold waters of Alaska.

7. Water Wise: Safety for the Recreational Boater

This all-in-one boating safety book is geared to operators of large and small recreational boats, in all waterways nationwide. Chapters cover safe practices, weather, personal flotation devices and survival rafts, signals, survival, first aid, fire fighting, and more. It is well illustrated with line drawings and photographs. Published by Alaska Sea Grant and the U.S. Marine Safety Association.

For more information about Alaska Sea Grant publications and videos, visit our online bookstore or call Kathy Kurtenbach at 907-474-7476.