Take a course in Alaska's wildest classrooms!

2018 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 distance and physical fitness levels are described in greater detail for each course. These courses are accredited through the University of Alaska.

Birds of Wonder Lake (Lodge-based)

June 3 – 6
Denali National Park and Preserve
$1080 Alaska Geographic Member Pric
e ($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.

Syllabus Registration Form Instructions for Registration Form Journal Assignment
Register Online

Birds of Denali

June 8 – 10
Denali National Park and Preserve
$333 Alaska Geographic Member Pric
e ($370 Non-Member Price)

Denali comes alive in June with birds arriving from all over the world to their summer home in the far north.  These migrants join the hardy year round residents to offer the Denali birder amazing opportunities to view and study a diverse avifauna in a spectacular landscape.  With naturalist Maria Berger, we’ll venture out into the tundra and taiga to learn how to identify birds by sight and sound.  We’ll also discuss avian behavior, habitat selection, food habits and migration ecology.

moderately strenuous iconHiking 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.

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.

Syllabus Registration Form Instructions for Registration Form Journal Assignment

This course is full.  To be placed on the wait list, please email courses@alaskageographic.org.

Exploring Prince William Sound: Sea Kayaking

Course designed for teachersJune 6 – 12
Chugach National Forest
$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. The application period will be from January 10 – 20th. Priority will be given to current Alaskan classroom teachers for this course.

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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 to complete the requirements for the credit.

Syllabus Registration Form Instructions for Registration Form
Apply Online

Kenai Fjords: Floating Teacher Workshop

Course designed for teachersJune 11 – 18
Kenai Fjords National Park 
$850 Alaska Geographic member price ($925 Alaska Geographic non-member price) 

Explore the wild and rugged Kenai Fjords and join with active inventorying and monitoring researchers conduction surveys. Spend seven days alongside fellow teachers, National Park Service researchers and naturalists to engage with active field research and translate the natural world and science into the classroom. This course is presented in conjunction with NPS’ Ocean Alaska Science and Learning Center, and will be led by Education Coordinator Jim Pfieffenberger. Most of the course days will be spent on a charter boat deep in the Kenai Fjords, including nightly accommodations. Emphasis will be placed on direct engagement with long-term monitoring projects along with stewardship and resource management. Time will also be devoted to experiencing the area’s flora, fauna and glaciers. 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. The application period will be from January 10 – 20th. Priority will be given to current Alaskan classroom teachers for this course.

Apply Online

moderately strenuous icon

This Alaska Geographic course is active and field-based. Participants should be in good physical condition. Accommodations while in the fjords are on a charter boat, and participants should be comfortable in small spaces and able to maneuver around the vessel. Physical activities may include hiking and kayaking. Hiking mostly includes exploratory walks along very uneven beach terrain and creek beds as there is thick underbrush and no trails above high tide line. Kayaking includes day paddles in which participants are sitting for long periods and getting into and out of kayaks.  Participants will participate in loading and unloading kayaks as well as carrying boats and group gear short distances on uneven terrain.

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.

The syllabus will be available soon.

Registration Form Instructions for Registration Form

Wildflowers of Denali

June 12 – 14
Denali National Park and Preserve
$333 Alaska Geographic Member Pric
e ($370 Non-Member Price)

Each summer Denali blooms in a vibrant tapestry of wildflowers. Join Denali National Park botanist Carl Roland for an exploration of these beautiful mountainside colors. While hiking the hillsides we’ll learn how to identify plants by sight, with a hand lens, and with field guides. We’ll investigate how subarctic flora adapt to extreme latitude and high elevation while exploring the park’s unique patterns of plant diversity and ecological history. This is designed as an introductory course to Denali’s wildflowers and other plants.

moderately strenuous iconHiking will be moderately strenuous over uneven tundra, forest, and river bar terrain, covering distances of approximately 5 miles round trip with as much as 1,500 feet of elevation gain. We will encounter wet tundra / forest conditions and a significant stream crossing 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.

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.

Syllabus Registration Form Instructions for Registration Form Journal Assignment

This course is full.  To be placed on the wait list, please email courses@alaskageographic.org.

Denali's Micro Wilderness: Insects and Spiders

June 22 – 24
Denali National Park and Preserve
$333 Alaska Geographic Member Pric
e ($370 Non-Member Price)

Denali is well known for its large mammals and big mountain, but a closer look reveals a vast microwilderness waiting to be discovered. Denali’s insects, spiders, and other arthropods play a critical role in Denali’s ecosystems and have only recently been the subject of more in depth research. Join entomologists Jessica Rykken from the National Park Service and Derek Sikes from the University of Alaska Fairbanks for a behind the scenes look at their 5 year arthropod study and an exploration of this fascinating world. We’ll visit several research sites to learn about the different insects found there and the important roles they play in Denali. As a group, we will help collect some of these species to add to the current study and learn more about what this research has revealed so far.

moderately strenuous iconHiking will be moderately strenuous, covering distances of approximately 5 miles round trip including as much as 1,500 feet of elevation gain. We will be hiking off trail on rough, uneven tundra and forest 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.

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.

Syllabus Registration Form Instructions for Registration Form Journal Assignment

This course is full.  To be placed on the wait list, please email courses@alaskageographic.org.

Denali's Large Mammals

June 26 – 28
Denali National Park and Preserve
$333 Alaska Geographic Member Pric
e ($370 Non-Member Price)

Denali National Park and Preserve is well known for its legendary populations of large mammals such as bears, wolves, sheep, caribou, and moose. Join the Murie Science and Learning Center education staff for this fascinating exploration of large mammal habitat, natural history and research. We will spend our days in the field learning about each of these animals, locally known as “the big 5”, as we hike through their habitat and look for signs of their presence.

moderately strenuous iconHiking will be moderately strenuous, covering distances of approximately 5 miles round trip including as much as 1,500 feet of elevation gain. We will be hiking off trail on rough, uneven tundra and forest 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.

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.

Syllabus Registration Form Instructions for Registration Form Journal Assignment

This course is full.  To be placed on the wait list, please email courses@alaskageographic.org.

Geology of Denali

July 20 – 22
Denali National Park and Preserve
$333 Alaska Geographic Member Pric
e ($370 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 iconField courses are active learning experiences and take place in Denali’s wilderness. Hiking 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.

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 will be available soon.

Syllabus Registration Form Instructions for Registration Form Journal Assignment
Register Online

Denali's Mosses and Lichens

July 31 – August 2
Denali National Park and Preserve
$333 Alaska Geographic Member Pric
e ($370 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 800 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, covering distances of approximately 5 miles round trip including as much as 1,500 feet of elevation gain. We will be hiking off trail on rough, uneven tundra and forest 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.

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.

Syllabus Registration Form Instructions for Registration Form Journal Assignment

This course is full.  To be placed on the wait list, please email courses@alaskageographic.org.

Bears of Denali

August 7 – 9
Denali National Park and Preserve
$333 Alaska Geographic Member Pric
e ($370 Non-Member Price)

Join Denali National Park wildlife biologist Pat Owen for this study of one of the world’s most fascinating wildlife species. We will spend our days in the field investigating grizzly bear habitat and learning about this animal’s behavior and life history while also learning how the grizzly bear is connected with other species in the Denali ecosystem. We will also discuss ongoing grizzly bear research and how to stay safe while in bear country.

moderately strenuous iconHiking will be moderately strenuous, covering distances of approximately 5 miles round trip including as much as 1,500 feet of elevation gain. We will be hiking off trail on rough, uneven tundra and forest 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.

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 will be available soon.

Syllabus Registration Form Instructions for Registration Form Journal Assignment

This course is full.  To be placed on the wait list, please email courses@alaskageographic.org.

Wolves of Denali

August 10 – 12
Denali National Park and Preserve
$333 Alaska Geographic Member Pric
e ($370 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.

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.

Syllabus Registration Form Instructions for Registration Form Journal Assignment
Register Online

Ecology of Migratory Birds

August 24 – 27
Denali National Park and Preserve
$396 Alaska Geographic Member Price ($440 Non-Member Price)

Autumn in Denali is bustling with activity as resident birds prepare for the long winter and migratory birds start their amazing journeys. The Wonder Lake region is one of the best places in Denali to search for flocks of migratory birds and study their behavior. Join Carol McIntyre, National Park Service Wildlife Biologist, to explore ridges, forests and wetlands in search of the many different species of birds that live or migrate through these areas.  In addition to watching migrating birds in action, we’ll learn about the many ways scientists study bird migration, and share discussions on the ecology and conservation of these amazing species.

strenuous hiking icon

Course participants must be able to hike up to 5 to 8 miles a day across rugged and uneven terrain. Daily hikes include walking up and down small ridges and slopes, bush-whacking through alder and willow thickets and forested areas, and crossing smaller streams and small wetlands. 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.

Syllabus Registration Form Instructions for Registration Form Journal Assignment

This course is full.  To be placed on the wait list, please email courses@alaskageographic.org.

The Vibrancy of Autumn

Denali National Park and Preserve
$333 Alaska Geographic Member Pric
e ($370 Non-Member Price)

The tundra is on a tight energy budget and the decreasing sunlight of autumn produces many changes. Not only have tundra animals and plants adapted to cold conditions and short growing seasons, they have adapted to one another and are linked by a flow of energy. Join the Murie Science and Learning Center education staff as we explore the closely woven tundra communities and their relationship to the physical environments. While looking at the patterns of life that revolve around the changing seasons, we’ll keep an eye out for migrating birds and sample a tundra specialty – blueberries!

moderately strenuous icon

Hiking will be moderately strenuous over uneven tundra, forest, and river bar terrain, covering distances of approximately 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.

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 will be available soon.

Registration Form Instructions for Registration Form Journal Assignment

This course is no longer available.