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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.  Teachers: click here for more accredited courses designed just for you!

Birds of Denali

Denali National Park and Preserve
June 3 – 5
$360 Alaska Geographic member price ($400 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. You may choose this option when registering for the course.

The following documents provide information on the credit requirements.

Syllabus Journal Assignment UAA Registration Information New to UA System

This course is sold out.  To be added to the waitlist, please email courses@alaskageographic.org.

Denali's Mosses and Lichens

Denali National Park and Preserve
June 10 – 12
$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.

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

The following documents provide information on the credit requirements.

Syllabus Journal Assignment UAA Registration Information New to UA System

Wildflowers of Denali

Denali National Park and Preserve
June 17 – 19
$360 Alaska Geographic member price ($400 non-member price) 

Each summer, Denali blooms in a vibrant tapestry of wildflowers. Join University of Alaska Fairbanks ethnobotany instructor Lisa Strecker for an exploration of these beautiful mountainside colors. While hiking the hillsides, we will learn how to identify plants by sight and with field guides. We will also investigate how subarctic flora adapt to extreme latitude and high elevation, and how global change affects these plants and their habitats. In addition, we will address the relationships between selected plants and people from different cultures in the circumpolar North. This course is 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. You may choose this option when registering for the course.

The following documents provide information on the credit requirements.

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

Writing in the Footsteps of the Muries

Denali National Park and Preserve
June 24 – 26
$400
Alaska Geographic Member Price ($360 non-member price)

One hundred years ago, in the summer of 1922, two half-brothers, Olaus and Adolph Murie, arrived in Mount McKinley National Park (today’s Denali NP) to study caribou. Over the following decades, they would revolutionize the sciences of ecology and wildlife biology, and marry half-sisters Mardy Thomas and Louise Gillete. Together the four would become pillars of the American wilderness preservation movement. Join Alaska author Kim Heacox to hike the tundra where the Muries did, and gain inspiration from their writing. Discover your own writing style and hone your skills while sharing ideas and insights with the group.

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. You may choose this option when registering for the course.

The following documents provide information on the credit requirements.

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

Family Field Retreat

Denali National Park and Preserve
July 1 – 4
$225
Alaska Geographic Member Price ($250 non-member price) for first family member
$75 for each additional family member

Come explore Denali with us! Create lasting memories and help the whole family develop a deep love for Denali over the holiday 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 sold out.  To be added to the waitlist, please email courses@alaskageographic.org.

Geology of Denali

Denali National Park and Preserve
July 11 – 13

$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.

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

The following documents provide information on the credit requirements.

Syllabus Journal Assignment UAA Registration Information New to UA System

This course is sold out.  To be added to the waitlist, please email courses@alaskageographic.org.

Paleontology in Denali

Denali National Park and Preserve
July 22 – 24
$360 Alaska Geographic member price ($400 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. You may choose this option when registering for the course.

The following documents provide information on the credit requirements.

Syllabus Journal Assignment UAA Registration Information New to UA System

This course is sold out.  To be added to the waitlist, please email courses@alaskageographic.org.

The Rhythm of Denali's Mammals

Denali National Park and Preserve
July 29 – 31
$360
Alaska Geographic member price ($400 non-member price)

The myriad of mammal species in Denali are intricately tied together through cyclic fluctuations, patterns of reproduction, and the climate and ecological extremes of this northern ecosystem. Join long time resident and naturalist Nan Eagleson to examine the landscape for animal life in Denali’s treeless tundra, boreal forest and river bars. From the charismatic megafauna to the voles, lemmings and shrews, the predator-prey relationships play out in a natural state here. On outings we will look for tracks and scats that suggest their food habits while keeping a sharp eye out for wildlife of all sorts. Climate change and its impact on the lives of northern animals, in the backdrop of this fragile ecosystem, will be part of a discussion for our vision of their future.

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. You may choose this option when registering for the course.

The following documents provide information on the credit requirements.

Syllabus Journal Assignment UAA Registration Information New to UA System

This course is sold out.  To be added to the waitlist, please email courses@alaskageographic.org.

Bears of Denali

Denali National Park and Preserve
August 12 – 14
$360
Alaska Geographic member price ($400 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. You may choose this option when registering for the course.

The following documents provide information on the credit requirements.

Syllabus Journal Assignment New to UA System
Register Now

Wolves of Denali

Denali National Park and Preserve
August 19 – 21
$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 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. You may choose this option when registering for the course.

The following documents provide information on the credit requirements.

Syllabus Journal Assignment New to UA System

This course is sold out.  To be added to the waitlist, please email courses@alaskageographic.org.

Ecology of Migratory Birds

Denali National Park and Preserve
August 26 – 28
$360
Alaska Geographic member price ($400 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. Over the weekend, 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. You may choose this option when registering for the course.

The following documents provide information on the credit requirements.

Syllabus Journal Assignment New to UA System

This course is sold out.  To be added to the waitlist, please email courses@alaskageographic.org.

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.