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Citizen Scientists in Juneau, Alaska

© By Adam Southwood
  Kayaking In Alaska Harrisburg was Juneau's name before Richard Harris fell out of favour with the locals, who turned their allegiance to his co-founder Joe Juneau. In 1880, prospectors Harris and Juneau relied on Tlingit Chief, Kowee, to guide them to the mouth of Gold Creek where they discovered gold - and the state's first major gold strike was on. (See YouTube below) Juneau prospered and was established as Alaska's capital in 1906 when the government was transferred from Sitka. Currently about 31,000 citizens live within the 3,255 square mile boundary, the largest of any state capital and the only state capital which borders a foreign country. (Sarah Palin can see Russia from her home!)
     If you think it's wet in Vancouver, Juneau will give one pause, averaging 222 days of rain or mist per year. Most people visit during summer cruise season. However, the winter climate is similar to Seattle, with milder temperatures than other parts of Alaska. September and October are the rainiest months. April, May and June are sunniest and June, July and August are warmest. In winter, you can downhill ski, heli-ski, cross-country ski and snowboard.
     Not sure where to start? Check out these popular attractions and activities: Mendenhall Glacier and Visitor Center, Juneau Ice field Flight seeing, Trekking or Dog sledding, Humpback Whale Watching, Salmon or Halibut Sport fishing, Mt. Roberts Tramway and Alpine Hiking and for those really wet days, Juneau Museums.
     Gastineau Guiding Company's innovative eco-tour program, Whales & Glaciers: Citizen Science Adventure, enables cruise line guests to engage their surroundings by observing and recording specific data for scientific purposes. "Gastineau Guiding operates this tour to give area travelers a more in-depth look at Alaska's unique marine and glacier environments all the while providing them with a fun and engaging tour experience," says Bob Janes, owner of Gastineau Guiding Co.
     Partnership with the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, the USFS Tongass National Forest, and the Alaska Marine Conservation Alliance equips participants to collect and catalog wildlife and plant observations while "in the field," in essence becoming marine scientists/climatologists for a day.

Glacier Flightseeing  Juneau Icefield  Sea Lions  Mendenhall Glacier 

     Cruise companies like the Holland America Line are encouraged to promote corporate responsibility by offering environmentally friendly tour options. Holland developed a new program called Cruise With PurposeTM, inspired by the creation of the Whales & Glaciers: Citizen Science Adventure, the program's inaugural tour. The Whales & Glaciers: Citizen Science Adventure (179.00 per person) takes guests on an exploration vessel out of Auke Bay to identify humpback whales and other marine mammals. Guests look for individual whales by their tail "fingerprints" and note the number of whales and their behaviors. Participants also trawl for plankton, collect water samples, and record ocean temperature readings. Since plankton are such a significant indicator in predicting the health of the oceans, this data will help to better understand and manage Alaska's precious wild resources. All collected data and samples are contributed to the body of research maintained by Alaska Sea Grant's Marine Advisory Program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.

Mount Roberts Tramway  Pacific Salmon  Marine Park Plaza  Tlingit Totem 

     The tour operates in Juneau, Alaska, seven days per week, May through September. It is currently offered on the following cruise lines: Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, and Celebrity Cruises. To learn more about the tour visit Gastineau Guiding Company's website or contact Jeremy Gieser, director of tours and marketing, at 907-586-8231

Adam Southwood writes for Canadian, U.S. and European magazines and newspapers. He is a graduate of McMaster University in Hamilton and UWO in London with an interest in culture and history and has produced several educational programs for TV.

Photo Credits
Courtesy of Juneau CVB

If you go
This destination
as seen on
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juneau
Wikitravel: http://wikitravel.org/en/Juneau
About.com: http://gocalifornia.about.com/od/ak/a/juneau.htm
Juneau Convention & Visitors Bureau: http://www.traveljuneau.com/
Gastineau Guiding Company: http://www.stepintoalaska.com/

What's happening, money, distance, time?
Media Guide: http://www.abyznewslinks.com/
Currency conversion: http://www.xe.com/ucc/
Distance calculator: http://www.indo.com/distance/
Time zone converter: http://www.timezoneconverter.com/

Transportation, visas, health, maps and temperature
Airlines (Wikipedia): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airlines
Embassies/Consulates (Embassy World): http://www.embassyworld.com/
Health precautions (WHO): http://www.who.int/ith/en/
Google interactive map: http://maps.google.com/
Temperature (Temperature World): http://www.temperatureworld.com/


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