Author(s): Emma Stevens
Nesting on the Nushagak is the second book in a trilogy of memoirs by Emma Stevens recounting her adventures in life and love in the Alaskan wilderness. The first book in the trilogy is Walking on Ice. The trilogy concludes with Dancing on the Tundra. 'Caribou!' Our skiff rounded the next bend of the Nushagak. Hundreds of caribou were jumping into the river ahead of us and swimming powerfully across to the other side. 'A migration!' Our boat powered into the middle, splitting the herd. Reaching the water's edge, they bounded with huge leaps from the water, breaking up as they tried to get away. Having recently married the man she met online, Emma Stevens, a Kiwi, follows her American husband, Gary, to a teaching post in a remote Yup'ik Eskimo village in southwestern Alaska. In this harsh climate she joins the local people in their subsistence way of life, gathering and storing food during the extended summer daylight hours in preparation for the grim realities of the bitter cold, semi-darkness and isolation of the long Alaskan winters.
Inspired by renowned New Zealand educator, Sylvia Ashton-Warner, and using valuable knowledge from the Yup'ik elders, Emma creatively establishes connections between learning and local culture, drawing her first grade children out of their instilled mode of silence 'not to scare the game away'. Written with humour in the face of unexpected and at times life-threatening situations, Nesting on the Nushagak, the sequel to the popular Walking on Ice, transports the reader deep into the heart of the Alaskan wilderness and the people who live there.
Emma Stevens was born in Christchurch and raised in Whanganui. A graduate of Christchurch Teachers' College, Emma holds a MEd from Victoria University. 3 Much of her teaching career has been spent working with indigenous students in NZ, Australia and Alaska. She was voted Sydney's Child Teacher of the Year in 1994 while teaching at an alternative school in Sydney, Australia. Her way of life changed completely when, divorced and in her late forties, she met online, the principal of an Inupiaq school in the Arctic Circle, Alaska. The couple married, and Emma spent the next six years working beside her new husband in the icy wilderness of bush Alaska. Emma and her husband now live among orchards and vineyards just outside Nelson, in the South Island of New Zealand, where the winters are mild and the summers are long.