Teacher Expeditions

Continuing education in an awesome classroom. Teachers earn up to 3 continuing education credits (500 level courses) while exploring gorgeous areas and learning the natural history of Southeast Alaska. Most classes are week-long summer programs, with affordable tuition thanks to generous support from our partners.

Teacher Expeditions are designed to ensure teachers have all the tools needed to engage their students outdoors for years to come. Working with our classrooms outdoors can invigorate lessons, bringing abstract concepts to life and engaging children who may not be as engaged indoors. There are three main components to our courses:

  1. Time outdoors to reconnect and explore our own curiosity,
  2. Natural history science information to inform the lessons we teach,
  3. The soft skills to make teaching outdoors second nature.


2016 Teacher Expeditions

*Yikes!  The Inian Islands Teacher Expedition is full! 

  1. We usually take one or two participants from the waitlist.  Add yourself by emailing info@discoverysoutheast.org.

  2. In addition to the Cross Sound trip below, if there's enough interest we would love to offer a 5 day kayaking trip exploring the Chanel Islands and Berner’s Bay area just north of Juneau - most likely in July. If you’re interested in such a trip, please submit your contact information here to be notified if and when we can offer such a trip. 

Crossroads in Cross Sound: Nature as an intersection of People and Place

June 12-16, 2016, Inian Island Institute at the Hobbit Hole in Cross Sound. Made possible through generous support from Alaska Glacier Seafoods. We are currently only accepting Alaska educators.

In one of the most stunning locations imaginable, Crossroads in Cross Sound explores the interaction of humans in the natural world and how we teach that to our classrooms. Teachers come away feeling a deeper connection with nature, possessing tools for working with students outdoors, and better-understanding the natural history of Southeast forests, marine environments, and even global climate change.

June 12, 2016 we’ll depart Juneau via boat for a breath-taking morning trip around the northern tip of Admiralty Island, through Icy Strait, past Glacier Bay to Cross Sound. Our class is hosted by the Inian Islands Institute, at the well-known Hobbit Hole lodge. We will camp in wall tents or out buildings, but there’s also an option to reserve space at the Hobbit Hole for those interested.

We’ll be on a wilderness island, in one of the most powerful, active waterways in southeast, sandwiched between Glacier Bay National Park and the wilderness of the major Tongass islands. During our five days (four nights) at Inian Islands, Discovery Southeast Naturalists and guest instructors will lead hands-on classes exploring natural and cultural history, and there will be plenty of open time for reflection and exploration. Teachers seeking credit will have the opportunity to develop lesson plans for their classrooms. We’ll return to Juneau by boat on the 16th.

Teachers should be in appropriate physical shape both to stay at an area away from medical facilities, and to take part in full-days outdoors exploring by foot. We’ll generally be walking with day-packs in somewhat rugged areas–usually without a trail.

The cost is deeply subsidized thanks to Discovery Southeast member donations and support from Alaska Glacier Seafoods. The $750 tuition includes most everything: transportation, instruction, meals at the Hobbit Hole, and camping accommodations in a wall tent. If you prefer a bed in a double occupancy room, it’s available for an additional $200. Teachers seeking the 3 continuing education credits will also need to pay University of Alaska Southeast’s $75 registration fee.

Cancellations and Weather:
We ask that participants keep their schedules open at least one day before and two days after the trip. This allows for flexibility in the event that weather affects our transportation. Although unlikely, if we were to completely cancel the trip for severe weather, we would provide a full refund, plus priority registration on any other trip we offer and a $50 discount.

If, on the other hand, you cancel at least 60 days before the trip starts, we’ll refund your tuition minus a $50 processing fee. If you cancel less than 60 days before the trip starts, we’ll refund the cost minus a $50 processing fee only if we can fill your spot on the trip.

Risk Acknowledgement and Liability Waiver:
Before registering, please make sure you’re comfortable with our risk acknowlegement and liability waivers here. You’ll be asked to sign these before the course begins. It is your decision now whether to enroll and accept the risks of this program.

With any questions, please email info@discoverysoutheast.org



Past Teacher Expeditions (History is bound to repeat itself)

Juneau Icefield from Above and Below (2015)

In coordination with the Juneau Icefield Research Program and UAS instructors Cathy Connor and Mike Hekkers, this course allows teachers to explore Juneau’s most iconic landform.  This five day trip spends three days (two nights) at Camp 17, just off the Juneau Ice Field and Blackerby Ridge. Learn glaciology, geology, and climate studies on the ice, then spend time at sea level at one of the world’s best resources for public education on climate change, the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center.  Discovery Southeast naturalist Richard Carstensen will lead lessons on the natural history of glaciers and deglaciated regions, and naturalist Steve Merli will lead sessions on working with students outdoors. Lessons emphasize how to bring the material back to the classrooms—or the classrooms to the outdoors.  Participants seeking continuing education credit will develop a final project consisting of a lesson plan for their classes.  Made possible through generous support from the Mountaineers Foundation and Northstar Trekking.  Check it out on KTOO.

Ecology “Out the Road”: Eagle River to Berner’s Bay (2015)

Out the road…like only in Juneau.  Wild watersheds with some of Southeast’s richest, most diverse old-growth habitat support brown bear and moose.  This hands-on, multidisciplinary course will prepare Juneau educators for school-year activities in the region commonly referred to as ‘out-the-road,’ from Asx’ée, twisted tree (Eagle River) to Daxanáak, between 2 points,(Berners Bay). It will deepen teachers’ understanding of the natural and cultural history of these mostly undeveloped watersheds, as well as their comfort level in bringing students here. For participants from outside the Juneau School District, our studies and explorations of this incomparable natural area will bring familiarity with the interwoven fields of geology, hydrology, ecology, and cultural studies that can be applied throughout our coastal rainforest bioregion.

Brown Bears of Admiralty Island, Pack Creek (2005-2015)

Accessing the renowned bear habitat of Pack Creek by float plane, teachers camp and kayak in this stunning, wild area for five days.  This is a behind the scenes experience of an area most tourists only get to peek into.  Teachers immerse themselves in this astounding place with a knowledgable instructor and an experienced guide, learning the natural history of the area and its bears, and exploring how to bring those lessons alive for their classes.This trip is made possible, and affordable for teachers, thanks to generous support from Coeur Alaska.

Whales of Icy Strait (2008-2014)

Study the behavior, habitat and management issues of humpback whales and other marine mammals such as sea lions, seals and killer whales while kayaking in Icy Strait and camping along the north shore of Chichagof Island. We explore the ecological connections between terrestrial and marine systems and the effects of human use patterns on the landscape through forest, meadow and stream walks in the uplands bordering these rich marine mammal feeding waters.

Seals, Glaciers, and Climate Change: Kayaking the Wilderness of Endicott Arm (2010-2014)

Teachers spend five days kayaking and camping in Endicott Arm, with instruction from the US Forest Service.  Topics include glaciers and climate change as well as wilderness and wildlife, with a focus on seals and pupping.  Endicott Arm is an intimate, gorgeous, remote, and stunning location to learn about wilderness, glaciers, and climate change.