Alaska: Kenai Ecology Explorer For Students
Moderate to Strenuous Physical Activity
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Come to Alaska for an educational tour that combines our wild classroom with science, ecology, and conservation! Experience fun outdoor adventures like kayaking, camping, and hiking.
Alaska Student Explorer is a student group travel adventure to Alaska for high school and middle school students. This wild and immersive experience designed to get you up close to the real Alaska. Located 3 hours south of Anchorage, our classroom is on breathtaking trails, along wild ocean habitats, and is among open spaces. Your home for the week is Kenai Peninsula. It is a microcosm of Alaska featuring dramatic mountains and glaciers, rugged coastline, lush spruce and hemlock forest and tens of thousands of lakes populated with birds and wildlife.
You don’t have to be an athlete to do this trip, but participants should be active (or get active) before the start of the trip. Our days are spent exploring off-the-beaten-path places on the Kenai to access natural areas not accessible to tour bus crowds. Exciting activities like sea kayaking, river rafting, whale watching, camping, and hiking will get you up close and personal with life in Alaska.
This trip consists of 1 nights in a hotel in Anchorage, 3 nights tent camping, and 2 nights in dorm-style cabins. Camping equipment is provided. We stay in organized camp grounds that have a kitchen area with picnic tables and fire ring. There are pit toilets for bathroom facilities. Showers are available, and we take advantage of them while in Seward at the end of the day’s activities.
- A variety of exceptional 2 to 6-hour scenic day hikes from temperate rain forest to alpine tundra which will introduce you to the coastal ecosystems of south-central Alaska.
- Hike the magnificent Harding Icefield Trail along the famous Exit Glacier. See glacial succession and challenge yourself to reach the Icefield at 3400 feet elevation to see where glaciers are born.
- Dip your paddle in emerald green wildlife-rich waters of Kachemak Bay while sea kayaking among diving sea birds, curious seals, and shy otters.
- A 6-hour boat trip into the wild Kenai Fjords to see calving tidewater glaciers, whales, sea lions, and marine birds.
- Visit the K’beq interpretive center and archaeological site to learn about the Kenaitze Tribe, one of the Athabascan tribes in the region.
- Participate in a local citizen science project with Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliance. Projects to be determine but may include invasive species plant removal, or salmon stream water quality monitoring.
Seward Boat Harbor
Mt. Marathon Jeep trail
Exit Glacier Rd.
Alaska Sea Life Center
Cabins at Otter Cove
►Where Do We Stay?
- Night 1: Anchorage at Inlet Tower Hotel (2-4 sharing )
- Nights 2,3,4: Seward at the Kenai National Park Campground (Tent camping doubles, campground facilities pit toilet, no showers onsite. Camping equipment is provided and includes a foam mat, sleeping bag, and a 4-person tent). We will use hot shower facilities in Seward on night 2.
- Nights 5 & 6: Near Homer at Otter Cove Cabins (Shared cabins 3-4 per cabin, bath house)
►Day 1: Anchorage – Seward
You will be greeted at the airport and transferred to the Inlet Towers Hotel in downtown Anchorage. After checking in, your guide will take you for walk downtown to explore the shops and get acquainted Anchorage. Dinner in Anchorage. Trip orientation at the hotel.
Tonight, you might find it hard to sleep with 19 hours of daylight!
►Day 2: Introduction to the Kenai Peninsula
After an early breakfast, our local guides will meet us for introductions, then we will head south to the beautiful Kenai Peninsula. Our drive will parallel the scenic Turnagain Arm, a mountain-lined and glacier-carved fjord named by an obviously frustrated Captain Cook during his 1778 search for the legendary Northwest Passage. It is a 3-hour drive with a couple scheduled stops to talk about the scenery and to use the bathroom. Just outside of Seward we venture off the main highway to the Kenai Fjords Campground to claim our tent sites and to have lunch.
From city streets to alpine tundra in 2 hours! Travel up 1800 feet to the alpine glacier bowl passing through lush, misty emerald green temperate rainforest. Things level out at “the bench” where wildflowers bloom, and then alder becomes thick, and finally the footpath becomes squishy tundra flanking a snow-melt creek. As we climb the switchbacks, Seward becomes a little dot in the valley. On a clear day, half way up, nearly all of Resurrection Bay can be seen. Even on the cloudiest of days, this is a one of the best hikes in Seward. This hike is about 3.5 – 4-hours round trip.
►Day 3: Seward – Boat Trip Kenai Fjords
Today you rest your legs and take a six-hour wildlife-viewing cruise to an active tidewater glacier on Kenai Fjords National Park. A tidewater glacier terminates in the ocean. It is common to see chunks the size of cars falling off into the green water.
Wildlife is abundant throughout the national park and tidewater glaciers. This voyage also offers the best opportunity for whale watching in Alaska along with the possibility of seeing porpoises, sea lions, sea otters, seals, bald eagles and puffins.
Before returning to our cabins, we will visit Exit Glacier to discuss the hike to Harding Icefield tomorrow, and the features of this famous glacier.
►Day 4: Seward – Harding Icefield Trail
One of our favorite hikes on the planet, is today’s highlight: Up we’ll trek along the very blue Exit Glacier to an overlook of the 800-square mile Harding Ice Field. The ice field is the focal point of Kenai Fjords National Park and the source of its many glaciers. Moose, bears, mountain goats, porcupines, and marmots are all commonly seen on this hike and the glacier and ice field are dramatically beautiful. This inspirational hike will stay with you long after you’ve left Alaska!
This hike is moderate to strenuous for flatlanders, and for those who are not currently active, but with effort and determination you will complete the 8 miles round trip in 6 hours. This is not a technical hike and it is suitable for anyone in good health with a positive-can-do-attitude.
►Day 5: Seward – Citizen Science – Transfer to Homer – Otter Cove
After breakfast we break down camp. From here we meet with a representative from Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliance to learn about conservation issues in the Kenai Peninsula and participate in a citizen science half-day work-day.
Lunch will be on route as we drive 3 hours to the other side of the Peninsula to Homer, Alaska. We take a water taxi 30 minutes across Kachemak Bay to our home for the next 2 nights, Otter Cove!
The cabins at Otter Cover are situated on a hillside surrounded by lush rainforest with ocean views. It is common to see sea otters rolling around alongside the pier, and you will possible see whales passing by. You truly feel like you are living the luxury of seclusion.
►Day 6: Otter Cove – Sea Kayaking in Kachemak Bay
Learn the basics of sea kayaking, maneuvering, and water entry and exit. Then spend half of the day in and out of our tandem kayaks as we explore the bay, islands, and shoreline.
In addition to beautiful mountain scenery, sea otters, harbor seals, sea lions, bald eagles, sea birds and harbor porpoises are all possible to encounter. The afternoon a hike to a scenic overlook where several of the volcanoes of the Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian Islands are visible.
►Day 7: K’Beq Archaeological Site & Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
We will leave our seaside home via water taxi and then transfer from Homer to Anchorage. The fun and education is not over, though!
Our first stop is the K’Beq Archaeological Site. We will learn abut the partnership with the National Forest & the Kenaitze Tribe in preserving this site. Participants will also learn Athabaskan words, traditional medicine, and stories by a Kenaitze tour guide.
The next stop on route to Anchorage is the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. Participants will be able to see some of Alaska’s big animals upclose and learn about their conservation status and adaptations. The AWCC participates in major wildlife reintroduction programs including bringing wild wood bison back to Alaska!
Return to Anchorage about 7pm.
Please note: The activities and schedule may change without notice as practical considerations arise during program development, or onsite for the safety of participants.
Regarding the intensity of the hikes, you don’t have to be a Sherpa to be able to hike the trails in this program, but Mt. Marathon Bowl hike and the Harding Icefield hike travel upward 1000ft in elevation per mile and last 3 to 7 hours round trip relatively speaking. If you are currently not an active person, then you need to start an exercise plan at least 4 months before you go on this adventure. The healthier and stronger you are before the trip, will make your experience that much more enjoyable. Preparation, will make the effort that much more rewarding. With that said, anybody that is healthy and has a “where there is a will there is a way” attitude can do any of the hikes.
Inclusions & Exclusions
- All scheduled activities
- Six nights lodging
- All meals from dinner on day 1 to lunch day 7.
- Camping equipment
- Personal spending money.
- Gratuity of $170.00 per participant.
- Optional activity upgrade fees.
- Travel insurance
Land fee: $2495 plus airfare and gratuity.
Group Size: 10 students plus 1 chaperone
All payments are non-refundable if cancelled by the participant. Participants are highly encouraged to purchase travel insurance to cover unforeseen circumstances that may interrupt or cancel the trip.
Travel insurance is available at: https://greenedventures.com/travel-insurance/