Video: The Importance of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Candice Gaukel Andrews April 2, 2015 15
Arctic fox

Today, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge faces daunting challenges, from oil drilling to rapid climate change. Arctic foxes, such as this one, are being forced to deal with increased competition from red foxes that are moving farther north due to warming temperatures. ©Mike Bruscia

Almost 10 years ago, in the summer of 2005, I attended an outdoor-writing conference that included a silent auction as part of its activities. I had never participated in such an event before, had absolutely no experience in bidding and assumed I wouldn’t be interested in any of the items—much less in guessing what value I should put on any of them.

With some time to spare before my next scheduled session, I decided to wander among the many tables that were covered with various pieces of outdoor clothing, binoculars, fishing gear, and canoeing and kayaking supplies. A book happened to catch my eye; it was titled Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land, a Photographic Journey, written by Subhankar Banerjee.

The refuge provides habitat for Arctic hares. ©Eric Rock

I had never heard of the 19-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before, but as a fan of cold and remote places, I picked the book up and thumbed through its glossy pages. The images of faraway glaciers, unnamed lakes, neon northern lights and shaggy caribou transported me, for the moment, away from the numerous white tablecloths and plentiful people milling about the room. The place I was seeing on the flat pages seemed more real, briefly, than the three-dimensional spot I was standing in.

Even though I knew that it was highly unlikely that I would ever see in person this remote and inaccessible region, I bid on that book that day. And ever since, it’s been important to me to know that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is and always will still be there.

If, like me, you have a place that strikes a chord in your heart—even though you may never see it—watch the two short videos below. The first, from the Alaska Wilderness League, will familiarize you with the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In the second, President Obama explains why he would like to designate the refuge as a “Wilderness” and reminds us why such places are important.

As for my bid? A week after the conference ended, I had a new book to add to my library.

Here’s to finding your true places and natural habitats,



  1. Jean Bjerke May 28, 2015 at 9:34 am - Reply

    The Arctic is hauntingly beautiful, a harsh environment but so vulnerable to human activity.

  2. Margherita Bandini April 19, 2015 at 7:38 am - Reply

    Great videos, thank you for sharing. I had no idea it existed…and agree with Mauro Lucherini – definitely a global effort is needed, not only a North American one!

  3. Lana Lawrence April 9, 2015 at 6:42 am - Reply

    ..couldn’t agree more! We should not hurt the earth

  4. Bert Harte April 9, 2015 at 6:29 am - Reply

    Amazing sights. Thanks for sharing. I did the same on my FB right after I saw the video. Mankind has to understand the value of this and all other refuges in order to save our planets wildlife and with that our future as human beings as well.

  5. Neville Burns April 8, 2015 at 6:48 pm - Reply

    Absolutely breath taking. We need these wonderful places to be forever preserved. Climate change is already a huge problem but man’s greed for short term gain as in the case of big oil will always raise its ugly head. We must continue to fight for protection of our natural wild places.

  6. Ray Derstine April 7, 2015 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    Amazingly Wonderful.

  7. Mauro Lucherini April 6, 2015 at 5:25 pm - Reply

    Obviously, I loved the video. And I also enjoyed the wording, except… that the importance of the Arctic NWF goes well beyond the borders of “America”. The entire world should be engaged in protecting it!

  8. Angela P. Schapiro April 6, 2015 at 8:30 am - Reply

    What great shots. The Arctic is definitely on my list of places to go.

  9. Harvey Spears April 6, 2015 at 8:29 am - Reply

    Thank you!

  10. Eusebio Manuel Pecurto April 5, 2015 at 10:43 am - Reply

    humans are part of ecosystems is in the interest of humanity to save the most of biodiversity to prevent unexpected changes

  11. Annemarie Hoogwoud April 5, 2015 at 10:42 am - Reply

    “If we listen to the land, we know what to do”

  12. John Spencer April 4, 2015 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    Awe inspiring, thank you.

  13. Dr. Jagdish Mittal April 4, 2015 at 9:24 am - Reply

    Appreciably presented

  14. Sinnadurai Sripadmanaban April 4, 2015 at 9:23 am - Reply

    Not only climate change but seasonal changes too deprive animals of drinking water. They wander in search of water & go into villages and destroy whatever they come across (humans,animals,homes,crops etc). UN should identify vital areas in each country and instruct governments to protect them by proving technology,advice.

  15. John Daly April 2, 2015 at 10:19 am - Reply


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