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Member Stories

Jesse Bjorkman: The Outdoor Education Teacher

Nikiski Middle High School
Published: March 2024

Assisted by Dylan Hooper

Jesse Bjorkman knows to never waste food or a good learning opportunity; that’s how he discovered another great use for moose meat — as a teaching aide.

Bjorkman Spotlight

Teachers Jesse and Dylan Hooper both taught an outdoor education class at Nikiski Middle School, which has turned many unusual settings into classrooms, including a garage prepped for butchering a moose harvested days earlier.

On this particular day, students learned some anatomy, some safe knife handling skills and various local and indigenous uses for the meat and other parts of the moose.
In the class, students learn survival skills for the outdoors like orienteering and keeping game meat cool, clean, and dry. Also students learn other survival skills for life, like being a part of a team, building relationships, and the importance of practicing ethics.

Most of the time, he’s teaching history, but even then, the subject matter is only part of it.
“The best way that I feel I can prepare my students for being adult members of our community is by instilling, encouraging and reinforcing Alaskan values,” Jesse says.

“It is my goal to make sure that students know how to be good people and responsible Alaskans. Students must understand the importance of being trustworthy, truthful, and on-time. Students need to know the importance of having a good work ethic and the rewards that hard work and perseverance bring. As an educator, I feel responsible to prepare my students with the right skills to meet real world challenges.”

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