Alaska Endeavour runs 12-day natural history research expeditions for high school juniors and seniors in teams of six, with a faculty member from their school and our captain and crew.
We take the student team to a well-defined wilderness site – an island, a lagoon, a glacier, or a river mouth -- where they conduct a type of census we call a benchmark study. A benchmark study is a snapshot of the location at a certain point in time. It tells other researchers what animals and plants are there now, and it gives future researchers a way to measure the effects over time of logging, fishing, mining, pollution, and global warming.
For the study, each student focuses on one of six aspects of natural history: marine mammals, land mammals and bats, fish and marine invertebrates, birds and terrestrial invertebrates, geology and paleontology, or botany and mycology.
After the expedition, each student writes a section of the paper describing their observations at the site. We publish the paper and each student earns an author credit, which can be a good addition to a college application.
The science is real. So is each student's contribution to conservation.
While on board, each student and a teammate are responsible for specific tasks: galley duty (cooking and cleanup), deck duty (fenders, lines, maintenance), and watch duty (weather and tide check, helm watch, and logbook). The teams rotate through the different duties every three days.
Our students see and do astonishing things. Their perspective of life on Earth deepens immeasurably. Some may become scientists. All of them become scientifically literate advocates for conservation and preservation.
The expedition is led by Bill Urschel, a U.S. Coast Guard licensed 100-ton master. The Endeavour has been designated a research vessel by the U.S. Coast Guard.
To request a copy of our curriculum and inquire about available dates and costs, please click the button below.
Student researchers in Kukak Bay
Identifying crabs in Tenakee Inlet
New ornithologist on the Alaska Peninsula