Sitka High School offers outdoor recreation class as honors-level course for juniors/seniors

TRAIL COURSE — Blain Anderson, outdoor recreation specialist with Sitka Trail Works, points to features of the trail Friday (Dec. 10, 2010) near the skate park on Halibut Point Road. Anderson was teaching students in Sitka High’s outdoor recreation class ways to make trails more durable by creating proper drainage. Students also surveyed the trail and helped neaten the area by trimming trees and picking up litter. (Daily Sitka Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

TRAIL COURSE — Blain Anderson, outdoor recreation specialist with Sitka Trail Works, points to features of the trail Friday (Dec. 10, 2010) near the skate park on Halibut Point Road. Anderson was teaching students in Sitka High’s outdoor recreation class ways to make trails more durable by creating proper drainage. Students also surveyed the trail and helped neaten the area by trimming trees and picking up litter. (Daily Sitka Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

While the Sitka Outdoor Recreation Coalition’s main goal is trying to get younger children out to enjoy the outdoors, it’s obvious the big kids like getting outdoors, too.

One of the most popular classes at Sitka High School is Outdoor Rec, which is a 90-minute class taught once a day by PE teacher Chloe Copeland. The class is so popular, Copeland said she treats it as an honors class open only to juniors and seniors. Since there is only room and gear for 18 students to be in the class each semester, students get to take the class just once before they graduate.

KCAW-Raven Radio summer intern Lily Mihalik produced this story about the class last May, and the story gives most of the details of the program. Copeland — who provided the photos used in the slideshow below — said students go mountain biking, hiking, trail running, tree climbing, sledding, ice skating (and other ice sports when ice is available), snowboarding, cross-country skiing, lake swimming, rock climbing, play outdoor tennis, play beach volleyball, and they perform trail maintenance/trail building for Sitka Trail Works (the students volunteer several class periods to do this). Copeland said the class has zero budget, but many local residents and businesses have donated gear, such as skates and bikes, for the students to use.

When asked if she would like to expand the class, Copeland said, “I would love to! I would like to offer the class more than just one class/semester. Used gear and possible volunteers would also allow me open the class(es) to more than just 18 students at a time.”

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