UAF grad student uses life-size seal as teaching tool

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Bracing sub-zero temperatures, ice, and snow to study seals in Antarctica seems like quite the daunting task for most people.
But U-A-F grad student, Roxanne Beltran took it even further.
Beltran first visited Antarctica in 2014 to begin her field work.
While visiting here in interior Alaska, Beltran wanted to teach children about her travels to the Antarctic, and did so by creating a stuffed seal named Patches.
The stuffed nine-foot-long seal accompanied her to various schools across Alaska, with each student signing a fabric patch that would be sown onto the seal.
And there was one request from a Ticasuk Brown Elementary School student that Beltran couldn't refuse.
Roxanne Beltran; UAF Grad Student>>: "I brought Patches around to the classrooms and I would talk to the kids about Antarctic research. One of the second grade students asked me, after one of those class presentation, came up to me and asked, if I would write a book about Patches the seal so that she could read it every night before bed and I that was a great idea so I wrote the book along with my fiancé Patrick Robinson. It's 48 pages in color, it's geared toward second and third graders and it's essentially about a seal named Patches whose a real seal that we studied year after year in the Antarctic and tried to find her every year and so it's sort of a tale about the different challenges and the excitement of field work and flying in a helicopter over the ice and hopefully it gives kids a sense for what it's like to be a field biologist and to be able to work in Antarctica."
Patches the stuffed seal is now in California with her owner.
Beltran is done with her field work, and plans on working towards new publications about seals.