Alaska – Wildlife Biology, Oceanography and Climate Change
A Student Diplomacy Experimental College (SDXCO) Program

The Details:

Program: Alaska: Wildlife Biology, Oceanography and Climate Change
Start/End: Seattle International Airport
Dates: Late June – Late July (4 weeks)
Credit: 3 college credits

More College Credit Programs

Student Diplomacy Experimental College Massachusetts
Spain-Instituto Ibérico Las Tres Culturas
Spain-Instituto Ibérico Picasso y Flamenco

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The Story:

Venture to The Last Frontier and become a citizen scientist inspired to understand and protect some of America’s last wild places. Embrace your inner Thoreau as a naturalist and wilderness scholar on the frontlines of the battle against climate change. Earn three college credits studying wildlife biology in high alpine meadows and oceanography with a climate scientist on remote islands near Glacier Bay National Park. Along the way, you’ll learn about 10,000-year-old Tlingit culture, fish for halibut, commute by float plane, build a campfire, hike glaciers, camp in the Alaskan bush and live off the land. This summer, college begins in the most majestic of classrooms during an unforgettable learning adventure in the forests, islands and communities of Alaska.

The Program:

In Juneau, taste fresh smoked salmon and wild berries as you learn how Alaskans past and present have lived off the land. Fireside talks on backcountry safety and expedition planning help you build skills for adventures to come. Hiking to the face of a retreating glacier, you can observe the impact of climate change. In Haines, meet a college professor and begin your academic inquiry in the classroom and out in the field. Travel up the Chilkat River where the indigenous Tlingit people have lived for more than 10,000 years. Take your expedition skills to a higher level and backpack with your professor to a high alpine meadow to camp and observe bighorn sheep. Meet with Tlingit community members, pick berries to share with elders and help local environmental organizations monitor river pollution levels from mining activities. Visit salmon canneries and learn how salmon biology impacts the local environment and culture. Later, take float planes to the Inian Islands to learn about the perils of climate change to the pristine ecosystems in Southeast Alaska. Spend a week kayaking, homesteading and learning to filet salmon. Create hyper-local meals from the summer’s harvest and learn about climate change and oceanography from a local professor, hunter and outdoorsman. Your final presentations take place near the wood stove of the homestead classroom as the tide on the bay comes in. Spend your final days in Sitka or Anchorage exploring new communities, reflecting on your learning and discussing strategies to bring new skills and knowledge back home to your community.

Academic Coursework:

Print

  • Earn 3 college credits studying hands-on wildlife biology and oceanography
  • Class takes place in classrooms, on alpine hiking trails, around campfires and in ocean kayaks
  • Examples of coursework include Alaskan species identification and sketches, Tlingit culture and vocabulary, presentations on climate science and Alaska homesteading skills

Sample Activities:

Orientation in Juneau

  • Live on a college campus
  • Hike with a naturalist to the face of the Mendenhall glacier
  • Build campfires and learn about backcountry and expedition safety

Wildlife Biology & Tlingit Culture in Haines

  • Study with a field biologist
  • Camp on an alpine meadow high above the Chilkat and Chilkoot river valley
  • Canoe on a glacial lake to observe salmon spawning and bears feeding
  • Sail on the Alaska State Ferry in the deepest fjord in North America

Oceanography & Climate Change on the Inian Islands

  • Sea kayak the inside passage and spot sea otters, seals, sea lions and whales
  • Learn to build campfires, filet salmon and cook meals from nature’s bounty
  • Study how climate change is directly observed in this delicate ecosystem with a climate scientist

Journey’s End

  • Participate in arts workshops
  • Visit a wildlife sanctuary
  • Reflect on your learning and discuss strategies to bring new skills and knowledge back home

The Details:

Program: Alaska: Wildlife Biology, Oceanography and Climate Change
Start/End: Seattle International Airport
Dates: Late June – Late July (4 weeks)
Credit: 3 college credits

More College Credit Programs

Student Diplomacy Experimental College Massachusetts
Spain-Instituto Ibérico Las Tres Culturas
Spain-Instituto Ibérico Picasso y Flamenco

Country_STAMPS_layers_CURVES_JAN_9