As part of the federal program, Every Kid in a Park, the Anchorage Park Foundation Schools on Trails program received funding from the US Forest Service to sponsor and coordinate field trips to the Chugach National Forest at Portage Glacier and the Begich Boggs Visitor Center for 4th grade students from three elementary schools in Anchorage. Students from Tyson Elementary, Mountain View Elementary, and Taku Elementary, attended the field trips with their parent chaperones, teachers, and principals, which included a USFS ranger led glacier tour on Portage Lake aboard the mv Ptarmigan and activities at the Begich Boggs Visitor Center.
USFS rangers taught the kids about glacier formation and change, glacial silt and moraine, vegetation succession, and wildlife. Students were able to hold glacier ice and silt, and observe the vastness, colors, and crevasses of the glacier. This was a unique and enriching opportunity for the students to be immersed in the natural glacial landscape of this park and to learn about its formation. Students were also given Every Kid in a Park passes by a USFS ranger and information on how their families can use them to access federal public lands.
We are excited to continue our Portage Valley field trips in 2017, with 4th grade students from Mountain View Elementary School, William Tyson Elementary School, Fairview Elementary School, and Creekside Park Elementary School.