Buckeye Beat: Balto and the Iditarod

THE IDITAROD IS AN ANNUAL LONG-DISTANCE SLED DOG RACE THAT TAKES PLACE IN ALASKA. IDITAROD IS PART OF A NATIVE WORD THAT MEANS “FAR AWAY PLACE” – AND THAT’S QUITE APPROPRIATE AS THE DOG AND HUMAN TEAMS COVER 1000 MILES IN 9–15 DAYS… SOMETIMES MORE.
IDITAROD OFFICALS CALL THE ROUTE THE ROUGHEST, MOST BEAUTIFUL TERRAIN MOTHER NATURE HAS TO OFFER. “TERRAIN” REFERS TO A STRETCH OF LAND, AND ITS FEATURES.
BUT, AT TIMES, THE TERRAIN CAN ALSO BE FLAT AND BORING ACCORDING TO THE DOG SLED RIDERS – REFERED TO AS MUSHERS. SO MUCH SO, THAT ONE MUSHER FELL ASLEEP – AND OFF HIS SLED!
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BUT HIS SMART DOGS DIDN’T MISS A BEAT! THEY MADE IT TO THE NEXT CHECKPOINT WITHOUT THEIR MUSHER, WHO MANAGED TO HITCH A RIDE BACK ON ANOTHER SLED.
THE LONG IDITAROD JOURNEY IS INSPIRED BY A BRAVE TEAM OF SLED DOGS – AND ONE DOG IN PARTICULAR HAS A SPECIAL CONNECTION TO CLEVELAND. WE TELL YOU THE STORY OF THE COURAGIOUS CANINE IN THIS WEEK’S BUCKEYE BEAT.
BALTO THE SLED DOG BECAME AN INTERNATIONAL HERO 92 YEARS AGO THIS MONTH... AS THE LEAD ON A TEAM OF SLED DOGS DELIVERING LIFE-SAVING SERUM TO NOME, ALASKA DURING A DISEASE OUTBREAK. THEY BRAVED A 674-MILE TRAIL IN A BLIZZARD -- AND REACHED THE RESIDENTS IN JUST FIVE AND A HALF DAYS. THAT JOURNEY INSPIRED THE CURRENT-DAY IDITAROD SLED DOG RACE. BALTO AND HIS COMPANIONS HIT HARD TIMES AFTER THEIR MOMENT IN THE SPOTLIGHT -- EVENTUALLY BEING CHAINED UP IN A LOS ANGELES MUSEUM. BUT THEN BUSINESSMAN GEORGE KIMBLE AND HIS FELLOW CLEVELANDERS STEPPED IN AND RAISED ENOUGH MONEY -- $2,000 -- TO PURCHASE BALTO AND SIX COMPANIONS. THEY WERE BROUGHT TO CLEVELAND AND GIVEN A HERO'S WELCOME IN 1927... AND LIVED OUT THEIR FINAL DAYS AT THE BROOKSIDE ZOO. AFTER BALTO'S DEATH IN 1933 AT THE AGE OF 14, HIS BODY WAS MOUNTED AND EXHIBITED ON PERMANENT DISPLAY AT THE CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY. NOW, HE'S RETURNING TO HIS HOME STATE OF ALASKA AS PART OF AN EXHIBIT AT THE ANCHORAGE MUSEUM THAT EXPLORES THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ALASKA AND RUSSIA -- BUT BALTO WILL RETURN TO CLEVELAND, IN JULY.


Instructional Links

 

Buckeye Beat

Website Article: Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Balto, the Hero Dog of Nome, Alaska

Website Article: Anchorage Museum, Polar Bear Garden

Images of exhibit & info on Balto.

 

Iditarod Race

Website: Iditarod.com, Official Race Site

Interactive website: PBS, Nature, Sled Dogs, an Alaskan Epic, Dogsledding 101

Website: Iditarod.edu

Includes race & classroom resources, lessons, videos.

Classroom Resources: National Education Association, Iditarod Resources for Grades K-5

Links to lessons & activities

Website Article: Enchanted Learning, The Iditarod Dog Sled Race

Information on the race and classroom resources

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