Finding opportunities to get out and socialize in the winter can be difficult, especially for families. But Homer’s Center for Alaska Coastal Studies is looking to improve that.
On Sunday, the center hosted its first “Winter Sunday Funday,” a scavenger hunt to encourage exploration of the 150-acre Wynn Nature Center.
Environmental Education NPO Corporation has hosted a guided outdoor activities program for over a decade, and Wynn Nature Center Coordinator Henry Raiske has been with the program for the last five years.
“The goal is to get people out. Community members, families, anyone who wants to get involved, we want to get people out,” he said.
Reiske said it’s a chance for people to get out and explore the Wynn Nature Center in a structured environment.
All group activities are free and open to people of all ages. January activities include firefighting, winter pursuits, and crafts.
Reiske said the Alaska Coastal Research Center provides all the equipment needed, but encourages participants to ensure they are appropriately dressed.
“We have snowshoes, we have water, we have s’mores and hot dogs,” he said. “When I shovel snow, I carry a shovel. As long as I can keep myself warm and comfortable, I have all the tools.”
From snowshoe hares, moose and stoats to elusive animals like lynx and coyotes, Reiske said there are opportunities to encounter animals that may be more hidden during the summer months.
He said winter is a great time to explore the varied terrain of the vast reserve.
Winter Sunday activities are held at the Carl E. Wynn Nature Center on East Skyline Drive every Sunday from 1-3pm through the end of March.
The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies encourages people to get out on non-Sundays and offers snowshoe rentals at its headquarters for just $5. For more information, please call the center at (907) 235-6667.