Babkin Marine Stewardship Expedition
In June, nine middle school students from across Southcentral Alaska spent eight days aboard the Babkin Marine Research Vessel in Prince William Sound on a Marine Stewardship Expedition. The students engaged in hands-on learning about a range of topics including oceanography, plant ecology, fisheries and issues facing the Sound such as lingering oil from the Exxon-Valdez Oil Spill and coastal accumulation of marine debris.
Leadership Development Course & Kayak Expedition
Ten high school students from urban and rural communities across Southcentral Alaska completed a 3-week Leadership Development course coordinated by the Chugach Children’s Forest and the Chugach School District. During the first week and a half, the students learned outdoor skills, first aid protocols, and leadership strategies. Then the teens ventured out to Prince William Sound to spend 10 days completing stewardship projects for the Chugach National Forest, improving their kayak skills, and learning more about way-finding, trip planning, local ecology, natural history, and Leave No Trace principles.
Habitat Restoration Kayak Expedition
In July, teens participated in Habitat Restoration Kayak Expedition that traveled to Eshamy Bay. In the bay, teens assisted Forest Service staff with a range of work from surveying and removing invasive weeds to cleaning up marine debris and trash from beaches, campsites and cabins.
Just the Beginning…
These trips are just the beginning for Chugach Children’s Forest youth. CCF’s long-term goal is to sustain lifelong stewardship and to introduce youth to careers with public lands and conservation. To do this, we keep these young Alaskans engaged with our outdoor club, youth leadership team, internships, and mentoring programs. Since we launched our programs in 2008, many Chugach Children’s Forest alum have gone on to enroll in public lands-related degrees as first generation college students, work for conservation organizations and public land management agencies, and serve as youth advisers to organizations seeking to increase youth engagement in the outdoors.