Story last updated at 1:31 p.m. Thursday, June 6, 2002

Students seek flying squirrels
At Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School in Douglas, students haven't found any flying squirrels, but their search turned up plenty of lessons in biology and scientific methods. The school spent much of the year preparing for a scientific survey they hoped would set the record straight. Douglas Island has the habitat the elusive squirrels require, but none of the species has ever been spotted.

Teacher Dave Kovach thought up the project after Jeff Nichols, a biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game broached the subject. "He and I talked about how they've never found flying squirrels on Douglas Island, but the habitat is there," Kovach said. "Being a teacher, I thought this was a perfect project for my students ... and it would have cool results if we found flying squirrels; it would have an impact."

Students researched the habitat squirrels needed, which seventh-grader Hillary Buck explained included "an old growth (forest) with shrub coverage and decaying logs." "And snags, sturdy, dead trees," added eighth-grader Gabe Meachum. While baited live traps set up by the Forest Service caught only red squirrels, the students were not deterred. The said they would return in their quest to answer once and for all the question of whether these squirrels have flown this far north. The Juneau Empire