A wild lecture hall and research station

Founded in 2011, Inside Passage Field Studies is a nonprofit organization building knowledge through field-based university courses, collaborative research and custom trips in the forests, oceans and towns of America’s largest national forest. We operate from a research station on Prince of Wales Island and offices in Wrangell. It is our mission to foster first-hand learning about the ecological and human dimensions of southern southeast Alaska.

Located in the heart of the Pacific Coastal Ecoregion, the 16.7 million acre Tongass National Forest surrounds 22 communities and a patchwork of public and private lands. Its abundance, wildness, resilience and rural character make it a spectacular lecture hall and landscape for study. In our research and teaching at IPFS, we work to empower and embody the values that come from the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people who have lived on these lands and waters since time immemorial.

Our undergraduate courses journey by sea kayak into the backcountry of the Inside Passage, knitting together rigorous academic curriculum with field skills and a sense of place. Students are empowered to explore their surroundings with curiosity and compassion and to consider themselves active and informed constituents on our public lands. The field studies experience is a springboard for personal and professional growth.

Listen to one course tell their story on Alaska News Nightly and read updates from some of our Alumni.

Our research programs welcome scholars from around the country and the world and provide them with on-the-ground experience, relationships and logistical support. By building excellent and timely knowledge about our landscape, we can communicate, advocate, and support land managers and community leaders in their stewardship of the Tongass. We have three program tracks: hosted research, the Tongass Fellows program, and staff research.