Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies and Internship

My daughter is very interested in the sciences and wanted to do an internship this summer, so she started looking around Homer for possibilities. There were 4 or 5 places that offered science or outdoor type internships. She applied with the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies and joined 3 other high school students from around the country (Connecticut, California and Anchorage) who supported the many youth-oriented educational programs the CACS offers. The most distinct aspect of this internship is that there was a lot of variety. One day would be greeting folks at the Wynn Nature Center, the next would be giving dock tours on the Spit, and 3 or 4 days would be across Kachemak Bay at the Peterson Bay Field Station assisting with People to People visits or day tours.

With all this variety, I thought I would show a snapshot of the different places she worked, as all of them are things to do and places to visit that both locals and visitors to Homer would enjoy.

Wynn Nature Center

Awesome view from the Cottonwood Trail benches

For all the hiking I do and my ability to sniff out trails, I never had an inkling about the Wynn Cottonwood Trail

It is a quick 5-10 minute hike to the overlook from Skyline Road East. Aurora helped with trail maintenance this summer along these trails.

Four benches allow one to relax and enjoy a tremendous view of the Homer area

A funky tree along Wynn Lower Trail

The Daisy Lee Bitter cabin at Wynn
Entrance to Wynn Nature Center

View from the viewing platform at Wynn (picture by Alisa Aist)


Day camps were based at headquarters, some housing is provided for college interns, and all programs went through the CACS headquarters building next door to Ulmers in Homer 

The Yurt

The yurt on the spit next to Mako's Water Taxi is the CACS spot for exploring the sealife on the dock, hosting Little S.P.I.T.S. and S.P.I.T. Kids, outdoor educational programs that run weekly all summer long. As an intern Aurora got to help with those programs as well, discovering all sorts of neat creatures in the Homer Harbor.

Peterson Bay Field Station

Entrance to Peterson Bay Field Station

The fire pit at PBFS

The nice new dock at PBFS

Gorgeous sunset at PBFS

The field station has yurts for groups that come over to sleep, a main house for staff to sleep in and with the kitchen and a meeting room, and a bathrooms/shower/storage room building. Numerous trails criss-cross the private land that abuts the field station, but which folks who are there may use when accompanied by staff. In the summer it is a hopping place, with People to People student groups there weekly, as well as Coastal Studies special camps, such as Teen Camp and Marine Mammal Camp, both of which Aurora helped with.

The biggest thing I discovered this summer is that the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies offers a lot of educational programs for kids of all ages, all summer long. Many of these programs are run by paid college interns who are learning a lot in the process. Youth come from around the country and world to visit the programs, and interns come from around the country and world to run the programs. There is a rich diversity of people to match the variety of activities and the diverse habitat of Kachemak Bay.

As an internship, it was a great experience for Aurora and the high school intern we hosted, Alisa. I have a much greater appreciation for the CACS and recommend their many offerings to folks visiting, or locals looking to get to know the area better.

Thanks Alisa Aist, for pictures and video clips!


Audrey Welborn said...

Sometime ago I wrote and asked you about your greenhouse beds, what they were made of and the dimensions. We are now getting ready to build some, and I cannot find the information you sent me about your beds. Would you mind repeating this information, and what the bed were made of, I thought I remembered cedar.

What kind of winter are you having this year, I miss your posts.

Thank you so much,
Audrey Welborn
Charlottesville, Va.

Michelle Waclawski said...


I miss the blogging, but it's amazing how full-time work plus a busy life fills up my time. It has taken me almost a week just to reply to your comment!

I don't know what kind of wood our greenhouse beds are made of since we didn't do them--I'm sure a google search can come up with something. Our greenhouse raised beds are only about a foot deep and that seems too shallow. Two feet wide gives me enough room to plant lettuce or other greens in front of or behind the main plant, to be harvested before those plants reach full size. Length, of course, is up to you.

Enjoy your process and good to hear from you again!