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 geology and birds 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 and are designed for adults.

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Denali's Mosses and Lichens

June 2 – 4
Denali National Park and Preserve
$405 Alaska Geographic member price ($450 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.

One professional development credit is available for this course through the University of Alaska Anchorage for an additional fee of $79. Information on the credit requirements, including how to register and pay for the credit through UAA, are available from the links below.

If you have never taken a class with the University of Alaska system before, start by opening the “new to UA System” document and following the directions on pages 1-3 to set up an account with the University.

Syllabus Journal Assignment UAA Registration Information New to UA System

This course is currently sold out.  Please email courses@akgeo.org to be placed on the wait list.

Birds of Denali

June 9 – 11
Denali National Park and Preserve
$405 Alaska Geographic member price ($450 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 long time resident and naturalist Nan Eagleson, 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 over uneven tundra, forest, and river bar terrain.  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.

One professional development credit is available for this course through the University of Alaska Anchorage for an additional fee of $79. Information on the credit requirements, including how to register and pay for the credit through UAA, are available from the links below.

If you have never taken a class with the University of Alaska system before, start by opening the “new to UA System” document and following the directions on pages 1-3 to set up an account with the University.

Syllabus Journal Assignment UAA Registration Information New to UA System

This course is currently sold out.  Please email courses@akgeo.org to be placed on the wait list.

Paleontology in Denali

June 12 – 14
Denali National Park and Preserve
$405 Alaska Geographic member price ($450 non-member price) 

It’s been over 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.

One professional development credit is available for this course through the University of Alaska Anchorage for an additional fee of $79. Information on the credit requirements, including how to register and pay for the credit through UAA, are available from the links below.

If you have never taken a class with the University of Alaska system before, start by opening the “new to UA System” document and following the directions on pages 1-3 to set up an account with the University.

Syllabus Journal Assignment UAA Registration Information New to UA System

This course is currently sold out.  Please email courses@akgeo.org to be placed on the wait list.

Family Outdoor School

June 16 – 19
Denali National Park and Preserve
$270 Alaska Geographic member price ($300 non-member price) for first family member, $75 for each additional family member up to 4

Come explore Denali with us! Create lasting memories and help the whole family develop a deep love for Denali over the weekend. You’ll enjoy one day of guided activities with a Murie Science and Learning Center educator while the other day will be yours to design with your family. Throughout the weekend we’ll offer ideas on how to connect with nature through games, activities, stories, and more, as well as build our outdoor skills. Packing list should include curiosity, smiles, a sense of adventure and your playful spirit! This course is designed for families with children 5 years old and older.

moderately strenuous icon

Hiking will be moderately strenuous over uneven forest, and river bar terrain covering distances of up to 3 miles round trip with as much as 1000 feet of elevation gain. We may encounter wet forest conditions and small 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.

This course is currently sold out.  Please email courses@akgeo.org to be placed on the wait list.

Wildflowers of Denali

June 20 – 22
Denali National Park and Preserve
$405 Alaska Geographic member price ($450 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.  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.

One professional development credit is available for this course through the University of Alaska Anchorage for an additional fee of $79. Information on the credit requirements, including how to register and pay for the credit through UAA, are available from the links below.

If you have never taken a class with the University of Alaska system before, start by opening the “new to UA System” document and following the directions on pages 1-3 to set up an account with the University.

Syllabus Journal Assignment UAA Registration Information New to UA System
Register Here

Wildlife Tracking

June 30 – July 2
Denali National Park and Preserve
$405
Alaska Geographic Member Price ($450 non-member price)

Learn how to read the stories of the landscape using the oldest science, wildlife tracking. With expert tracker and NPS biologist Kaija Klauder, we’ll learn how to identify and interpret the tracks and signs of animals large and small. As we sharpen our senses and observational skills, the landscape will come alive with the evidence of our wild neighbors. After learning about the natural history of Denali throughout the weekend, you’ll take home skills and practices that will allow you to connect with the creatures just outside your own door.

moderately strenuous icon

Hiking will be off trail over uneven tundra, forest, and river bar terrains, 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 Anchorage for an additional fee of $79. Information on how to register and pay for the credit through UAA will be available from the links below in May.

If you have never taken a class with the University of Alaska system before, you can get started now by opening the “new to UA System” document and following the directions on pages 1-3 to set up an account with the University so that you are ready to register for the credit in May.

The following documents provide information on the credit requirements.

Syllabus Journal Assignment UAA Registration Information New to UA System

This course is currently sold out.  Please email courses@akgeo.org to be placed on the wait list.

Geology of Denali

July 19 – 21
Denali National Park and Preserve

$405
Alaska Geographic member price ($450 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.

One professional development credit is available for this course through the University of Alaska Anchorage for an additional fee of $79. Information on the credit requirements, including how to register and pay for the credit through UAA, are available from the links below.

If you have never taken a class with the University of Alaska system before, start by opening the “new to UA System” document and following the directions on pages 1-3 to set up an account with the University.

Syllabus Journal Assignment UAA Registration Information New to UA System

This course is currently sold out.  Please email courses@akgeo.org to be placed on the wait list.

Yoga in Denali

July 21 – 23
Denali National Park and Preserve
$405 Alaska Geographic member price ($450 non-member price) 

The Sanskrit term yuj, from which the word yoga is derived, is usually translated as “union” or “linking.” This joining is the focus of Yoga in Denali: Land & Body. The grand landscape of Denali invites the soul to remember the most cherished relationships and “links” in life. Through breathing practices, sequences of asanas (physical postures), and meditation in nature, you can build a deeper understanding and connection to Denali. Join Mila Cooper, a yoga teacher with over 13 years of experience, in being humbled by the environment and strengthened in body and spirit through yoga practice. Come away inspired to incorporate stewardship of natural places into your daily life and practice. This course is appropriate for all experience levels.

moderately strenuous iconNo prior yoga experience is needed for this course.  Hiking will also be included and will be moderately strenuous over uneven tundra, forest, and river bar terrain, and may cover distances of up to 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.

One professional development credit is available for this course through the University of Alaska Anchorage for an additional fee of $79. Information on the credit requirements, including how to register and pay for the credit through UAA, are available from the links below.

If you have never taken a class with the University of Alaska system before, start by opening the “new to UA System” document and following the directions on pages 1-3 to set up an account with the University.

Syllabus Journal Assignment UAA Registration Information New to UA System
Register Here

Naturalist Skills

July 28 – 30
Denali National Park and Preserve
$405
Alaska Geographic member price ($450 non-member price)

Join the Alaska Geographic Education Team in Denali National Park to learn naturalist skills! Over the course of the weekend, you will learn how to grow your skills as a naturalist through observation, questioning, and field journaling. We’ll hike to different habitats to learn about the local flora and fauna and look at techniques used by famous naturalists such as Olaus and Mardy Murie.  Not only will these skills help you better understand the natural world, but you will be able to teach friends, family, or students how to greater observe the outdoors.  At the end of the course, you will be awarded a certificate of completion for our naturalist training.

moderately strenuous icon

Hiking will be off trail over uneven tundra, forest, and river bar terrains, 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 Anchorage for an additional fee of $79. Information on the credit requirements, including how to register and pay for the credit through UAA, are available from the links below.

If you have never taken a class with the University of Alaska system before, start by opening the “new to UA System” document and following the directions on pages 1-3 to set up an account with the University.

Syllabus Journal Assignment UAA Registration Information New to UA System

This course is currently sold out.  Please email courses@akgeo.org to be placed on the wait list.

Mushrooms in Denali

August 4 – 6
Denali National Park and Preserve
$405
Alaska Geographic member price ($450 non-member price)

Late summer showcases a wealth of mushrooms throughout interior Alaska. Join local naturalist Eric Groth in Denali National Park to learn various techniques for identifying native wild mushrooms. Taking clues from the landscape, we’ll hone our observation skills and gain experience using field guides. We’ll learn about the many roles mushrooms play in Denali’s vastly different environments as we gain an appreciation for wild mushrooms and how they influence our lives.

moderately strenuous icon

Hiking will be moderate, covering distances of approximately 1 mile round trip, and including as much as 500 feet of elevation gain. We will be hiking off trail on uneven tundra and forest terrains and will likely encounter wet tundra / forest conditions and small stream crossings.  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 Anchorage for an additional fee of $79. Information on the credit requirements, including how to register and pay for the credit through UAA, are available from the links below.

If you have never taken a class with the University of Alaska system before, start by opening the “new to UA System” document and following the directions on pages 1-3 to set up an account with the University.

Syllabus Journal Assignment UAA Registration Information New to UA System
Register Here

Wolves of Denali

August 7 – 9
Denali National Park and Preserve
$405
Alaska Geographic member price ($450 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 off trail over uneven tundra, forest, and river bar terrains, 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 Anchorage for an additional fee of $79. Information on the credit requirements, including how to register and pay for the credit through UAA, are available from the links below.

If you have never taken a class with the University of Alaska system before, start by opening the “new to UA System” document and following the directions on pages 1-3 to set up an account with the University.

Syllabus Journal Assignment UAA Registration Information New to UA System

This course is currently sold out.  Please email courses@akgeo.org to be placed on the wait list.

Climate Change in Denali and Beyond

August 11 – 13
Denali National Park and Preserve
$405
Alaska Geographic member price ($450 non-member price)

Although recent climate change has been attributed to human influences, the earth’s climate has exhibited a great deal of variability throughout its modern 400 million year history. The geographic site and situation of Denali National Park and Preserve provide a unique opportunity to visually interpret 120,000 years of climate change. Join Alaska Geographic educator and Retired Atmospheric Scientist David Arnold to observe first hand this history of change. By exploring evidence of these astronomical and earth driven changes, we’ll gain a better understanding of how human impacts have reached a magnitude significant enough to also impact the global climate system.

moderately strenuous icon

Hiking will be off trail over uneven tundra, forest, and river bar terrains, 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 Anchorage for an additional fee of $79. Information on how to register and pay for the credit through UAA will be available from the links below in May.

If you have never taken a class with the University of Alaska system before, you can get started now by opening the “new to UA System” document and following the directions on pages 1-3 to set up an account with the University so that you are ready to register for the credit in May.

The following documents provide information on the credit requirements.

Journal Assignment UAA Registration Information New to UA System
Register Here

Bears of Denali

August 14 – 16
Denali National Park and Preserve
$405
Alaska Geographic member price ($450 non-member price)

As the days grow shorter, grizzly bears are preparing for their long winter’s sleep. Join Denali National Park wildlife biologist Pat Owen and hear tales from her 30 years of studying bears in the park. We will spend our time investigating grizzly bear habitat while learning about this animal’s behavior, life history, and their role in the Denali ecosystem. We’ll also discuss ongoing grizzly bear research and how to stay safe in bear country.

moderately strenuous icon

Hiking will be off trail over uneven tundra, forest, and river bar terrains, 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 Anchorage for an additional fee of $79. Information on the credit requirements, including how to register and pay for the credit through UAA, are available from the links below.

If you have never taken a class with the University of Alaska system before, start by opening the “new to UA System” document and following the directions on pages 1-3 to set up an account with the University.

Syllabus Journal Assignment UAA Registration Information New to UA System

This course is currently sold out.  Please email courses@akgeo.org to be placed on the wait list.

Ecology of Migratory Birds

August 28 – 31
Denali National Park and Preserve
$450
Alaska Geographic member price ($500 non-member price)

Late summer is a busy time for birds in interior Alaska. Resident species are preparing for the long subarctic winter and migratory species are preparing for their amazing journeys that often span continents and even oceans. Join Dr. Carol McIntyre, National Park Service wildlife biologist, to search for some of these amazing birds and learn more about their fascinating ecology. Throughout the course, we’ll discuss how scientists study migration ecology, highlight some of our study results, and learn about how we are working with others to help protect the resources Denali’s birds need to survive.

moderately strenuous icon

Hiking will be off trail over uneven tundra, forest, and river bar terrains, 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 Anchorage for an additional fee of $79. Information on the credit requirements, including how to register and pay for the credit through UAA, are available from the links below.

If you have never taken a class with the University of Alaska system before, start by opening the “new to UA System” document and following the directions on pages 1-3 to set up an account with the University.

Syllabus Journal Assignment UAA Registration Information New to UA System

This course is currently sold out.  Please email courses@akgeo.org to be placed on the wait list.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellations and/or substitutions that occur 60 days in advance of the course start date will be refunded the course fee, less a processing fee of $35 per space. For cancellations and/or substitutions within 60 days of the course start date, the entire fee will be retained unless we can fill your space. Registration fees are not transferable to future years. If we have to cancel a course, your entire fee will be refunded. Refunds will be credited to the credit card used during the original transaction if less than 60 days since the original transaction. All other refunds will be made through a mailed check. All membership purchases are non-refundable and non-transferable.