Ranger-guided Education Programs

Education Booklet 2013
Kenai Fjords Educational Programs (1.27 MB)

Kenai Fjords National Park offers a landscape that few people in the world get to see without great effort. For Alaskan students it is a place to witness geological forces in action, climate change observed in glacial recession, plant succession laid out in clearly defined steps and animal adaptations that allow for life in an often harsh environment.

We hope to see you and your students soon to share the wonders found in your backyard.

On this page, you will find a list of the current offerings from our education staff.

All programs are free to educational groups.

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Wildlife, Habitat, & Earth Sciences
Clouds & Water Cycle
Alutiiq (Native Alaskan)
"Leave No Trace"

A student, magnifying glass in hand, lighlty touches a sea star that was found while exploring the beach.
Magnifying glass in hand, this student is exploring the marine ecosystem, and becoming friends with a local sea star.

NPS Photo

Marine Programs
Tidepool Trekking for K-2nd grades
This program begins with a 40 minute classroom discussion of tides and tide pool etiquette followed by a 90 minute hands-on exploration of the local intertidal ecosystem of Lowell Point State Park. Offered through cooperation with the state park, a national park ranger guides students in a safe -for both creatures and students- and fun encounter with the invertebrates of the intertidal. Due to the fragility of the Lowell Point Ecosystem this program is offered on a limited basis.
  • Spring - Classroom & Beach
Beach Ecosystems for 2nd & 3rd grades
A 75 minute trip to Seward's Fourth of July Beach will reveal living and non-living wonders of the local ecosystem. Students will learn about plankton, tides, algae, marine mammals, invertebrates, fresh and salt water and how these things interact in the ecosystem. This program also emphasizes biodiversity and our role as stewards to these places.
  • Spring - Beach
Getting to Know Algae for 5th & 6th grades
Students will visit Fourth of July Beach at low tide and look at algae that feed, protect and cover the intertidal ecosystem. This is a great 1.5 hour lesson for those looking at classification, because some algae still baffle scientists as to their exact origins. Students will examine several species of algae from three readily available phlya.
  • Spring/Summer - Beach
Piecing Together the Fjord Estuary Ecosystem Puzzle for 5th-7th grades
A 2 hour walk along Seward's waterfront gives students a look into past glacialogy, and present day estuary dynamics. Student groups will have a backpack of supplies to aid in their observations of the area. Participants will be asked to consider essential questions such as: How does geology influence human land use in the Resurrection Bay area? Students' observations can be used to fuel further discussion or a project in the classroom.
  • Spring/Fall - Beach
A black bear walks along the rocky beaches of the park.
In "Thinking About Bears", students will have an opportunity to learn about the lives of these icons of Alaska.

NPS Photo

Wildlife, Habitat, and Earth Science Programs

Home Sweet Home for K-1st grades
This 2 hour program is designed to be a first field trip experience for young students. Students will get a chance to explore the Exit Glacier area, visiting park rangers at several stations to learn about how wildlife survive near and in a glacier. Hands on activities keep students engaged and informed about the place these creatures call home.
  • Fall - Exit Glacier
Thinking About Bears for 3rd-6th grades
This 45 minute PowerPoint presentation generates questions and comments from students and gets them thinking about bears. The program is a useful tool in the Fall when bears are often seen preparing for hibernation, or in Spring when students may be spending a lot of time outside.
  • Fall/Spring - Classroom
The Rock Cycle for 3rd-5th grades
This 2 hour walk focuses on how the rock cycle is activley changing the Exit Glacier area, as well as how it has shaped this landscape over time. Students will witness the processes of the rockcycle and learn how geology effects their lives.
  • Fall - Exit Glacier
Habitat is Where I'm At (indoors-based) for 1st & 2nd grades
This program brings a park ranger to your classroom for a 45 minute visit. The ranger will read a story about animals in Kenai Fjords National Park and help students understand what makes up a creature's habitat.
  • Fall - Classroom
Habitat is Where I'm At (outdoors-based) for 1st & 2nd grades
The classroom visit is followed up with a trip to Kenai Fjords National Park. On a 1.5 hour walk with a ranger, students will explore the habitat of animals that make their home near a glacier. Students will also answer the question "What is my habitat?"
  • Fall - Exit Glacier
Clouds cover a lonely peak near Exit Glacier. NPS / Katie Peck
Clouds and their effect on the water cycle are the focus of these programs.

NPS / Katie Peck

Water Cycle Programs

Did You Know That Clouds Have Names? for 3rd-5th grades
This 1.5 hour class has two parts- a PowerPoint presentation that will help students learn to identify clouds and a drawing portion that will help students keep a cloud journal. These activities work well with a unit about the water cycle in your classroom, and as a pre-visit for the 'Water, Water Everywhere' field trip.
  • Fall - Classroom
Water, Water Everywhere for 3rd-5th grades
This 2 hour walk is the perfect follow up to the classroom cloud program. Students will observe trees transpiring and groundwater seeping to the surface. They will discuss meltwater and weather and identify how each part of the weather cycle impacts the Exit Glacier area.
  • Fall - Exit Glacier
A student stands on a bridge, next to a park ranger, and writes down observations about the plant life of Kenai Fjords.
In "Botany by GPS", students have the opportunity to explore and observe the variety of plant life that surrounds the Exit Glacier area.

NPS Photo

Botany Programs

Finding Your Way in the World for 6th grade
This 1.5 hour program is a pre-visit component to 'Botany by GPS'. Students will become familiar with GPS units and plant ID books that they will later use to find plants at Exit Glacier. Students will learn how GPS works and why having a common language for location is so important. Rangers will provide plant books and GPS units that classes can keep until their field trip.
  • Fall - Classroom
Botany by GPS for 6th grade
In this practical application of 'Finding Your Way in the World' students spend 2.5 hours exploring the Exit Glacier trails finding and photographing plants and other things they notice along the way. Teachers are encouraged to extend this lesson by having students create photo presentations to share what they've learned at Kenai Fjords National Park.
  • September only - Exit Glacier
Archaeological depiction of Alutiiq woman wearing a bridal veil. NPS Photo.
This archaeological depiction of Alutiiq woman wearing a traditional bridal veil shows a part of the rich culture found in Kenai Fjords.

NPS Photo

Alutiiq Programs

The People of the Park: Native Alutiiq Curriculum for 2nd-5th grades
This unit focuses on the ways people used to live on the land that is now Kenai Fjords National Park. Students will examine how weather and water influenced where homes were built. They will investigate how houses were constructed, how food was gathered, how clothing was made, and how transportation was managed. The activities and lessons take 3-8 class periods to complete.
  • February & March - Classroom
Three students from Obhiro, Japan, stand on the edge of Exit Creek, measuring the temperature of  the water and following the directions of an Education Ranger.
These students from Obhiro, Japan study the temperature of the melt-water coming from Exit Glacier.

NPS Photo

Glacier Programs

What's in a National Park? for 3rd-5th grades
This 50 minute classroom visit by a park ranger will introduce students to the concept of National Parks. From there they will look at the reasons why individual parks were created and then examine the reason for Kenai Fjords National Park. Students will learn about the Harding Icefield and its connection to the park's glaciers. This program is designed as a precursor to the Glacier Tracks program.
  • Spring/Fall - Classroom
Glacier Tracks for 3rd-5th grades
Students will hike for 2.5 hours on the trails at Exit Glacier exploring the effects of glacial advance and recession on the landscape.
  • Spring/Fall - Exit Glacier
Recess for Glaciers, Success for Plants for 5th grade
On this 2 hour walk, students will explore changes in plant life from the outwash plain to the spruce/hemlock forests surrounding Exit Glacier. They will gain an understanding of the ongoing, dynamic process of succession and their own impacts on a landscape in transition.
  • Fall - Exit Glacier
Logo for Leave No Trace, Center for Outdoor Ethics.


Leave No Trace Education

"Leave No Trace" for 1st-6th grades
This program covers the seven "Leave No Trace" principles as introduced by the Peak program. Students will spend 1.5 hours on the trails at Exit Glacier exploring their impact on the ecosystem.
  • Spring/Summer - Exit Glacier

Last updated: September 11, 2021

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PO Box 1727
Seward, AK 99664


907 422-0500

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