Craig Elementary School

Our goal is to study a section of our beach and record human impact on the beach animals and environment during sea week activities. Craig's 3rd grade class decided that it was important to help educate the students, new teachers, and remind experienced teachers on how to "Save our Beaches" when taking field trips to the beach. We decided to steak out 4 sections of ballpark beach before other classes covered the area by using rocks patterned in a 6 x 6 square. In the classroom we began coming up with "Beach Rules" that would protect the environment & animals. These rules would help people become aware that we are visitors on the beach and we should respect nature as it is and try not to disturb the beauty that we are in charge of. The rules were put on poster board and decorated with local sea life art. The groups went to each class in the elementary to give a presentation on how to keep our beaches safe from human impact. We have also posted some photos of Japanese Tsunami debris in our Craig, Alaska Photo Gallery.

Craig, Alaska, USA

What beach are you studying?
Ballpark Beach

Nearest port city
Ketchikan, AK

Body of Water
Pacific Ocean

Type of Water
Salt Water

Number of months people enjoy the beach
year-round but mainly during the summer

Busiest Months

Our beach is very rocky with a few small patches of sand here and there. We have some sedimentary, metamorphic, & igneous rocks. (slate, shale, sandstone, some basalt, granite) Some of the stones are very smooth because of tidal erosion. They are polished because they have been on the beach for a very long time. We also have fossil rocks containing bivalves, coral or sponges. Some of the shale is slanted up because of the tectonic plate movement.

Typical Visitors
Mainly locals and family visitors from down south (lower 48 states). We do have scientists from the Forest Service that check our beaches.

Activities Enjoyed at the Beach
hiking, beach combing, sport fishing, baseball, playgrounds, kayaking, boating, canoeing, sailing, camping.

Fish caught at and around your beach
Sport and commercial fishermen catch: King Salmon, Burbot, Herring, Halibut, Ling Cod, Snapper (yellow eyes), Salmon: sockeye, coho, pink, chum. We have many charter fishermen who take fishermen out to fish. They are becoming very regulated and can catch less fish each year here in SE Alaska.

Shark Worries?
None. But our water is so cold that we don't normally swim in the ocean. Every once in a while it will get warm enough to play in the water for a few minutes or at least wade in it.

Other Dangers and Warnings
We are very rural and only have Coast Guard buoys where needed. There are no other signs warning of dangers around our beaches. People learn from other locals about the best places to do beach combing or wading. We stay away from places that have "Devils Club" plants. They can cause a severe burning if they touch your skin. We also watch out for the "red tides". These red tides are times that people do not collect clams or shell fish to eat because you can become poisoned.

Local Environment around the Beach
Our town is very rural and on an island surrounded by the Pacific Ocean & other bays or channels. We only have about 3 miles of town. The rest of our area is wilderness. The evergreen trees go right down to the beach.

Land Wildlife
Land Otters, Sitka Black-tail Deer, Black Bear, Wolves, Beaver

Bald Eagles, Sea Gulls, Blue Heron, Canada Goose, Loon, Plovers, Puffin, Raven, Sparrow, Woodpeckers, Crested Blue Jays

Shells or Aquatic Wildlife
Scallops, Shrimp, Tanner Crab, Razor Clam, Dungeness Crab, Snails, all kinds of starfish, Moon Snails, Anemone, Hermit Crab, Barnacle, Nuttall's Cockle, Mussel, False Jingle, Scallop, Chiton, Decorator Crab, Kelp Crab, Prickleback, Sculpin, Isopod, cross jelly, Lion's Mane Jelly, Moon Jelly, Limpet, Nudibranch, Sea Cucumber, Brittle Star, Sea Urchin, Whelk, Sponge, Tubeworm,

Pollution and Solutions
Our beaches have old ruined fishing nets from bigger fishing boats and human trash on them. Much of the trash is brought in by tides. The trash from Japan's Tsunami is just showing up on our beaches now. We have seen a 40 pound buoy, fishing nets, glass fishing buoy balls, Japanese plastic bottles & wooden boards, and a whole fishing boat (located down by Victoria, Canada). The students have an Earth Day clean up to pick up trash on our beaches and around town every year. There is also a lady who asks for volunteers to go out on her boat to clean trash on other island beaches. They categorize it and weigh it, then send their results to the state authorities.

What Else?
We have Popweed/rockweed and sea sac on our beaches. When you step on it, it will POP! We also have sea lettuce that really looks like lettuce at the grocery store. We can watch humpback whales, killer whales, sea lions, seals and much more from our beaches.
For more pictures and information on our Beach Clean up crews please download pdf or go to the Marine Conservation Alliance Foundation; marine debris; Craig Project: