Summer is officially over and with it goes many of the outdoor activities Alaskans and visitors love. The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies in Homer takes advantage of the summer months to give people a chance to enjoy kayaking, berry picking, and long hikes in different areas of Kachemak Bay. The goal is to teach people about the diversity of the area’s environment. Before the last days of summer KBBI’s Quinton Chandler followed a group of nature lovers and a Coastal Studies naturalist for a tour of Peterson Bay.
After a short boat ride a five person group led by Australia native Tahia Ischer disembarked at the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies Peterson Bay Field Station. Ischer said the goal of the brief journey was to introduce newcomers to the beauty of Alaska.
“I just want them to have the most amount of fun and to experience nature. To see the vegetation that we have here and see all the cool creatures and invertebrates. My biggest goal is to show them some sunflower stars, some octopus that we have here and pretty much just show them what Alaska has to offer.”
We didn’t see any octopus, but when the group went tidal pooling we did see plenty of barnacles, jelly fish, and lots sea stars. The group took a hike through the bay’s coastal temperate forest. Ischer pointed out the special characteristics of trees, and fungi, but the blueberries and salmon berries were the biggest hits. At the end of the tour the group was a little worn, but still happy with the experience. Pam Mathes from Oklahoma said she’d recommend a tour to anyone.
“Having a guide makes all the difference I would have missed all the spectacular things of the forest here. I wouldn’t have known what to look for. The fungus, the ferns, the moss...”
Danny Mathes, Pam’s husband, echoed her. He recalled the beauty of watching an eaglet feeding and also said he appreciated some of the survivalist information he picked up.
“I guess all the little things you can actually eat and all the things not to eat.”
Ischer agreed that the hike went well and she was glad her guests were leaving happy. More important to her was the thought of them carrying their new found knowledge back to their own homes.
“I think a lot of the people who come through might not have a lot of the same species or organisms but they can relate to it. They can see similar relationships in this ecosystem and kind of transfer that knowledge to where they’re from.”
Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies stopped offering its Peterson Bay Tours after Labor Day.