P.O. Box 19
Nelson Lagoon, Alaska 99571
December 10, 2001

Dear Students,

Hello, everyone. My name is Rebecca Concilus. My husband and I are the teachers here at Nelson Lagoon School in Alaska. My students and I were all very happy to participate in this exchange with your school.

My students and I have put together a package that hopefully tells you a little bit about Alaska and where we live. I wish there was a way to send you some snow. Right now, it is cold, windy and snowy here in Nelson Lagoon. Of course, it doesn't get as cold and we don't get as much snow as other parts of Alaska, but it does get very windy here. The wind can get up to 100 miles per hour sometimes.

Nelson Lagoon is a small village in the Alaska Peninsula with a population of about 80 people. Most of the people in our village belong to a group of Native Americans called Aleuts. They do no longer speak the Aleut language, or eat the traditional Aleut foods very much here, which is sad. People in the village do eat moose and caribou, which they hunt. The main industry here is fishing for salmon and almost every family has a fishing boat.

We have to order all our food and supplies from somewhere else. We don have a store in the village, but it usually doesn't have very much to sell because of the sea ice and bad weather. So, people usually order most of their groceries and supplies for the year in the summer. We can also get supplies and mail brought in by small airplane about twice a week, but this is very expensive. The scheduled plane gets cancelled regularly because of bad weather.

To get anywhere from Nelson Lagoon, we have to fly in small airplanes. These are single engine, four or six seat planes. Anchorage, which is the closest city, is about 700 miles away. To get there, we have to fly 100 miles to Cold Bay, the nearest town. From there, we take a slightly bigger, 10-seat propeller plane for 2 1/2 hours into Anchorage.

We see many kinds of whales from the beach here usually starting in April or May and they stay until the end of September. Most are grey whales that go past us on their way north, but some hang around here.

I have labeled the bags and your school may keep most of the items that we have sent. We also sent some candy for your. We don't have any Alaskan candy, but we hope you enjoy them anyway.

We are looking forward to learning about your town and your school. If any of your students would like to correspond by email or letters, let us know. You can also visit our website on the Internet to learn more about us. We have a webcam in our classroom that will show you a live view of our classroom.

Rebecca Concilus

P.S. You can read this letter in Spanish, too.