Report from Reth: Cordova Sixth Grade Camp-out

Chugach Children’s Forest and Alaska Geographic ProgramAssistant Reth Duir was able to join the now annual sixthgrade camping trip in Cordova. Check out his report from his first visit to Cordova!

Cordova was such an amazing experience! I was able to combine two things I enjoy: outdoor education and working with children. I was asked to be apart of Mt. Eccles sixth grade camp-out, joining organizations such as Prince William Sound Science Center, and the Copper River Watershed Project. After getting picked up from the airport by longtime USFS employee Erin Cooper, we met up with the students at Mile 11 of the Copper River Highway. Erin taught the students about Copper River Delta, which encompasses 700,000 acres, making it home to one of the largest wetlands in all of North America. The Copper River Delta is a popular site for millions of shorebirds annually. For the rest of the day, the students went on a scavenger hunt locating erosion features from glaciers, looking for wildlife and even creating rap songs to share what they learned around the campfire while roasting hot-dogs. I enjoyed a hike on the McKinley Trail and planting in the bioswale helping to remove pollutants and filtering water runoff. In addition to teaching the students, I learned quite a bit about their hometown. One interesting piece of local history concerns the Copper River Highways, the sole road leading out of town. The highway used stretch out to 56 miles; taking you all the way to Childs Glacier. Due to erosion, the road now ends at 36 miles. I found the people of Cordova were hospitable and welcoming, and could sense that Cordovans take a special pride in where they are from. I am truly honored and thankful to Superintendent Alex Russin, Principal Gayle Groff, Lauren Bean, Elizabeth Collins, Shay and Kate Morse for this opportunity. And, a special thank you to the sixth graders for inviting me into their community and camp-out: we are all excited for the next generation of public land users and stewards of the land. Thank you, Cordova!