Wrapping Up the Alaskan Adventure

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where –”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
― Lewis Carroll



Lydia, Andy, Amanda, Izzy

We woke up feeling satisfied that we had finished our fieldwork for Alaska. While we were glad to be done slogging through bogs and wetlands, we were disappointed to see that the weather was yet again not conducive to helicopter flying. Instead of flying we met at 9:00 AM for a class discussion led by Joe, a GIS instructor for the MGIS program at Penn State, and Amy, an economic geography professor at MIT.

After starting with the fundamentals of geographic analysis, we delved into discussing the comparisons and contrasts between Alaska and Peru, specifically within Juneau and Occongate. Our discussion took the whole morning as the conversation weaved through insights linking how the environment and humans control each other: economically, politically, and culturally. Amy has been critical in providing a complex understanding of human systems, while Joe is instrumental in developing our background on Peru and connecting what we saw there to Alaska.

Finishing our class discussion we made our way to Island Pub Pizza on Douglas Island for a celebratory lunch. At Island Pizza we met Father Casey, a local Catholic missionary with an in-depth knowledge of the area’s education system. Over a delectable lunch of pizza, Father Casey and the students discussed the societal landscape of southeast Alaska with a focus on native communities and their views on local schooling.20160813_173937

Caption: Dan, Andy, and Amanda hiking down to Juneeau

Following lunch we were released to downtown Juneau for free time to pick up some souvenirs, sample food-truck food, and take in the sights along the Gastineau Channel boardwalk. That Friday afternoon yielded three massive cruise ships docked on the channel, teeming the streets with visitors to buy garish knick knacks and cheaply made jewelry from the shops. Though a boon for the local economy, the packs from the cruise ships have been jokingly dubbed “Tourons” by locals.


Caption: Tour cruise full of ‘Tourons’

Lydia and Dan were able to make it to the State Library and Archives during the afternoon before it closed for the weekend. The records are housed in the same building as the Alaska State Museum. After leafing through folders of documents, the archivist Connie and Lydia selected aerial photography and highway maps of Juneau from the sixties and seventies to scan. The records will be used in developing a historical perspective on land use in the city and greater national park area.

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