March 28, 1998 in Idaho

UI’s Field Campus Extols Natural Learning

Susan Saxton D'Aoust Correspondent
 

Edie and Ken Kinucan emerge from winter with a bang. Once crocuses bloom and migrating tundra swans whoop overhead, they prepare for upwards of 2,000 visitors to the University of Idaho Clark Fork Field Campus where they have lived as on-site administrators for 11 years.

Under the auspices of the College of Forest, Wildlife and Range Sciences, the 10-acre campus offers a variety of learning experiences for locals and tourists.

Opening the season’s educational program earlier this month, horticulturalist Terry Finnerty taught basic principles of home landscape design. Last weekend, professor and poet Ron McFarland taught a program on “Transforming experience into story.” On April 13, Jack Siple, a resident of Clark Fork and fisheries biologist with the Kootenai Indian Tribe, will speak on the endangered Kootenai River white sturgeon.

Fifteen classes, attended by upwards of 450 people, are offered throughout the summer.

On Oct. 17, in the final class of the 1998 season, Horace Axtell, elder and spiritual leader of the Nez Perce Tribe, will lecture on tribal history and spiritual beliefs.

One doesn’t need to take a class, however, in order to enjoy the educational and outdoor opportunities of the field campus.

A variety of groups and schools arrange retreats at the campus and families also are welcome. “Our family reunions are always successful,” Edie Kinucan said.

With accommodations that sleep as many as fifty people, the campus provides an ideal location for group getaways. A dormitory building offers a fully equipped commercial kitchen with accompanying dining room. Residents can cook their own meals, or, given advance notice, the Kinucans will arrange catering.

Besides bunk beds in two dormitories, two separate cottages, also with kitchen facilities, are available. Tamarack Cottage sleeps six in three bedrooms and Red Fir Cottage sleeps four in two bedrooms. The cottages, which can be rented individually, occasionally are used to accommodate UI students and staff from Moscow.

Nature trails, two volleyball courts, two horseshoe pits, a fire pit and a story ring, Antelope Lake within hiking distance and remains of old mining operations to explore are only a few of the activities and sights available.

Occasionally a moose wanders through the grounds, as do the local white-tailed deer. Cougar tracks are often visible but the animal, being nocturnal, is rarely seen. Bear sign also is present.

For those who do not have the opportunity to see animals in the wild, one of the treasures on the Clark Fork campus is a natural history museum. Featuring wildlife sensitively prepared by Ken Kinucan, who includes taxidermy among his many talents, the museum is a favorite of local artists, residents, and school children. Another of his passions is astronomy. After dark, particularly on a clear black night, the curious stargazer may be able to entice him to set up his telescope and identify stars, constellations and planets.

And Edie Kinucan, with a masters degree in ecology and a delightful book, “Wild Wildflowers of the West,” included in her areas of expertise, is a fount of wisdom about local plant life.

“We get great pleasure from watching people learn to appreciate their natural surroundings and expand their understanding of the environment,” she said. Despite dawn-to-dusk commitments, she always manages a smile and cheery welcome to visitors.

Situated in the mouth of a canyon, with carefully tended grounds and spectacular views of local mountains, accommodations at the field campus are ideal for a base camp from which to tackle the steep trail up Scotchman’s Peak, North Idaho’s highest mountain. Fishing in Clark Fork River, canoeing in Johnson Creek or exploring the wilderness trails in the Green Monarch Mountains and the backcountry behind Clark Fork are other nearby areas for visitors to enjoy.

“What we have here is a good representation of what the University of Idaho has to offer to the people of the state,” Ken Kinucan said.

, DataTimes MEMO: Susan Saxton D’Aoust is a freelance writer and author who lives in Clark Fork. Panhandle Pieces appears every Saturday. The column is shared among several North Idaho writers.

This sidebar appeared with the story: MORE INFORMATION Information on University of Idaho Clark Fork Field Campus facilities, classes, rates, etc., can be obtained by calling 208-266-1452. Or check the Web site: http://www.uidaho.edu/cfwr/extended/ clark/html

Susan Saxton D’Aoust is a freelance writer and author who lives in Clark Fork. Panhandle Pieces appears every Saturday. The column is shared among several North Idaho writers.

This sidebar appeared with the story: MORE INFORMATION Information on University of Idaho Clark Fork Field Campus facilities, classes, rates, etc., can be obtained by calling 208-266-1452. Or check the Web site: http://www.uidaho.edu/cfwr/extended/ clark/html


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