Logo Top Banner
slogan Alaska Timeline Alaska Kids About
Peer Work
Family & Community
History & Culture
Digital Archives
Narrative & Healing
Reading & Writing
Reading Out Loud

Love of Reading

Inspiring Readers

Featured Writers

Creative Contests

Postcard Contest

Creative Writing Contest

Pencils Full of Stars

Letters About Literature

Poetry Out Loud

Pass The Word

Libraries & Booksellers
Teaching & Learning
Contact Us

  Search Litsite Alaska
Find us on Facebook

reading and writing

Home  >  Reading and Writing  >  Creative Contests  >  Creative Writing Contest
21st Annual Creative Writing Contest, 2002  -  Vic Van Ballenberghe - 2002 Editor's Choice
By Gabriel Spitzer « Prev   Page 3 of 3  

Profile of Vic Van Ballenberghe

Anchorage Daily News

Vic Van Ballenberghe is a rare breed. He is a wildlife biologist who sees animals as individuals that make decisions, rather than as parts of a population that act only on instincts and genetic pre-programming.

"Biologists are trained not to anthropomorphize," said Van Ballenberghe, 58. "The truth is that most wildlife biologists usually sit in front of a computer screen most of the day, and if they do get into the field it's often from an airplane."


In his 23 years of researching moose all over Alaska, Van Ballenberghe has had the opportunity to meet a great many moose.

"There's just a different perspective when you're out there nose-to-nose with them and they let you into their world," he said. "I think the people who resist the notion that moose make decisions or operate on anything other than instinct would probably change their minds if they had the chance to observe them as I have."

Van Ballenberghe's story, "Death of a Warrior," explores the life and death of a particular moose, Big Boy. It was Big Boy's unique personality that drew Van Ballenberghe's interest.

Van Ballenberghe said he had to be careful not to make his moose into a man.

"I hope I didn't try to equate them to people. They're entirely different," he said.

But that doesn't mean that moose are all alike, he said.

"Over the years I've gotten to know a lot of them as individuals. They're all amazing in that they all have their own stories. They have enormous variation."

Van Ballenberghe first began researching moose during his graduate work at the University of Minnesota. After a stint on the faculty at South Dakota State, he came to Alaska in 1974 to work for the Department of Fish and Game.

Since then, he has studied moose and wolves near Glennallen, Fairbanks, Anchorage, Cordova and Denali Park, where he met "Big Boy." He also served a term on the Board of Game in the mid-1980s. Van Ballenberghe retired on Jan. 1, 2000, but continues to do research on the moose in Denali through an affiliate appointment at University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Since his retirement, Van Ballenberghe has devoted more time to photography and writing. He has written many articles for scientific journals over the years, and has also written a number of popular pieces.

"I've always had an interest in trying to relate some of the scientific, technical things to the general public," he said. "Science writing is really a chore...Popular writing is a lot more fun."

About the Author: Gabriel Spitzer is a staff writer at Anchorage Daily News.
Pages:  1  2  3 

  Contact Us       LitSite Alaska, Copyright © 2000 - 2021. All rights reserved. UAA / University of Alaska Anchorage.
University of Alaska Anchorage