The family of Candice Berner, a 32-year-old educator who was killed by wolves while jogging along outside Chignik Lake in Southwest Alaska, recently visited the area and scattered her ashes on a mountain where she liked to hike. The Tundra Drums reports that Berner's mother, father and stepmother got a warm, appreciative welcome from Berner's associates in the Lake and Peninsula School District.
Diana Berner [Candice's mother] said she was struck by the friendliness of the people, including a woman who made a white cross and placed it at the site where the attack occurred.
"We could never figure out why Candice chose Alaska, but after a week here, we know why," she said. "Candice understood the dangers of the Bush. I feel this had to happen for a reason, to warn other people."
Candice's father also was struck by the beauty of the region where his daughter died.
"It was a therapeutically helpful and meaningful week, and the school district was very, very gracious," [Bob Berner] said. "We talked to several parents of children Candice taught at Chignik Lake and Perryville. They are still, like all of us, in the process of grieving."
This month, state wildlife biologist Lem Butler, who investigated the wolf attack, met with the school district's new teaching staff and stressed precautions to be taken around bears and wolves.