Roadtrippin': Denali non-profit looks to do good for Earth, self and tradition through education

Published: May. 16, 2017 at 2:30 PM AKDT
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On the drive toward Denali, around a few curves and into the woods, you'll find a group sharing its love - for the Last Frontier and Denali National Park - through education.

The non-profit Denali Education Center sits on a spread next to the Nenana River, a stone's throw from Denali National Park, the magical wilderness on which the group educates hundreds of people every year.

"The mission behind this whole thing is to promote appreciation and understanding of Denali through inspiring and informative programs," said Denali Education Center Executive Director Jodi Rodwell. "It is our job to help the park preserve and protect for future generations."

In 27 years of program offerings on its campus, the DEC has hosted about 18,000 guests from around the world. Rodwell said people come from anywhere, anytime, to learn more about Denali and the wilderness around it.

"Denali means so much more than just the place," she said. "It’s a way of life."

Visitors can wander the campus, catch breathtaking views and even sit in on community lectures for free. Longer trips - such as a five-day excursion to Katmai - will cost much more, but there's something for everyone, according to Rodwell.

"I feel strongly that the wilderness has something of value for everybody," she said. "It's our job to help preserve and protect the park for future generations."

Video by photojournalist Ben Gauthier.