“I learned so much. I appreciate everything on this trip.”

“Thank you for this great opportunity.” 

“This was my first time out of Alaska and it was amazing.”

These are just a few of the thank you cards Doyon received from Interior high school students for helping them travel with GeoFORCE Alaska this summer. 

This summer, 11 youth from Allakaket, Ruby, Nulato, Huslia, Fort Yukon, Beaver, and Galena joined 33 students from northern and Interior Alaska to begin their two week Academy with GeoFORCE. The group met in early June with a visit to Fort Knox gold mine in Fairbanks, then traveled to Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. The field trip included stops at Zion and Grand Canyon National Parks, Montezuma Castle, and Meteor Crater. Participants particularly enjoyed a tour of the Navajo Nation’s Lower Antelope Canyon led by local Native American guides. They recorded observations and made sketches at the field stops, as well as completing daily quizzes and taking a final exam. 

What is GeoFORCE Alaska?

GeoFORCE Alaska is a four-year outreach program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks for rural high school students from the North Slope, Northwest Arctic, and Interior. Students are recruited in 8th and 9th grade to travel throughout Alaska and the country learning about geology and career paths in the geosciences.

Each summer, this group of students reunite to attend a two-week academy in a different region of the United States. Over four years, students will practice field geology at destinations including Denali National Park, the Grand Canyon, Mount St. Helens, Dinosaur National Monument, and Yellowstone National Park. 

The four-year model is designed to spark interest in the geosciences at a young age and maintain that interest throughout high school and in to college. GeoFORCE requires students to maintain good grades, which supports the key goal of the program: boosting graduation rates. 

Contributions through Lease Agreements

This opportunity for youth within the Doyon Region is important. In 2019, Doyon made an initial contribution of $25,000, followed by additional contributions from companies pursuing natural resource exploration programs on our lands. Education and scholarship contributions are key aspects of natural resource agreements with Doyon. Through lease agreements for mineral exploration at Flat, Seventymile (near Eagle), and Mt. Harper (near Healy Lake), Tectonic Metals, Inc. contributed $25,000, and through lease agreements for mineral exploration at Wiseman, Wiseman Metals has contributed $5,000 to GeoFORCE. 

“This has been a great opportunity for our youth to start a multi-year participation in a STEM education program that will develop future Doyon geologists and scientists who can lead programs and projects on Doyon lands in the future. We thank Tectonic Metals, Inc. and Wiseman Metals for supporting our shareholder education opportunities, and UAF’s GeoFORCE for the continuation of this important program,” says Aaron Schutt, President and Chief Executive Officer.

For more information about GeoFORCE Alaska or how to apply, visit geoforce.alaska.edu. For more information about mineral exploration, contact the Lands and Natural Resources Department at 907-459-2030 or lands@doyon.com.

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