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We have launched on the pipeline hike version 2.0, 20 years after the first time. I’m now sitting on the muscled root of a Sitka spruce by the pleasant rush of a creek. A bald eagle shrieks from the top of a tree nearby while a diesel ship engine thrums from the Valdez Marine Terminal a few miles away.

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Twenty years ago, I was 34 when I walked away from a chain-link fence near Port Valdez and headed east. Those were the first steps on a summer-long trip across Alaska. In a few days, I will begin to retrace those steps.

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In the early going of my second hike across Alaska along the route of the trans-Alaska pipeline, I chose to walk the highway rather than the pipe’s route to get up Thompson Pass north of Valdez. The road added six miles to our day. But I tried the pipe route up the pass 20 years ago and it was like trying to climb a 90-meter ski jump.

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Changing food sources, shrinking ice, increasing diseases and invading southern species are taking their toll on Arctic marine animals. A new report from the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna, the Arctic Council’s biodiversity working group, suggests ways to monitor such changes across the Arctic. The 60 international experts in CAFF’s Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Network included Russ Hopcroft, Katrin Iken and Eric Collins from the University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.

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Are you tired of playing the same “I spy” game with your family as you drive to the Chitina River for fishing or to the Alaska Range for a weekend getaway? Spice up the road trip with new points of interest from the geoscience students and teachers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

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In one year, sea stars have almost disappeared from Kachemak Bay, Alaska. This is likely the aftermath of a sea star wasting disease episode. The disease causes lesions, and may result in the loss of arms, making a sea star look as if it is melting or decomposing. Similar episodes have been spreading across the southern coast of Alaska and as far south as Baja California.

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University of Alaska Fairbanks student Kate Tallman spent this semester working to excavate some of the university’s history for a centennial exhibit now on display at the Rasmuson Library. These pop-up displays at locations across campus highlight specific topics relating to the stories of Alaska’s residents.

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