About the Program

Chugach Children's ForestGet Out. Go Wild.  Change the Future.

Welcome to Alaska Geographic and the Chugach National Forest’s unique partnership for education–the Chugach Children’s Forest!

The Chugach Children’s Forest introduces diverse, young Alaskans to their wild backyard. Despite the abundance of wild places in Alaska, many Alaskan youth have never ventured outside their local communities to explore Alaska’s vast expanse of public lands. The Chugach Children’s Forest empowers and enables Alaska youth to explore these wild places that are so close, yet so far.

We address the obstacles that prevent underrepresented youth from becoming engaged in the outdoors. We overcome these barriers to engagement and give Alaska youth what is thought of as an “Alaska experience” – full of outdoor adventure!

The Chugach National Forest is a vast and inspiring mix of glaciers, mountains, rain forest, and wild coastline—and backyard to half of Alaska’s population. People come from all over the world to experience the Chugach and Alaska’s wilderness, yet children and families from many Anchorage neighborhoods have never even set foot in the forest. Urban and rural youth alike often lack opportunities to participate in life changing experiences in the outdoors. The Chugach Children’s Forest is a response to this growing disconnect between people – particularly young people – and the natural world we all depend on.

One goal is simply the health and joy that come from playing and working outside; another is to help all understand, care about and ultimately help solve the challenges of today and tomorrow– from climate change to growing the next generation of public land leaders. To address the critical challenges of people’s growing disconnect from nature paired with mounting impacts on our natural world, the Chugach Children’s Forest brings together communities, educators, land management agencies, and environmental and social non-profits to offer a wide range of innovative programs designed to engage Alaskans of all ages in fostering healthy, sustainable connections with the outdoors.

The Chugach Children’s Forest is dedicated to creating opportunities in four key areas:

  1. Healthy outdoor activities for kids, families and communities.
  2. Pathways to outdoor oriented education and careers.
  3. Expanded public land stewardship and civic participation.
  4. Environmental and climate change understanding and identifying local solutions.

Led by Alaska Geographic and the Chugach National Forest, the Chugach Children’s Forest is an inclusive effort that works in partnership with Alaska’s communities, educators, non-profits, and public lands to create:

Life-changing expeditions and educational experiences for young Alaskans of all backgrounds.

These annual expeditions travel to some of Alaska’s wildest places, engage youth in stewardship projects, and provide them with a personal understanding of the value of public lands. Stories and discoveries from expeditions are shared through youth-produced media, public presentations, interactive websites, and integration into school programs. Learn more about youth expeditions in Prince William Sound, on the Copper River Delta, and in the peaks of Resurrection Pass and more…

Career and internship opportunities that open doors for futures in Alaska’s public lands.

The Chugach Children’s Forest helps prepare kids for unique careers in public land stewardship. The Chugach Children’s Forest actively reaches out to diverse populations of students, and connects them with forest professionals, scientists, and media specialists.

The Chugach Children’s Forest is creating new employment opportunities for young Alaskans, including media internships, and opportunities with Youth Employment in Parks. New partnerships are actively being explored to expand the range of youth employment opportunities.

Volunteer and Service Learning projects give people of all ages the opportunity to give back to their communities and public lands.

Chugach Children’s Forest connects public land agencies, school districts, non-profits, and businesses to find and facilitate volunteer opportunities. From 400 7th graders eradicating weeds in their neighborhood forest, to a small group of teen slam poets building team spirit while learning trail crew skills, the Chugach Children’s Forest teaches youth to be hard-working stewards of their public lands.

For Teachers, the opportunity to connect with the outdoors, and lead their students into the forest…

The Chugach Children’s Forest provides a variety of resources to teachers, from assistance with field trips and class projects to professional development workshops. Learn more about how we help teachers be that vital link between the student and their community.

Increased connection with Alaska’s magnificent outdoors helps foster a strong ethic of stewardship for Alaska’s forests, parks, and refuges.  By connecting Alaska’s communities with their surrounding public lands, the Chugach Children’s Forest is working to ensure the long-term health of these cherished landscapes.  We believe that the more people know and experience Alaska’s public lands, the greater their commitment to conserving them for future generations.

For more information, please review our strategic plan.