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The Wilderness Experience at Alaska Pacific University

If you want to make a wilderness adventure out of your college years, there’s no better landscape than Alaska. Those students who want to combine their love of the earth with their course of study find the perfect connection at Alaska Pacific University, a Methodist-affiliated school located in Anchorage, Alaska.

Alaska Pacific University offers an intimate college educational experience, with around 500 undergraduate and graduate students on campus, about one quarter of which are American Indian/Alaskan.

Unique Programs of Study

Individuals who are interested in addressing environmental concerns facing this generation and the future of our planet can choose from several unique programs at Alaska Pacific. 

Students enrolled in the BA in Sustainability Studies program have the opportunity to design their own course of study based on their specific interests and career goals. The program is especially suited for individuals interested in exploring sustainability as it connects with other disciplines in the humanities and social sciences in Alaska. The program features two unique courses: Green Global Politics and Human Impacts in Marine Systems, both of which focus on the way human behaviors impact the environment. 

The student concerned about the environment’s health specifically in Arctic communities might consider Alaska Pacific’s BS in Environmental Public Health. Those especially interested in marine biology, fisheries, ecology, climate change, aquarium and husbandry science may choose Alaska Pacific’s BS in Marine and Environmental Sciences, as well as a Master’s degree in Environmental Science, perfect for those who want to pursue a career in the natural sciences.

For students interested in working outdoors as part of the National Parks system, outdoor recreation and tourism, wilderness therapy, or natural resource management can choose the BA in Outdoor Studies program. This course of study includes month-long expeditions within Alaska, outside of the state, and internationally.

Teaching Others a Love of the Outdoors

If sustainability and socially responsible living is the heartbeat of your life, you may hope to spread that passion to others. Alaska Pacific’s Master of Science in Outdoor & Environmental Education provides students the opportunity to teach in the field, literally, as they spend time each semester on the APU Kellogg Spring Creek Farm Campus in Palmer, Alaska.

This nearly one-of-a-kind master’s degree equips individuals with the experience they need to integrate outdoor education into a wide array of interdisciplinary studies, whether they’re already an instructor somewhere or just have a passion for the outdoors. The program prepares students to develop curriculum and practice teaching both children and adults in the hands-on learning environment offered at the Kellogg Campus’ Kellogg FIELD School.

Hands-On Outdoor Learning at the Kellogg Campus

During a time when men wouldn’t consider selling land to a woman, Louise Kellogg persisted, and the Spring Creek Farm that started from an unfinished plot of 240 acres grew under her steady and persevering hand. Kellogg’s passion for farming and agriculture made this 700-acre learning landscape a reality. The Kellogg Spring Creek Farm Campus honors the legacy and pioneer spirit of Louise Kellogg by offering students project-based learning on resilient food systems and renewable, innovative design.

The Kellogg Campus is home for both the Sustainability Program and the MS in Outdoor & Environmental Education. The farm provides hands-on instruction in all aspects of small scale organic vegetable production. Everything grown on the farm is folded back into the APU community through food services, an onsite farmer’s market, and donations to the food insecure through Alaska Tilth.

Louise Kellogg once said, “Without the serenity of fields and woods, animals and friendly birds in their natural setting, a private educational institution can offer only book learning, not real education.” Through the Kellogg Campus, students enrich their academic career with experiential learning.

Sustainability Infused into Campus Culture

Alaska Pacific emphasizes environmental care and sustainability across campus, regardless of your program of study. Through their Environmental Commitment in Dining, the school joins students together to think  intentionally about the ways we live and eat. Endeavors like their food composting program, a biodiesel alternative fuel initiative, a recycling program, and local purchases and organics initiative connect the care of creation to students’ everyday life.

And of course, since Alaska Pacific is situated in Anchorage, Alaska, the outdoors is just a stone’s throw away. The Jim Mahaffey Trail System weaves miles of trails for biking and hiking through the sprawling 175 acres of forestland that surround APU. The school also offers coordinated hiking, biking, kayaking, skiing, rock climbing, and more through its Outdoor Programs so students can explore everything Alaska has to offer. Student clubs, including the Alaska Sports Club, Alaska Fisheries Society, and the Nordic Ski Club provide ample opportunities for students to come together with like-minded friends and experience all that the natural world has to offer.

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