KMTA is the proud operator of the Alaska Outdoor School (AOS). The mission of AOS is to cultivate lifelong stewardship of public lands in Alaska through residential, place-based outdoor education for Alaskan youth. By connecting students with the curiosity and wonder that only outdoor spaces can inspire, even the simple and joyous act of skipping a rock on Portage Lake can be deeply impactful and powerful experience.
AOS is education through adventure! Students reap the mental and physical benefits of being outdoors and engage directly with the natural world to learn outdoor skills, natural and cultural history, science, recreation activities, career options, and social-emotional skills. This enables students to develop an appreciation for Alaska’s public lands and natural resources, think critically about big questions, and build resiliency in our changing world. We hope all students leave AOS with new knowledge and new connections to themselves, their peers, and the land.
AOS is committed to an instructional model that includes outdoor adventure, scientific thinking, and self-discovery. We do this by:
- Extending multidisciplinary instruction beyond the classroom to stimulate learning & provide students with opportunities to have positive outdoor experiences while strengthening outdoor skills.
- Improving students’ knowledge and appreciation of Alaska’s natural beauty and resources by exposing students to nature through adventurous learning.
- Partnering with government agencies, school districts, businesses, and nonprofit organizations.
- Exposing students to diverse career pathways by utilizing experts in their field as program instructors.
AOS is committed to equity, inclusion, accessibility and cultural relevance in all program elements. We do this by:
- Expanding access to outdoor education through an equitable fee structure that addresses the complex barriers to the outdoors that many students face.
- Modeling an inclusive mindset toward outdoor recreation and environmental stewardship by exposing students to the diverse ways to use and enjoy public lands.
- Benefiting students’ physical, social and emotional health through play, group work and cooperative activities.
AOS is based at the Chugach National Forest’s Begich, Boggs Visitor Center in Portage, Alaska. The Visitor Center is perched above the shore of Portage Lake in the heart of Portage Valley, whose rich cultural and natural history affords students an incredible diversity of environments to explore.
ELIGIBILITY & COST
Alaska Outdoor School is currently open to 5th grade students in the Anchorage School District. Enrollment is by school (all 5th grade classes/students are eligible to participate) and coordinated in partnership with the ASD Health & PE Department. KMTA is committed to working with students, teachers, schools, and parents to ensure cost is never a barrier to program participation. Our fee structure is as follows:
• Non-title I schools: $150 per student (pre-visit + two night/three day program + post-visit)
• Title I schools: Free
We realize that Title I status is not always the most accurate indication of need. If you are a non-Title I school interested in subsidized program fees please provide a brief statement of need on your program application. If you are a Title I school with the resources to fund your students’ participation, please consider waiving your subsidized rate so that we can support additional student participation in the program.
Are you an outdoor enthusiast? Do you work in a field related to public lands or natural resources? Do you want to share your skills and knowledge with the next generation of Alaskans? Volunteer with Alaska Outdoor School!
If you are interested in supporting Alaska Outdoor School or other KMTA Education Programs through student sponsorship, in-kind support or strategic partnership, please visit our Ways to Support Page using the link below. Thank you!