Discovery Southeast: Teacher Expedition to Inian Islands Wilderness Area

Seeking to preserve wilderness character by working on Wilderness Stewardship Performance (WSP) is more than the Forest Service can accomplish alone. Education—one of the core and mandatory WSP elements—can be particularly challenging to achieve and measure. By working together with Discovery Southeast, the Tongass is able to meet this challenge and preserve wilderness character for the enjoyment of present and future generations.

A week-long Teacher Expedition (July 2016) to the Pleasant/Lemesurier/Inian Islands Wilderness Area on the Hoonah Ranger District led by Discovery Southeast and co-hosted by the Inian Islands Istitute, immersed 16 local educators in an in-depth, hands-on learning semiar to increase their understanding of Wilderness values and their capacity to bring the lessons back to their classrooms.

“Instruction through exploration: this is the way we need to approach it with our students—it was perfect.”  DSE Teacher Expedition Participant

Through this immersive continuing education opportunity for teachers, Discovery Southeast has provided the link necessary to engage nearly 500 students this school year, and for years to come, in lessons on the value and history of Tongass National Forest Wilderness.

Discovery Southeast’s expertise and community connections makes them an invaluable partner for the Forest Service. Beginning in a single classroom over 25 years ago, they pioneered conservation education programs to engage children and teachers with the natural world and to foster a sense of stewardship for the Tongass National Forest. Today, the organization is thriving and working to serve the entire community through its core Nature Studies program as well as after-school programs, summer camps, school-year day camps, and teacher trainings. 

Through the partnership with Discovery Southeast, the Tongass National Forest and our communities benefit. Visit Discovery Southeast for more information on their mission, history, and programs including the Outdoor Explorers Summer Camp at Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center.

Inian Islands Wilderness Area teacher lead expedition
Discovery Southeast Teacher Expedition participants soak in knowledge on the Inian Islands on the Hoonah Ranger District during a session led by Richard Carstensen (l), Discovery Southeast Lead Naturalist and author of The Nature of Southeast Alaska, and Zach Brown (r), Executive Director of the Inian Islands Institute. Photo courtesy of Discovery Southeast.