Web posted Wednesday, May 8, 2002

photo: culture

Dozens of kinds of wildflowers make a walk throuh the fields around Homer a feast of color.

Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies

A nonprofit educational organization, the Center offers environmental studies programs for visitors of all ages. One of the most popular is a guided natural history day tour to the centerpis field station in Peterson Bay, across Kachemak Bay from Homer. It includes round-trip transportation with a stop to view Gull Island, a seabird rookery that offers superb opportunities for photographs of murres, cormorants, kittiwakes, gulls and puffins. The field stationpis naturalist guides help you explore the lagoon and shoreline, where during minus tides you can see and touch sea urchins, baby king crab, sea stars and other marine life. On the centerpis nature trails you will walk through the lush spruce and hemlock rainforest, and to a spruce bog, home to the insect-eating sundew plant. As you hike your guide will show you Alaskapis orchids, squirrel middens, wild flowers and a prehistoric house site. Two tours are offered daily, with options for overnight yurt camping and kayaking/hiking combination tours. Call the center at 235-6667.

On the Homer side of the bay, the centerpis 126-acre Carl E. Wynn Nature Center offers guided walks every day all summer at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. through wildflower meadows and spruce forests along developed trails and wheelchair accessible boardwalks. A self-guided tour is available for a small fee. Free weekly preschool and family programs as well as evening lectures are also offered. To reach the Nature Center, drive up East Hill Road to Skyline Drive, and continue on east Skyline Drive for 1.5 miles. The Nature Center is on the left.

Information on all the centerpis environmental education programs is available at the headquarters building, 708 Smoky Bay Way, just off Lake Street. Contact the center at (907) 235-6667, write to PO Box 2225-H, Homer, AK 99603, e-mail: to cacs@xyz.net, or check www.akcoastalstudies.org.