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Wild Alaska: Up Close and Personal With Untamed Wildlife

Central Michigan Life Photo Editor Kaiti Chritz had the opportunity to work for the National Park Service in Alaska as an Ocean Alaska Science and Learning Center media intern this summer. The biology and photojournalism student’s main assignment was to fly to Katmai National Park to make short documentary films about the research scientists who were studying coastal brown bears.

“When you’re lying on the Alaskan tundra nose to nose with a wild (tranquilized) brown bear, your view on the typical work day starts to change,” Chritz said. “Having the opportunity to take photos and videos in the home of worlds largest protected population of brown bears feels surreal to this day, and I’m sure it always will. Other assignments took me into Kenai Fjords National Park, where I experienced breaching humpback whales, black bears and calving glaciers. I’ve been able to see so many incredible things through the lens of my camera this summer, but the most exciting part of this adventure is being able to share the stories of this land, the creatures who call it home, and the people who dedicate their life to learning about and protecting it. It was truly a dream come true.”