By Kate Morse
This summer marks the 10th annual Copper River Stewardship Program for high school students with personal connections to the Copper River watershed. All current 8-12 graders are eligible to apply. The application deadline is March 30. During this summer’s adventure, participants will explore the movement of water, natural resources and people through the watershed. At all stops they will explore the movement of people through the landscape, initially motivated by access to fish and game populations, and later by railroads, highways and pipelines.
A trip to McCarthy will allow for the exploration of glacial tributaries to the Copper River, as well as the railroad that transported copper from Kennecott mines to Cordova.
Participants will parallel the Trans-Alaska Pipeline on their journey to Valdez, where they will climb aboard a sailboat to get to Cordova. Along this leg of the journey they will learn the history of oil transportation through the region as well as how water chemistry influences the movement of water through the marine environment.
At Cordova they will explore the delta formed by the movement of massive quantities of glacial sediments through the watershed. They will also learn about the important habitat on the Copper River Delta that supports fish and wildlife that travel from thousands of miles away to spawn or nest.
Students will receive credit for successful completion of the CRSP program. Several participants in earlier CRSP adventures said the experience helped them in a variety of ways, from greatly appreciating the Copper River and wilderness in general to including that experience on a resume, which led to obtaining multiple scholarships.
The CRSP is presented by the Copper River Watershed Project, Prince William Sound Science Center, Wrangell Institute for Science and Environment, federal Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and U.S. Forest Service.
Applications can be downloaded at https://copperriver.org/programs/watershed-education/copper-river-stewardship-program or by visiting the Copper River Watershed Project on 1st Street or the PWS Science Center by the harbor.
Kate Morse is the program director for the Copper River Watershed Project