Prince William Sound
Students spent one week living and traveling on a research vessel documenting the impacts of climate change and the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill on marine and coastal ecosystems. Students came from Valdez, Chenega Bay, Hope, and Anchorage, and worked alongside scientists and community leaders in remote sites throughout Western Prince William Sound including tidewater glaciers, beaches with lingering oil, and salmon hatcheries.
PWS 2010 Video (through YouTube)
Caribou On Ice
In early August, Youth from the Kenaitze Indian Tribe spent a week in the Kenai Mountains learning about the effects of climate change–and what climate change can reveal about the past. Increased average annual and seasonal temperatures across northern regions are causing alpine ice patches and glaciers in Alaska to melt at a rapid rate. In some areas, the receding ice is exposing cultural materials left by past hunters that had been preserved in ice, untouched, for hundreds or thousands of years. Students traveled with US Forest Service archeologists and biologists by foot and horseback to a recently exposed site in the Chugach National Forest where subsistence hunters once lived.
Off the Tracks
What better way to connect Anchorage’s youth to their backyard than with the Alaska Railroad? This summer (June 14-25) youth participating in the Natural Resource Management Class of Anchorage’s King Career Center traveled by train to Portage Valley, Whittier, Spencer Glacier, and Seward to explore and document the changing landscape of the Chugach National Forest. In the middle of the 20th century, 823 photos were taken all around the Chugach, and then in 2006 many photos were retaken at the same locations of the originals. Students worked with US Forest Service biologists to continue this photo documentation project, helping to better understand environmental change on the National Forest.
Copper River Delta Wetlands Ecology Media Expedition
This expedition focused on documenting the impacts of climate change on a large wetland ecosystem: the Copper River Delta. From July 25 – August 3, explorations focused on the plants, soils, hydrology, birds, and wildlife associated with one of North America’s largest wetlands. A number of scientists and local experts took part in the expedition, including community leaders and plant, soil, and bird ecologists. The expedition started in Cordova, but largely took place at a United States Forest Service research field camp on the Copper River Delta. Canoes and poke boats were the primary form of transportation once at the field camp. Upon returning to Cordova, participants took 2 days to work on final media projects based on the lessons learned during this expedition.