Alaska Coastal Summer Institute

Alaska Coastal Summer Institute (postponed due to COVID-19)

KBNERR fish SSWS monitoring sea otter      

The Alaska Coastal Summer Institute (AK-CSI) is a unique, immersive field study opportunity for undergraduate and continuing education students!  During this intensive, five-week program, you will gain diverse hands-on experiences:

  • Race against the tide to finish a transect line in one of the most biodiverse rocky intertidal zones on the planet.
  • Discover new juvenile salmon habitat using a seine-net.
  • Collect plankton samples and assess them for species that cause paralytic shellfish poisoning and other harmful algal blooms. 
  • Participate in the marine mammal stranding network and marine mammal outreach/education activities. 
  • Go on a sea star hunt, searching for evidence of sea star wasting syndrome and potential recruitment of juveniles and population recovery. 

These are just some of the field study opportunities that AK-CSI students engage in during their five weeks in Kachemak Bay. 

Water Quality sampling phenology intertidal monitoring

AK-CSI is built around core experiences (each about a week in duration) hosted by local research agencies and community-organizations in the Kachemak Bay area.  These core experiences provide a fun, fascinating, and highly effective way to learn how scientific knowledge is being built and used in Kachemak Bay.  You will also attain job-related skills in research design, data collection, analysis, and scientific communication. Plus, you can grow your professional network and become familiar with a number of the research agencies working in Kachemak Bay, exploring different career options and build connections with organizations that offer seasonal internships, as well as research/graduate school positions! Each core experience determined by the partner agencies offers students insight into their most interesting and important research, community-based monitoring, and science communication work.

A 2-Credit Science Communication Course (ENGL 278: Sharing Science with Diverse Audiences) is woven into each week of AK-CSI.  NEW THIS YEAR, all students successfully completing the core experiences and required reflection activities will also receive 3 internship credits (BIOL 495A: Internship in the Biological Sciences) through the Kachemak Bay Campus-Kenai Peninsula College.  Students participating in AK-CSI also have the option to study at the Kachemak Bay Campus in the semester prior to or following AK-CSI through Semester by the Bay*.  

Fee of $4,000** covers instruction, supplies & equipment, housing, & travel across the Bay, as well as groceries during time spent in remote locations (about 2 weeks). For more information contact: Katie Gavenus, Program Director, CACS at 907-235-1974 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Due to the COVID-19, the Alaska Coastal Summer Institute has been postponed until summer 2023. If you would like more information about AK-CSI, please see below.

An individual consultation with an Alaska Coastal Summer Institute advisor is the best way to determine if the program is right for you. Please submit an Application of Interest Form to help us know a little more about you.  Once we have your form, we will contact you. During the initial session you will discuss your educational goals and your academic history and how the program can best fit into those goals.

* Contact Dr. Debbie Tobin (907-299-8380, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) for more details about Semester by the Bay.

** Fee subject to change, contact Katie Gavenus for updates (907-235-1974, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


Wynn Nature Center youth programs

Knee high Naturalists prepare to go in search of snowshoe hares at Wynn

Knee-high Naturalist Program

Ages 2-4.

Knee-High Naturalists is BACK beginning Friday June 18 and continuing every Friday at 10:30. Our naturalist will provide a fun  program for you and your toddler to explore the outdoors with a special story, a short walk and a craft. Themes will change every Friday.  FREE program.

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Ages 5-8. Fridays 1-3 p.m:  June 18th-August 13th.

Get a sneak peek of the secret lives of the plants, birds, and animals that live at the Wynn Nature Center. Please dress for the weather!

Pre-registration is required: Register by clicking HERE.

$10/class or $40 for 5 sessions

All kids and staff undergo health screenings at the beginning of the program.

Trackers with Chris 


Ages 9-12. Every Thursday 1-3pm: June 17th-August 12th

Learn all about the animals that spend their time at the Wynn Nature Center! We will learn to identify these animals by the scat, tracks, and other signs they leave behind. Please dress for the weather!

Pre-registration is required: Register by clicking HERE!

$10/class or $40 for 5 sessions

All kids and staff undergo health screenings at the beginning of the program.

Yurt on the Spit Summer youth programs!


Creatures of the Dock

All Ages! Tours begin at 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm daily: May 28th-September 6th

Perfect for families or people who have a short amount of time but want to see lots of sea creatures! This daily program is fun for the whole family. Guided tours of the incredible life under the dock at the Homer Harbor. 

Tour size is limited to 8 people

Pre-registration is required: Register by clicking HERE!


caleb found mussels

S.P.I.T. Kids

Ages 6-10. Monday - Wednesday - Friday:  June 6th-August 19th

9:30am - 12:00pm. Enjoy a S.neak P.eek I.nto T.hings as you explore sea creatures under the dock, search for seabirds and marine mammals, investigate the beach, learn about plants, do ocean crafts and MORE!

Pre-registration is required: Register by clicking HERE!

$10 per session or $21 for 3 sessions in one week

Kids are outside and will have their own art & nature kit to use so there are no shared items. All SPIT kids will have face coverings with them to wear when they are closer than 6 feet and all staff will wear face coverings.

Peterson Bay Field Station Discounts


Children's Rates on Nature Tours and Hikes

Trips to across the bay to Peterson Bay Field Station only $95 for kids 12 and under.

Special Group Programs for Adults & Youth


Alaska Coastal Ecology Field Camps

Ecology field camps for college, high school or other organized youth groups can be arranged during the summer. Program length ranges from two to six days with guided activities and lodging at Peterson Bay Field Station combined with guided activities at Wynn Nature Center or Kastisna Bay Lab. More info >>


Service Learning Expeditions

Service Learning Expeditions can be arranged from June - August. Groups learn about natural history and stewardship through service projects. Projects can include trail work, building projects, invasive plant management, facilities beautification, and more. Call 907-235-6667 and ask to get connected to the Program Director, Katie Gavenus - or email katieg@akcoastalstudies.org for more information

Retreats & Workshops

Group retreats can be arranged at the Peterson Bay Field Station. Enjoy a semi-remote, rustic setting to connect your group to the amazing natural surroundings and to each other. Call 907-235-6667 and ask to get connected to our Program Director, Katie Gavenus - or email katieg@akcoastalstudies.org for more information

Youth Internships


High School Internships

CACS offers a volunteer internship program for high school students who wish to gain more experience working in the fields of environmental education and environmental science. The internship combines working at the Carl Wynn Nature Center and the Homer Spit Yurt assisting with our popular Creature of the Dock Tours. Interns are also trained to be camp counselors for our summer camps for youth ages 9-15. Interns are encouraged to work on a special project of interest during their 6-week internship. Applicants must have completed one year of high school. Please email henry@akcoastalstudies.org and we'll send you an application!! Thanks


Environmental Educator and Naturalist Internships

Paid internships for students completing junior or senior year of college, or recently graduated. Positions available at Wynn Nature Center, Inspiration Ridge Preserve and the Peterson Bay Field Station. April to May and June-August. Applications due late January. Check for position openings here.

Contact Us

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Daisy and Billie New sign

© 2006 - 2022 Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies, 708 Smokey Bay Way, Homer, AK 99603, (907) 235-6667
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