Discussion in an outdoor classroom. Photo credit: Jesse Wright.

Discussion in an outdoor classroom. Photo credit: Jesse Wright.

Hiking the hills. Photo credit: Sophie Gilbert.

Hiking the hills. Photo credit: Sophie Gilbert.

“When you come here and become part of it, it will change your understanding of what community and relationships with other people can be.”
-Ben Shaine
“. . . Regardless of how many people you talk to, how many pictures you look at, you probably won’t be fully prepared for what you’ll experience.”
-Jeremy Pataky

The Alaska Wrangell Mountains Field Studies offers 16 transferable upper level quarter hour credits (10-11 semester credit equivalency) to college students for an interdisciplinary summer term. Alaska Wrangell Mountains Field Studies is unique in that it combines rigorous academics, expeditions in remote and trail-less backcountry, and life experience with an off-the-grid park gateway community amidst vast Alaska mountain wildlands.

The Wrangell Mountains Center hosts the field studies, and academic credit is awarded through The Evergreen State College. Students may touch upon and work within fields such as natural history, biology and life science, botany, ecology, environmental studies, cultural studies, sustainability studies, writing, visual arts, geology, outdoor leadership and education, philosophy of science, hydrology, zoology, geography, and community studies. Visit The Evergreen State College's Academic Catalogue for a detailed course description.

With glaciers flowing from 16,000-foot peaks, canyons deeper than Yosemite, and spruce-forested valleys, this study area is in the middle of North America's largest international complex of protected wilderness lands. Glaciation, volcanism, erosion and ecological succession are exposed and active, making it an ideal natural laboratory in which to study Alaska’s landscape of extremes. This is also an opportunity to explore how national park gateway residents and environmental professionals grapple with sustaining both ecosystems and the Alaska bush lifestyle in the face of global change.

Click on this short video:

Our home base is the isolated community of McCarthy, which existed before park creation. Situated within the U.S.'s largest national park, McCarthy is at the intersection of rapid environmental change, national conservation policy, and subsistence livelihoods that are part of daily life. Here, students engage as investigators and participants in nuanced park-people conflicts as well as small-scale solutions to living off-grid in community. Since the early 1980s, WMC has been using both science and humanities to introduce upper-level undergraduate students to the wild alpine and-glacier rich landscape of Alaska. 

Alaska Wrangell Mountains Field Studies may satisfy a field course requirement and serve as an interdisciplinary alternative to single-subject field camps in anthropology, natural history, or geology. Students will leave not only with extensive knowledge about the Wrangell-St. Elias region, but also with the skills to explore and understand the natural world through ecological, geological, social science, and artistic perspectives.

We welcome you to join us for Summer 2017! The Field Studies start June 22, 2017 and go through August 9, 2017. A maximum of 16 students will be accepted. 

Apply here.


Nizina Glacier. Photo credit: Shawn Olson

Nizina Glacier. Photo credit: Shawn Olson

Learn more: 


A Day-in-the-Life

Faculty Profiles



Banner photo: Hiking in the Wrangells. Photo credit: Karen Mager.