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"The Sparrow Song" learning from the past for the present to save the future

Posted: May 6, 2013 - 10:14am  |  Updated: May 8, 2013 - 12:51pm

As the Kenaitze Indian Tribe held their traditional Net Opening Ceremony Wednesday, May 1st, Haley Trefon a tribe member and Skyview High School student implemented her Caring for the Kenai idea with her “Sparrow Song Concert.” Her idea was to showcase how everything in our environment is connected, “I got my idea from an old native story that was told by Peter Kalifornsky about the song of the sparrow and that the return of the salmon run begins with the Sparrow’s song. It interested me and I wanted to find out if it was true or not, so I researched the migration patterns of the golden crown sparrow and found it was true. The Sparrow Song Concert was to show the community and have them learn of and start to listen for the sparrow song. I felt like the Kenaitze Net Opening Ceremony would be an appropriate setting for the concert seeing it was the official beginning of our fishing season. We had other local musicians like Bunny Swan, Dan Pascucci and some other Skyview students entertain at the concert held at the Kenaitze Indian Tribe educational fishery site and followed the opening of the net and pot luck,” Trefon explained in an interview.

Tribal elder and director of tribal government affairs Sasha Lingdgren told the Dispatch, “This is why we have youth programs, so that they can become creative and grow into leadership roles like Haley has done with her Sparrow Song Concert and Caring for the Kenai project, we are very proud of her,” she said. Retired biologist and president of the Keen-Eye birders club said he was excited when Haley contacted him to learn more about the song of the golden crown sparrow and he said he plans to invite her to come to the Kenai Peninsula Birding Festival to share the ancient story with participants and encourage them to learn the song, “We love her program and we’re looking forward to working with Haley and collecting data on the dates and location the song of the golden crown is heard on the Peninsula and documenting that with the return of the salmon for comparison,” said Tarbox. The song of the golden crown sparrow can be heard and downloaded by going to www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Golden-crown_Sparrow/sounds The Kenai Peninsula Birding Festival will take place May 16th -19th, “For the first time ever in Alaska I believe we are planning a 24 hour Midnight Sun Big Sit from 6:00am Saturday to 6:00am Sunday at the Kenai Birding Platform off Bridge Access Rd. with the idea being to document and count as many different species during that 24 hour period. It should be a lot of fun and all ages and abilities are welcome to come out and participate at whatever time slot you’d like,” said Tarbox. For a complete listing of Bird Festival events and activities log on to www.kenaibirdfest.com.

“Watch. Listen. Know your ecosystem…in Kenai the salmon run begins with the Sparrow’s Song,” says Haley Trefon.

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