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October 3, 2022 Karen Lewis

Anchorage Outdoor School is now Alaska Outdoor School: Education Through Adventure!

Here in the KMTA NHA, signs of fall are everywhere- yellow leaves, the return of the starry night sky, and a transportation corridor growing quiet as the peak tourist season draws to a close. 

Over the summer, KMTA’s Education Programs underwent exciting redesign and development. The success of our Anchorage-based day programs last spring showed us with clarity the positive impacts of outdoor education and solidified our commitment to providing high-quality and accessible programming for students. For the upcoming school year, students who participate in KMTA programs will adventure outside of their home communities and set out on the path of discovery at locations within the Heritage Area. Keep reading to learn more about Alaska Outdoor School, KMTA Pathfinders, and Fresh Air Fridays!

Pack your bags because Outdoor School is headed back to Portage!

KMTA’s Alaska Outdoor School (formerly Anchorage Outdoor School) will offer residential outdoor school programming at the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center in Portage Valley, back for the first time since 2019! Here, students are immersed in a dynamic and exciting environment where they can study glaciers up close on the Trail of Blue Ice, see salmon traveling up Portage Creek to spawn, and marvel at the many textures, shapes, and colors of the Valley and its residents. Over the course of three days, students and teachers alike reap the physical, mental, social and emotional benefits of time in nature. Providing opportunities for students to adventure away from home and connect with the many amazing public lands in Alaska is central to our mission, and AOS in Portage Valley is an exciting first step. This year, Alaska Outdoor School will be offered to 5th grade classes in Spring 2023. 

Get students outside all year long with KMTA Pathfinders

Our parks-based day programs showed us that just one or two days spent outside provides major benefits, but that outdoor learning starts with how to be outside for a whole day and be comfortable enough to want to explore and learn. For many, the program was ending just as they were finally hitting their stride! KMTA Pathfinders begins with a pre-visit from our education staff, then takes students into the outdoor classroom over a series of 3 field trips that take place throughout the school year, allowing students to build on their outdoor skills and truly reap the benefits of outdoor learning. The curriculum can be tailored to align with and support classroom-based learning and a variety of student ages. Teachers interested in the Pathfinders program can reach out to Education Programs Manager Sarah Schuh at sarahschuh@kmtacorridor.org for more information. 

Fresh Air Fridays, coming soon to a KMTA community near you!

Looking for something for your kids to do on school in-service days? This year, KMTA will be piloting a new community-based program series that provides kids with a safe and exciting space to play games, learn new skills and activities, and spend the day OUTSIDE! This program will work with local community members, organizations, and businesses to provide unique outdoor learning opportunities to youth, and will rotate throughout the KMTA communities of Seward, Moose Pass, Cooper Landing, Hope, Girdwood, and Whittier over the course of the year. Stay tuned for a program schedule and more information.

Support Outdoor Learning in your National Heritage Area

Our education programs are supported by a diverse coalition of partner organizations and community volunteers. Organizations, businesses and individuals looking to get involved in the work we’re doing to expand place-based, experiential learning opportunities for youth can support us in two main ways:

Volunteer With Us We have opportunities to work directly with students, help out behind-the-scenes with operations and logistics, or capture the magic through photo/video support. We can work with you to match you with the role that works best for you and/or your organization.

Donate or become a KMTA Sponsor Your financial support can help us expand our programmatic reach and capacity. Together we can get kids from throughout Southcentral Alaska outdoors and exploring the Heritage Area all year long!

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