This beautifully illustrated Senior Seminar is for YOU, if you fit into any of these three categories: 1) you’ve been there, and want to relive the experience; 2) you are going to go there, and want to be prepared for the trip; or 3) you never plan to go there, but wonder what all the fuss is about.
Alaska was formed by volcanic activity and by the accretion of islands and small geologic plates that collided with the northwest coast of North America over the past 200 million years, and geologic processes have emplaced the great stores of gold, oil, and other mineral resources of the State. Glaciers then molded and shaped the landscape we see today and helped set the stage for the variety of wildlife and humans that have inhabited this great American wilderness. For many Americans, their first visit to the 49th State is on a cruise ship from Seattle or Vancouver that goes through the famed “Inside Passage”—a network of passages that weave through islands of British Columbia and southeast Alaska.
Original settlers of Alaska were natives that crossed the Beringian land bridge from Siberia during the Great Ice Age, and those that still live in Alaska are referred to as “Alaskan Natives.” Vitus Bering “discovered” Alaska in 1741 and claimed Alaska for Russia. Russian hunters and fur trappers harvested so many otters, seals, sea lions, walruses, and sea cows that they thought they had annihilated the significant (“fur-bearing”) wildlife.
The United States then purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867 for $7.2 million (about 2 cents per acre), and a few years later gold was discovered in the Juneau area (ohhhh…the Russians must have been mad!). This set off the first rush to Alaska. Then the discovery of gold in the Canadian Klondike in 1896 set off the second great rush, because several access routes to these new gold fields were through the District of Alaska (before it became a Territory or a State ). And in 1968, discovery of oil at Prudhoe Bay led to another rush, this time for “black gold.”
Glaciers have carved Alaska into a beautiful and rugged landscape. Phantastique fjords and coastal waters are the home for much of the marine life, including whales, orcas, seals, sea otters, salmon, and halibut—to name a few. And the pristine wilderness has helped preserve large numbers of bald eagles, moose, caribou, and bears (grizzly, black, and polar bears). There also are many reports of Bigfoot-sightings in the vicinity of bars and pubs in the smaller villages—mostly just after closing time.
October 22 - November 12, 2018
10:00 - 11:30 AM
CCE Forum Building
1704 Asp Ave, Norman