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 CoastWalk 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:

Place-Based Ecology Education

Core Values:

Outside - Direct experience with the environment

Knowledge-based - Uniqueness of Kachemak Bay

Appreciation - Change behavior and attitude

Habitat Protection - The Bay, the coast, the land

Responsibility - caring

Inclusive - abilities, economic, participants

Strategic Goals:

  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

Debbie OudizPhD, PRESIDENTretired environmental toxicologist for the California Environmental Protection Agency.  Homer, Alaska

Neil Wagner, VICE-PRESIDENT, Retired Tenderboat Captain, Homer Entrepreneur, Homer, Alaska

Lane Chesley,   TREASURERProject Manager with Puffin Electric, Inc. of Homer Alaska performing commercial construction projects in Alaska’s harbors and coastal communities.

Gretchen T. Bersch, SECRETARYInternational Educator, Anchorage & Homer, Alaska

Leah Evans CloudRetired Marketing Director, Homer, Alaska

Bryan Zak, Regional Director/Southwest Alaska Small Business Development Center.  Owns Alaska Adventure Cabins & Zak's Realty.  Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Betsy Webb, professional history includes Curator of Zoology at the Denver Museum of Nature and ScienceCurator of Collections at the Pratt Museum                                                                                                                                

Joseph C. Talbott: Environmental Manager and Master MarinerEducation: B.S. Geological Oceanography, M.A. Teaching    

Fran Jacobson:  Fran moved from the Mat-Su Valley to Homer with her husband in the fall of 2015 after retiring from 25 years in education where she served as an teacher, counselor and school administrator. She has a passion for the outdoors and is committed to continuing to support extended learning opportunities for all ages.

Advisory Member: Crystal Collier, Executive Director, Seldovia Village Tribe, Seldovia, Alaska


Elizabeth Trowbridge
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Melanie Dufour
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Seth Spencer
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Henry Rieske
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Marcie Gordon
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Naturalists and Interns Hired Seasonally

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

Contact Us

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© 2006 - 2017 Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies, 708 Smokey Bay Way, PO BOX 2225, Homer, AK 99603, (907) 235-6667