Recent DSE teacher training classes & expeditions

Discovery began offering recertification classes for teachers within a few years of our founding, in the early 1990s. Place-based materials from these pre-digital workshops can be found in SCHOOLS>Schools of Áak’w & T’aakú Aaní, and more-generic subject-based materials (eg Birds, Geology) are in SCHOOLS>Nature near the schools: thematic workshops.

Teachers visited the ‘candelabra tree’ in Kanak‘aa, skinny (Seymour Canal) during our June, 2017 expedition.

For a decade or so into the new millenium, DSE offerings for teachers lapsed, then were revived in the form of expeditionary outings, led first by Icy Strait naturalists Bob Christensen and Hank Lentfer. Then, in 2016, Steve Merli and I began leading them again, this time with Discovery naturalist Kelly Sorensen.

2016: Hobbit Hole

This gathering was on invitation from the Inian Island Institute, now the Tidelands Institute. I had never been to Dakáa Xoo, among the sleeping man, and jumped at the chance to see this fabled place. My 56-page journal/course manual summarizes its natural and cultural history.

2017: Kanak‘aa

With help from ABAK Above & beyond Alaska, Discovery guided teachers on Xutsnoowú. Steve and I, with help from DSE naturalist-guide Maia Wolfe, ‘revived’ a tradition of bear-focused kayak-based classes begun by longtime Discovery supporter John Neary, back when he was a wilderness ranger on this island. My 68-page scoping document & journal chronicles this adventure.

For perhaps understandable reasons, it’s always been fairly easy for Discovery to fill teacher expeditions to exciting destinations like Pack Creek and Hobbit Hole. But teachers can’t bring classes to such remote locations. More recent outings have focused closer to Discovery’s daily ‘unroofed auditorium,’ the fascinating wildlands in walking and easy driving distances from local schools.

2018: Kaalahéenak’u & Áak’w Táak (Outer Point-&-Valley)

Transitioning to local, non-expeditionary teacher workshops, we launched a series emphasizing landforms, habitats and cultural history of favorite hiking destinations accessible from on CBJ roads. Although themes—geology, succession, settlement patterns, etc—were consistent year to year, locations change, so teachers can enroll in successive years without fear of redundancy. In this inaugural year, we paired a coastal site on Sayéik (D-word Island) with an ‘interior site,’ Áak’w Táak (M-word Valley)

2019: Kaxdigoowu Héen & Eeyák’w (Montana-Amalga)

Continuing the landforms and habitats focus, we featured another coastal-&-inland pair: Eeyák’w (Amalga meadows/Peterson) and Kaxdigoowu Héen (Montana Creek). My journals for 2018 and 2019 are still in fairly skeletal form, but will be uploaded eventually.

2020: Covid hiatus; Sealaska conferences

At Discovery, unable to offer our standard outdoor get-togethers, we felt that adding one more zoom conference to teachers’ lives was not in the cards. However, we’ve been deeply impressed with Sealaska’s successes extending teacher workshops and conferences into the digital realm, and have done our best to bring natural history expertise into these culturally-focused seminars.

2021: Places flat and steep

Finally, by early summer, 2021, Discovery naturalists felt safe convening unmasked (vaccinated!) groups outside. As followers of Goatlandia are by now aware, much of my energy since October has been directed to the very steep slopes where mountain goats winter. Planning for this year’s outings, Steve, Kelly and I decided to contrast the ecology of extremely flat estuaries with the vertical realms of Janwú.

In this section

Teachers’ outings 2021

What a pleasure to hang out with teachers again! From June 10 to 13th, 2021, Steve Merli, Kelly Sorensen and…

Teachers’ outings, 2021

Year-3: Estuaries & steep places Two kinds of landforms & habitats have consumed my attention this winter and spring—estuaries and…

2021 | Richard Carstensen | 60 page journal & course manual

Teachers at Dakáa Xoo (Inian Islands).

Dakáa Xoo, among the sleeping man, references a hero story important to the Xunaa Tlingít. The Inians guard the bottleneck…

2016 | Richard Carstensen | 56 pages

Teachers at Kanak’aa (Seymour Canal)

Since 2001, under the initiative of our friend John Neary (then with Admiralty Monument; now at the glacier visitor center),…

2017 | Richard Carstensen | 68 pages, 11 MB