A Grizzly encounter

Posted: Tuesday, July 05, 2005


  Biologist Damon Bowen turned entertainer presents his unique show at Kenai Landing nightly.

Biologist Damon Bowen turned entertainer presents his unique show at Kenai Landing nightly.

Damon Bowen is an atypical bird and bee's biologist and witty entertainer. An hour at his Alaskan Frontier show offers comical insights about beetles, ants and other biological wonders that will change how the summer visitor and Alaskan view the great land. It is a "fast-paced and humorous overview" of Alaskan wildlife from the "cellular to the largest mammals." Bowen has been employed as a state and federal field-research biologist, doing work in remote areas of the United States. He has survived a canoe tip over in the Arctic Circle, losing food, supplies and suffering hypothermia days away from the nearest village, wilderness bear encounters, and temperatures exceeding 130 degrees in backcountry areas of the Grand Canyon while collecting field data.

Why would a state and federal field research biologist become an informative and amusing entertainer? Bowen's answer; "I've gotten to the point in my research field that I've been promoted out of the field and I end up sitting behind the desk as a bureaucrat pushing papers." He calls himself a generalist that's "picked up these neat little tidbits of information that you're not likely to read in National Geographic and probably not going to see on the Discovery Channel and I thought Wow!" He then decided to get into the educational and entertainment aspect of informing the public about all this "neat stuff."

He interlaces "tidbits" of facts with humor as he describes the arctic beetle whose patented blood "keeps ice cream creamier when it freezes and keeps it from crystallizing." It's not in ice cream yet, but it is a possibility. He describes the formic acid bearing ant that makes vinaigrette for salad. Sound appetizing? According to Damon, "I've tried it; it's very mild and certainly not disagreeable whatsoever." See the show and he'll explain how it's done.

His live narrated slide show includes a brief history of Alaska, evidence of a bird that can fly 250 miles an hour and an introduction to ice worms. Believe it or not there is a type of ice that can be set on fire, he will explain why. His delivery of trivia resembles that of the character Cliff Clavin from Cheers; such as "the Beluga whale is the only animal in the world with an esophagus shaped in such a manner that if it could speak English it could not say lasagna."

Damon Bowen's Alaskan Frontier show can be seen throughout the summer, every night 5:00 and 7:00 pm at the Kenai Landing Theater. Tickets are $10.00 for adults, half price for those under eighteen and available at the front desk or Sockeye's Restaurant. For more information call 335-2500.

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