Copper River Record March 7, 2019
By Robin Mayo
Teenagers eager for adventure are invited to apply for the 2019 Copper River Stewardship Program. For over a decade, this program has provided an eye-opening opportunity to explore the watershed from the headwaters to the delta, and make friends from diverse communities. It will be held from July 16-27th, 2019.
Copper River Stewardship Program is a 10-day trip that includes science, wilderness exploration, writing, service projects, and other elements designed to grow awareness of the scale, diversity, and complexity of the Copper River Watershed. It is open to all youth currently in 8th-12th grade who have significant ties to the watershed. As well as students from the Copper Basin, Cordova, and Valdez areas, we also welcome participants with strong cultural or family ties to the region.
The adventure is a little different every year, but always includes time spent both in the Copper River Basin and the Copper River Delta near Cordova. Activities have included rafting, canoeing, hiking, and camping. This year’s theme is “Stories in the Landscape,” so we plan to explore geology and learn the stories of the land and people.
Applications are due March 29th. The cohort of 10 youth will be chosen to represent the diversity of communities and backgrounds in the region. For many youth, a highlight is the strong friendships that are formed when you camp, eat, travel and learn together for 10 days. Copper Basin youth marvel at the civilized amenities of Cordova and the size of the temperate rain forest, and their downstream friends wonder “will we EVER get there?” as they experience a typical van ride in the Copper River Basin.
Students can earn high school credit for their participation. The program has already been approved for credit by Copper River School District and Cordova City Schools. Students from other districts have had credit granted as well. To earn ½ elective credit, students must participate in all aspects of the program, and create a final project which will share their experience with their community.
If you’d like to learn what it is like to be a steward, check out the final projects posted on the WISE website, including videos, graphics, and writing. www.wise-edu.org/copper-river-stewardship-program.html. The application packet can also be found at that location. Learning is important, but there is also plenty of fun, including campfires, sliding in the mud of the Copper River Delta, and sharing good food and adventures with friends.
Copper River Stewardship Program is organized by WISE along with Copper River Watershed Project, Prince William Sound Science Center, US Bureau of Land Management Glennallen Field Office, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, and the US Forest Service Cordova Ranger District.
Photo: A day spent maintaining Dusky Canada Goose nest islands on the Copper River Delta is a highlight for many stewards.
Who We Are
WISEfriends are several writers connected with Wrangell Institute for Science and Environment, a nonprofit organization located in Alaska's Copper River Valley. Most of these articles originally appeared in our local newspaper, the Copper River Record.