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Take a course in Alaska's wildest classrooms!

Field Courses

Alaska Geographic offers high quality learning experiences. Popular multi-day field courses immerse participants in intensive wilderness-based experiences led by experts in fields ranging from wildflowers and wolves to mosses, mammals, and more. These are active learning vacations. Participants must be in good physical condition and ready for some of the challenges of exploring Alaska. Hiking distances and physical fitness levels are described in greater detail for each course. These courses are accredited through the University of Alaska.

The following field courses are planned for 2021.  More information coming soon.  Registration opens March 10th.

Denali's Mosses and Lichens

Denali National Park and Preserve
June 4 – 6
$360 Alaska Geographic member price ($400 non-member price) 

Interior Alaska is truly a land of mosses and lichens. They are draped on trees, nestled together in the tundra, and plastered on rocks. With a combined total of over 1000 species, they are one of the most diverse species groups in Denali National Park and Preserve. Join Denali botanist Sarah Stehn for an introduction to the smallest, yet ever-present members of Alaska’s vegetation. We will spend our time investigating the biology and ecology of these mysterious organisms, striking out across the landscape to explore the many microsites they inhabit, while learning to identify the most common and charismatic species.

moderately strenuous iconHiking will be moderately strenuous over uneven tundra, forest, and river bar terrain, and will include frequent bending and stooping.  Hikes will cover distances of approximately 4 miles round trip with as much as 1,500 feet of elevation gain. We will likely encounter wet tundra / forest conditions and stream crossings with water levels that are above hiking boots. Participants must be in good physical condition.

Like any outdoor activity, there are inherent risks associated with our field courses yet we actively manage our exposures and depend on you to play a role in our risk management. Read more here.

Gear List Reading List

One professional development credit is available for this course through the University of Alaska. You may choose this option when registering for the course.

Please download the following four documents to complete the requirements for the credit.  The syllabus and registration form will be available in early May.

Instructions for Registration Form Journal Assignment

Birds of Wonder Lake (Lodge-based)

Denali National Park and Preserve
June 12 – 15
$1080 
Alaska Geographic Member Price ($1200 non-member price)

Spring is a great pivot point of the year for birds as they endure another epic journey of migration.  Join us for three nights and four days at the beautiful Skyline Lodge in the Kantishna region of Denali.  With long time Denali resident and naturalist Nan Eagleson, we’ll enjoy the arrival of Denali’s first spring migrants who come to rub shoulders with hardy winter residents.  We’ll learn how to identify birds by sight and sound, and explore kettle ponds to search for waterfowl in vibrant full-breeding plumage.  We’ll also discuss avian behavior, habitat selection, food habits and of course migration ecology.

moderately strenuous icon

Hiking will be moderately strenuous, covering distances of approximately 5 miles round trip and including as much as 1,500 feet of elevation gain. We will be hiking off trail on rough, uneven tundra, forest, and river bar terrains and will likely encounter wet tundra / forest conditions and stream crossings with water levels that are above hiking boots.  Participants must be in good physical condition.

Like any outdoor activity, there are inherent risks associated with our field courses yet we actively manage our exposures and depend on you to play a role in our risk management. Read more here.

Two professional development credits are available for this course through the University of Alaska. You may choose this option when registering for the course.

Please download the following four documents to complete the requirements for the credits.  The syllabus and registration form will be available in early May.

Instructions for Registration Form Journal Assignment

Paleontology in Denali

Denali National Park and Preserve
July 9 – 11
$360 Alaska Geographic member price ($400 non-member price) 

It’s been 15 years since the first evidence of dinosaurs was found in Denali National Park. Since then, thousands of tracks and plant fossils have been discovered – and even a few bones – helping to paint a picture of an extinct Cretaceous ecosystem. Join paleontologist Patrick Druckenmiller, Director of the University of Alaska Museum of the North, for an inside look at his current research in Denali to better understand dinosaurs and their environment. In this field-based course, we will learn how to recognize dinosaur tracks and other fossils and test this knowledge by visiting potential new sites. We will also learn some of the paleontological tools-of-the-trade and contribute to real research on Alaskan dinosaurs.

strenuous hiking iconHiking will be strenuous, covering distances of up to 5 miles round trip including as much as 1,500 feet of elevation gain. We will be hiking off trail on steep, rough, uneven, and unstable rocks, tundra, and/or forested terrain and will likely encounter wet tundra / forest conditions and stream crossings with water levels that are above hiking boots.  Participants must be in good physical condition.

Like any outdoor activity, there are inherent risks associated with our field courses yet we actively manage our exposures and depend on you to play a role in our risk management. Read more here.

Gear List

One professional development credit is available for this course through the University of Alaska. You may choose this option when registering for the course.

Please download the following four documents to complete the requirements for the credit.  The syllabus and registration form will be available in early May.

Instructions for Registration Form Journal Assignment

Geology of Denali

Denali National Park and Preserve
July 14 – 16

$360 
Alaska Geographic member price ($400 non-member price)

Denali’s dramatic landscape has been sculpted and scoured by tectonics, glaciers, rivers, and landslides. Join National Park Service geologist Denny Capps for an introduction to Denali’s geology. We will spend our days hiking mountains and valleys learning how geologists study the Earth and interpret the landscape’s story. We’ll learn basic mineral and rock identification, decipher evidence of past glaciations, examine dynamic braided rivers, and visit areas affected by permafrost and landslides.

strenuous hiking iconHiking will be strenuous, covering distances up to several miles round trip and including as much as 1,500 feet of elevation gain. We will be hiking off trail on steep, rough, uneven, and unstable rocks, tundra, and/or forested terrain. Depending on prevailing conditions we may encounter stream crossings with water levels that are above hiking boots.  Participants must be in good physical condition.

Like any outdoor activity, there are inherent risks associated with our field courses yet we actively manage our exposures and depend on you to play a role in our risk management. Read more here.

Gear List Reading List

One professional development credit is available for this course through the University of Alaska. You may choose this option when registering for the course.

Please download the following four documents to complete the requirements for the credit.  The syllabus and registration form will be available in early May.

Instructions for Registration Form Journal Assignment

Wolves of Denali

Denali National Park and Preserve
August 6 – 8
$360
Alaska Geographic member price ($400 non-member price)

Wolves are a potent symbol of wilderness in our society, and Denali is one of the world’s best places for learning about these elusive predators. Join Denali National Park’s wolf biologist Bridget Borg in the field as we explore predator and prey relationships, wolf behavior, social structure, and wildlife management issues facing the National Park Service. Learn the latest in wolf research as we search wildlife corridors for tracks and signs of this fascinating species.

moderately strenuous icon

Hiking will be moderately strenuous over uneven tundra, forest, and river bar terrain, covering distances of approximately 3-5 miles round trip with as much as 1,500 feet of elevation gain.  We will likely encounter wet tundra / forest conditions and stream crossings with water levels that are above hiking boots. Participants must be in good physical condition.

Like any outdoor activity, there are inherent risks associated with our field courses yet we actively manage our exposures and depend on you to play a role in our risk management. Read more here.

Gear List Reading List

One professional development credit is available for this course through the University of Alaska. You may choose this option when registering for the course.

Please download the following four documents to complete the requirements for the credit.  The syllabus and registration form will be available in early May.

Instructions for Registration Form Journal Assignment

Exploring Prince William Sound: Sea Kayaking

Course designed for teachersChugach National Forest
June 7 – 13
$750
 Alaska Geographic member price (
$825 Alaska Geographic non-member price) 

Explore the scenic heart of Prince William Sound by kayak and by foot to encounter glaciers and whales, sea lions and shorebirds. Share new ways to bring the natural world into your classroom. Spend six days camping, kayaking, and discovering with Chugach National Forest Wilderness Manager Tim Lydon. Emphasis will be placed on exploring the area’s human and natural history, with the human relationship to nature as a central theme.

Registration for this course will be handled differently than others, with a goal of including active teachers from different regions of Alaska. Please note, registration for this course is through an application and completing the application does not guarantee a spot on the course. Priority will be given to current Alaskan classroom teachers for this course.

moderately strenuous icon

Participants must be in good fitness and health and equipped for sudden changes in weather.  No previous kayak experience is necessary, but participants must be capable of getting in and out of a kayak, and of paddling a kayak for several hours at a time. Participants must be able to walk short distances over uneven coastal terrain carrying up to 45 pounds of personal and group gear. Please see course overview for more information.

Like any outdoor activity, there are inherent risks associated with our field courses yet we actively manage our exposures and depend on you to play a role in our risk managementRead more here. 

Three professional development credits through the University of Alaska are included in the cost of this course.

Please download the following documents. The syllabus and registration form will be available in early May.

Syllabus