WHERE WE WORK
Alaska Whale Foundation operates an independent field station committed to research and ecological monitoring in Southeast Alaska.
Situated in a remote bay on Baranof Island, it is a permanent base for scientific study and ecological monitoring, and invests in future generations of impassioned researchers by providing opportunities for student engagement.
Our field station is situated on Lingít Aaní (Tlingit land) and we recognize and respect the Tlingit community as the first inhabitants of our study area.
Our Field Station
Surrounded by lush old-growth temperate rainforest, towering, glacier-filled mountains, and cold, productive fjords, AWF's field station is embedded in one of the healthiest ecosystems left on the planet. Living and working in such an awe-inspiring wilderness setting promotes connectedness to the natural world and evokes a deeper appreciation for the value of conservation and environmental stewardship.
The field station provides a place for students and researchers to live that is in rhythm with the tides. It also offers a fleet of vessels, cutting-edge research equipment and computing space - everything that AWF's research team needs to tackle the region's important conservation issues. And AWF is committed to seeing it grow in a sustainable and environmentally-sensitive way that ensures it will continue to operate in a minimally-impactful way for years to come.
Our field station is situated in the heart of Southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest and the fjordal channels of the Alexander Archipelago. This geological complex region is characterized by pristine old-growth temperate rainforest, muskeg, alpine, marine and freshwater habitats. Rainy and temperate for much of the year, it is prime habitat for a diverse array of flora and fauna, including the humpback whales that are the flagship species under AWFs Ocean Health Program.
The region is also home to 35 communities and ~73,500 people, 22% of whom are Alaska Native. Most communities, including the state capital Juneau, are only accessible by boat or float plane. It has a strong maritime history and an active and robust fishing industry. Over a million visitors come to Southeast Alaska each year to enjoy opportunities for boating, fishing, hunting and watching wildlife.
Approximately 85% of the whales that feed in Alaska travel to the Hawaiian Islands each winter to breed. Through a partnership with University of Hawaii at Manoa's Marine Mammal Research Program (MMRP) AWF visits these islands each year to collect data on the health and energetics of these whales. As well, the team deploys suction-cup video tags with researchers from MMRP and the Pacific Whale Foundation in an ongoing effort to study mother-calf behavior, suckling and energetics.