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Programs

Check out our upcoming events at Inian Islands Institute for the summer season of 2020.

We issue our sincerest regrets to students from Nueva School, Marist College, and Dartmouth College, who will be unable to join us this spring. There may be more cancellations ahead, so we are exploring other options to spread John Muir’s “gospel of nature.” We hope to release a series of “skill share” videos over the spring and summer, with Inian’s board, staff, and community members demonstrating homesteading arts, helping make us all a little more self-reliant in a time of collapsing supply chains.

Nueva School in Alaska 2020: Wilderness in America

Cancelled (was April 25 – March 2, 2020)

The Nueva School returns again to southeast Alaska this summer. This immersive, hands-on course provides students with a deep understanding of the mechanisms that conservation and environmental sciences use to understand the world. Using Southeast Alaska as a case study for the impact of climate, students will come to understand that social and environmental challenges are complex and inextricably linked. Through this experience, students extend their understanding that ecological and sociological systems are place-specific yet globally connected. Students are compelled to re-examine their values and behaviors in order to answer the complex questions of how we are to live sustainably.

Anchorage Waldorf School

May 11 – 16, 2020

Our youngest student group ever, Anchorage Waldorf School will bring a crew of graduating 8th graders to Southeast Alaska for a culminating adventure. Coming from Alaska’s largest city, their time in the wilderness of the Inian Islands will show them a whole different side of Alaska. We will focus on local and wild foods, putting in this year’s garden while eating the last of the overwintered root vegetables, finishing the week with a hyper-local feast.

Completed wood-fired hot-tub.

6th Annual Volunteer Work Party

May 18 – 22, 2020

A formidable team of local SE Alaskans and visiting volunteers will once again spend a week growing and shaping our inspiring campus. This year’s major projects will include finishing our new outdoor kitchen with counters, sink, landing, and more, roofing our new forge, building cool storage for root vegetables, bolstering our stockpile of firewood, and continuing the ongoing work of cultivating our all-important gardens. We can’t wait to welcome our volunteers for the long work days and the nightly celebrations that have been a cornerstone of bringing this field school to life!

Hamilton College

May 21 – 27, 2020

This spring, we welcome a new partnership from across the continent! This small group of undergraduates will focus on coastal environmental sciences, installing basic ecosystem monitoring equipment for ocean acidification and more. It will perfectly complement Inian Islands Institute’s upcoming work with Southeast Alaska Tribal Ocean Research (SEATOR).

Dartmouth students work on the hydroelectric system piping

Dartmouth College Engineering

Cancelled (was June 20 – 28, 2020)

Last year, our inaugural Dartmouth College engineering group made giant strides in installing our new micro-hydroelectric system, which is now cranking out more free, clean electrical power than we can use. Yet this power fluctuates with stream flow; in dry summers, we will not generate enough to power a 100% fossil fuel free campus, in which even our cooking and heating are electric. The solution? Bring a new crew of Dartmouth engineering students to install a solar array, the perfect complement to hydro.


Across the world, our renewable energy solutions are not one-size-fits-all, but must be guided by features and constraints of the local environment. We look forward to welcoming Dartmouth back, and we hope these students will walk away empowered to create renewable solutions far larger than our off-grid island campus.

University of Washington

July 5 – 10, 2020

Traveling to Juneau, Hoonah, Glacier Bay, and culminating with the Inian Islands, this course will focus on the complex relationship between humans and the natural world. Speaking with indigenous leaders, marveling at the carvings of Xunaa Shuká Hít (Huna Ancestor’s House in Glacier Bay), and walking through a forest of culturally modified trees, students will use their time in Southeast Alaska exploring the Tlingit relationship to homeland, and what it means for our own fractured relationship to nature.

Environmental Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasion in a Time of Crisis

July 18 – 25, 2020

In partnership with the University of Alaska Southeast, join UAS professor Dan Henry in exploring the art of persuasive arguments that lead to positive environmental change. Hosted at Inian Islands Institute, this course is available for credit through the University of Alaska Southeast. Through this course, students will learn how to become more effective environmental leaders through the art of rhetoric.

Climate of Hope: Living Alaskan and Working for Change

July 25 – August 2, 2020

Join us in a week-long, immersive course for adults – a journey into the heart of the Alaskan wilderness and into the science and solutions of climate change. Participants will learn the essentials of climate science from Zach Brown, PhD, and gain practical tools for solving the climate crisis from Zach and renowned author Kim Heacox, in addition to hiking, paddling, and exploring this magnificent wilderness and partaking in the meaningful physical work of the Inian campus.

Nueva School, Open Enrollment

August 5 – 18, 2020

This version of a class hosted earlier in the summer will be open-enrollment, allowing for a diverse group of students to come together in the Alaskan wilderness. This immersive, hands-on course provides students with a deep understanding of the mechanisms that conservation and environmental sciences use to understand the world. Through this experience, students extend their understanding that ecological and sociological systems are place-specific yet globally connected. Students are compelled to re-examine their values and behaviors in order to answer the complex questions of how we are to live sustainably.

Past Events 

Nueva School in Alaska 2019: Wilderness in America

April 6 – 12, 2019

The Nueva School returned for its 3rd summer program with Inian. This immersive, hands-on course for high schoolers uses Southeast Alaska as a case study for the impact of climate change as students come to understand that social and environmental challenges are complex and inextricably linked and explore questions of how we are to live sustainably.

Climate of Hope: Living Alaskan and Working for Change

June 8-15, 2019

A group of adult students joined us in a week-long, immersive course – a journey into the heart of the Alaskan wilderness and into the science and solutions of climate change. Participants gained practical tools for solving the climate crisis from in addition to hiking, paddling, and partaking in the meaningful physical work of the Inian campus.

5th Annual Inian Islands Institute Volunteer Work Party

June 16 – 22, 2019

We’re making progress by leaps and bounds towards our vision for a sustainable and educational off-grid campus. This year we built a roof for the new outdoor kitchen, built significant infrastructure to house our new hydroelectric system, and continued trail work, landscaping and gardening efforts.

Powering our New Campus: Dartmouth College and Our Hydroelectric Project

June 16 – 28, 2019

Our old hydroelectric system had been chugging along since 1985. Work to transform our campus into a model of complete sustainability, Dartmouth students helped install Inian’s new hydro system which provides improved efficiency and allows for future expansion into other forms of renewable energy generation.

Human Ecology: Our Place in Nature

June 28 – July 3, 2019

Following on the success of their course two years before, high school students and teachers from the Harker School in San Jose, California visited the Inian Islands as the culminating experience of their summer course in Human Ecology. The students conducted a comparative study of energy, agriculture, and fisheries between coastal California and southeast Alaska.

Environmental Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasion in a Time of Crisis

July 3 – 10, 2019

In partnership with the University of Alaska Southeast, UAS professor Dan Henry led students in exploring the art of persuasive arguments that lead to positive environmental change. Hosted at Inian Islands Institute, this course was available for credit through the UAS.

The Arete Project: The Natural World in the American Imagination

July 10 – August 5, 2019

For the second consecutive year, we welcomed The Arete Project to Inian Islands Institute! Arete’s programs, modeled after Deep Springs College, offer an alternative educational model defined by physical labor, academics, and self-governance. Students from diverse backgrounds learn to live and work together while undergoing vigorous course work in Environmental Humanities.

In the Age of Anthropocene: Coupled Human-Natural Systems of Southeast Alaska

September 17-21, 2019

For the fourth-time running, Inian was visited by a group of rising sophomore students from Stanford who participated in a three-week field course on natural resource management and sustainability, a portion of which took place at Inian Islands Institute. The students learned about complex social-ecological systems through the lens of forestry, fisheries, tourism and energy by engaging with community members and the local ecosystem.

The Arete Project, Glacier Bay Session

July 17 – August 13, 2018

Our longest course yet, The Arete Project brought a dynamically charged program to Inian Islands Institute! Arete’s programs, modeled after Deep Springs College, offer an alternative educational model defined by physical labor, academics, and self-governance. Students from diverse backgrounds learn to live and work together while undergoing vigorous course work in Environmental Humanities.

Leaf to Root Yoga, Retreat 2018

July 8-15, 2018

Seattle-based instructor, Jessica Lindmark (Leaf to Root Yoga) and Inian Islands Institute Executive Director, Zach Brown led this week-long Wilderness and Yoga immersion filled with hiking, kayaking, humpback whales, and naturalist guides to help attendees understand the local ecology of the world’s largest protected ecosystem. Blending mindfulness with opportunities for awe and adventure, this course aimed to renew connections to the natural world both outside and within.

UAS Environmental Rhetoric Course, 2018

June 30 – July 6, 2018

We joined UAS professor Dan Henry in exploring the art of persuasive arguments that lead to positive environmental change. Through this course, students learned how to become more effective environmental leaders through the art of rhetoric.

Nueva School, 2018

June 18 – 29, 2018

After the success of the previous year’s program, the Nueva School returned again to southeast Alaska. This immersive, hands-on course provided students with a deep understanding of the mechanisms that conservation and environmental sciences use to understand the world.

4th Annual Inian Islands Institute Volunteer Work Party

May 28 – June 3, 2018

With the purchase of the Hobbit Hole property newly complete, the air was full of possibilities for creative improvements to our sustainable and educational off-grid homestead. This year we built a new woodshed, continued landscaping and gardening efforts, and rebuilt/re-roofed the out-sheds of the warehouse, in addition to adding beds to the student bunkhouse!

Fruiting Plants Workshop, Hoonah AK

April 14, 2018

Why ship it up from down south? In this free workshop, we learned to grow our own fruit right here in SE Alaska: planting, grafting, fertilizing, pruning, and harvesting. Led by David Lendrum of LandscapeAlaska and Rob Bishop of Game Creek Family Orchards, co-sponsored by the Hoonah Indian Association and Inian Islands Institute.

Homesteading Residency, 2018 – 2021

Inian hired our first Homesteading Residents!  Living on-site year-round, residents are responsible for maintaining this off-grid, 5-acre property and all equipment in excellent condition, participating in collection of scientific data, hosting student groups, and advancing Inian Island Institute’s mission to provide unparalleled opportunities for research and education to the next generation of environmental leaders. Preference was given to applicants seeking to create a sustainable life for themselves in Southeast Alaska.

Human Ecology: Our Place in Nature

June 13 – July 5, 2017

Ten high school students and two teachers from The Harker School in San Jose, California visited the Inian Islands as the culminating experience of their summer course in Human Ecology. The students conducted a comparative study of energy, agriculture, and fisheries between coastal California and southeast Alaska.

3rd Annual Inian Islands Institute Volunteer Work Party

July 6 – 10, 2017

The 2017 work party took care of some much needed projects including building a composting toilet and continuing landscape and gardening efforts.  We also planned the next phase of maintenance and development, including rebuilding/re-roofing the out-sheds of the warehouse, creating an outdoor kitchen, and designing a floating greenhouse and sauna.

Nueva School to Southeast Alaska, 2017

July 17 – 28, 2017

With a focus on hands-on, immersion learning, this 10-day course provided students with a deep understanding of the mechanisms that conservation and environmental sciences use to understand the world. Watch the video of their story here.

In the Age of Anthropocene: Coupled Human-Natural Systems of Southeast Alaska

September 3 – 22, 2017

Inian was visited by a group of rising sophomore students from Stanford who participated in a three-week field course on natural resource management and sustainability. The students learned about complex social-ecological systems through the lens of forestry, fisheries, tourism and energy by engaging with community members and the local ecosystem.

Yoga Retreat with Jessica Lindmark, 2016

July 23 – 30, 2016

Taking our practice into the Wilderness!  For more information on future retreats, please contact Jessica Lindmark at jessica.a.lindmark@gmail.com.

UAS Environmental Rhetoric Course, 2016

July 11 – 16, 2016

Hosted at Inian Islands Institute, this course through the University of Alaska Southeast featured professor Dan Henry teaching the art of persuasive arguments that lead to positive environmental change.  Through this course, students learned how to become more effective environmental leaders through the art of rhetoric. Indie Alaska featured Inian and this course! Watch the video here.

Teacher Expedition with Discovery Southeast

June 12 – 16, 2016

For the first time, Inian Islands Institute partnered with Discovery Southeast to bring a group of teachers to the Hobbit Hole to discuss the intersection of people and place, education and the natural world.  What better way to reach more students than to teach the teachers?

Volunteer Work Party

May 2 – 6, 2016

Our second annual Inian Islands Institute volunteer work party was even more raucous than the first!  In 2015, our 20 volunteers got a huge amount done, including extending the boardwalk out to the dock, replacing the foundation of the workshop building, expanding the garden, and emplacing a drainage system.  Check out the blog post and video.  This year, we finished up the foundation replacement, set up a large yurt for more housing, built a kayak rack to hold our new fleet, and more.  All with good food, good beer, and good friends.

October Speaking Tour

In October 2015, after a break-out summer for Inian Islands Institute, Executive Director Zach Brown headed down south for meetings and presentations all along the West Coast — Seattle, Portland, and the San Francisco Bay Area — to keep spreading the word about Inian Islands Institute!

Stanford University Sophomore College Course

September 14 – 17, 2015

We were hugely excited that Stanford University returned to the Inian Islands after our first wonderful course in 2013!  In the second iteration, we learned about the interactions between social and ecological systems, focusing on 4 natural resources: fisheries, forestry, energy and tourism. Read about our first Stanford course here.

Yoga Retreat with Jessica Lindmark, 2015

June 7 – 12, 2015

Taking our practice into the Wilderness!  For more information on future retreats, please contact Jessica Lindmark at jessica.a.lindmark@gmail.com.

Volunteer Work Party

June 1 – 5, 2015

It was time to get our hands dirty!  Fueled by good food and friends, we extended the boardwalk, put a new foundation under the workshop building, and worked on lots of other little tasks that need doing around the property.  We also found some time for music and volleyball and beer!

Earlham College Course

May 19 – 23, 2015

Students from Earlham College in Indiana made their way to the Inian Islands!  Their course, entitled The Ecology and Conservation of Southeast Alaska, led by the father-and-son professor team Brent and Quinn Smith, took them on a wild adventure to Juneau, Glacier Bay, Haines, and, of course, the Inian archipelago.  During their visit, we discussed issues of sustainability and local living in the context of what they learned in the greater Southeast Alaska region.

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  1. Paula Wolfson #

    Greetings Reader, My friend Duanni Hurd and I met Zach Brown on board The Sea Lion, The National Geographic-Linblad expedition tour of the SE Inner Passage: the July 19-26th tour.This was my first trip to Alaska and Zach’s first week on board the ship. We enjoyed having Zach as a naturalist on this sojourn!((It was wonderful to be in a Zodiac raft with him, while he discussed the wildlife. As it turns out we were in the Zodiac with him in a bay near to his hometown…I have a video of him speaking about the area, the otters, the seals…And shall post it soon…)….We hope to remain in touch with Zach to find creative ways to help support his fund raising efforts. And …miracles of miracles..we reside in Palo Alto and Los Altos. Hope to see Zach in October for one of his fund-raiser-presentations!

    Bravo to all of you in your fantastic labor of love!

    How does one come visit or have a mini-retreat?

    Zach’s fellow “Sea Lion – Polar Plunge survivor” – Paula Wolfson.

    August 5, 2015

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