Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies
About Us

Beautiful Kachemak Bay is home for the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies.  We offer many opportunities for people of all ages to connect with the outdoors through guided walks, tours, educational programs, overnights, school programs and more.  As a 501-c-3 non-profit organization in Homer, Alaska. we deliver educational programs and guided tours to over 12,000 students and visitors every year. Our grassroots organization, started in 1982, enjoys the support of over 350 members, 100 volunteers and a variety of businesses in Homer that assist us in fulfilling our mission.

Since 1984, CACS has held the annual Kachemak Bay Coast Walk event that involves more than 200 volunteers who adopt a section of the Kachemak Bay shoreline and walk it annually, surveying changes, collecting data on marine life and human impacts, and cleaning up beach litter and marine debris.


Our mission is to foster responsible interaction with our natural surroundings and to generate knowledge of the unique marine and coastal ecosystems of Kachemak Bay through science-based environmental education and stewardship.


Science-Based Education:

To provide effective experience-based field science instruction to Alaska residents and visitors, with youth as the primary audience.

To provide the public and decision-makers with science-based information on critical environmental issues.


To serve as a model of land management and environmental education that balances human use with protection of coastal environments.

To inspire citizens to make decisions and take actions that promote the health and integrity of ecosystems.

To engage citizens and students in the process of science through acquisition of scientific data that is needed to monitor the long-term processes and health of coastal ecosystems.

Core Purpose:

Alaska Coastal Ecological Education

Core Values:

Outside - Direct experience with the environment

Knowledge-based - Uniqueness of Kachemak Bay

Appreciation - change behavior and attitude

Responsibility - caring

Inclusive - abilities, economic, participants


  1. CACS operates year-round quality residential environmental education programs.
  2. CACS models sustainability in its programs, staffing, facilities and financial operations.
  3. CACS is nationally recognized for its leadership in quality environmental education.
  4. CACS cultivates environmental stewards for tomorrow.


Board of Directors

Neil Wagner, PRESIDENT, Retired Tender Operator, Business Owner, Homer, Alaska

Duncan Wanamaker, VICE-PRESIDENT, Retired Teacher, Homer, Alaska 

Gretchen T. Bersch, SECRETARY, International Educator, Anchorage & Homer, Alaska

Leah Cloud Evans, TREASURER, Retired Marketing, Homer, Alaska

Crystal Collier, Executive Director, Seldovia Village Tribe, Seldovia, Alaska

Richard Webb,  Student  Success Developer and Instructional Designer for the Kachemak Bay campus of the Kenai Peninsula College, Homer, Alaska
James Hornaday, Retired Attorney.  Served as Homer's Mayor since 2005.  Homer, Alaska
Pat Melone, Current President of the Homer Chamber of Commerce, owns the Spyglass Inn B&B.  Retired Washington State Employee.  Homer, Alaska
Bryan Zak, Regional Director/Southwest Alaska Small Business Development Center.  Owns Alaska Adventure Cabins & Zak's Realty.  Homer, Alaska
Debbie Oudiz, PhD,  retired environmental toxicologist who worked for the California Environmental Protection Agency.  Homer, Alaska

Jim Hansen, MS, retired marine biologist, Homer, Alaska


Elizabeth Trowbridge

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Melanie Dufour
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Loretta Brown
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Jenni Medley
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Katie Gavenus

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Naturalists and Interns Hired Seasonally

And Amazing Volunteers Make It Happen!  We love our volunteers!


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Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies, 708 Smokey Bay Way, PO BOX 2225, Homer, AK 99603, (907) 235-6667