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Teacher's Guide

Regional History
The Geography of Alaska

Billy Mitchell:

A biography of Billy Mitchell is provided in the Geography section of the Biography series of this CD.

The Air Force biography of Mitchell on the Internet is:

Beringia Images (See Glaciers below under Physical Geography):

Anchorage International Airport Web site:

Map Perspectives:

  1. An interactive web atlas of the Northern world is the Arctic Environmental Atlas:

  2. Anderson, Jeremy. 1986. Teaching Map Skills: An Inductive Approach. National Council for Geographic Education. This is the best publication for learning about map elements and how to draw simple maps.

  3. For information on maps and physical geography from the U.S.G.S., visit the government web site:

Arctic Council:

Places and Regions

In 1999, the Association of American Geographers published a CD-ROM dealing with the Geography of the United States:
Gersmehl, Philip. 1999. The ARGUS CD. Washington DC: AAG.
ARGUS stands for Activities and Reading in the Geography of the United States.
A number of the lessons deal with Alaska topics including vignettes on Barrow and the Fairbanks area. The CD offers numerous insights into geographical studies and field work that can be accomplished by high school students. The quality of the materials presented is excellent.


  1. For an example of a functional region, examine the scheduled routes of a regional airline. One example is ERA which operates in Southcentral Alaska. Its web site provides information on communities it connects with Anchorage. See:

  2. Perceptual Regions. State and federal agencies publish maps showing regional and sub regional districts. Overlaying a number of these districts can provide insights into the governmental complexities noted for Fort Yukon. The overlays also suggest why perceptual regions do not fit any one particular boundary definition. For state boundaries, refer to the State of Alaska web site and then proceed to individual departments.

Physical Geography


  1. The seminal work on the physiographic regions of Alaska is, unfortunately, out of print:
    Wahrhaftig, Clyde. 1965. Physiographic Divisions of Alaska. Geological Survey Professional Paper 482. Washington: USGS.

  2. Information on the concept of plate tectonics is found at:


  1. Mark Evangelista and the Alaska Geographic Society. 1991. Alaska's Weather. Alaska Geographic. Vol. 18, no. 1. Anchorage: Alaska Geographic Society.

  2. A wealth of information on Alaska's climate at:
    This web site is the "Climate Research Center" for the UAF Geophysical Institute. It includes data on weather extremes, climographs, climatic warming, and sunrise and sunset.


  1. Glaciers.

    An atlas dealing with Beringia and the larger topic of "PaleoAlaska" is found at:
    This web site has maps showing a number of features of the Pleistocene, including maps showing the extent of glaciation, past and present, for local regions of Alaska such as the Seward Peninsula, Anchorage, and the Alaska Peninsula. The maps are excellent and can be downloaded for class presentations and study.

    A somewhat different web site dealing more specifically with Beringia is found at:
    This web site features a "movie" illustrating how the Beringia environment changed over time. It also features numerous photographic images of Beringia.

    For information on the names of all of Alaska's named glaciers, see:

    For images of glaciers with brief explanations of what the pictures show, see:

  2. Rivers.

    Information on Alaska's rivers, including flood and spring ice breakup is found at:

    This is the web site of the Alaska-Pacific River Forecast Center of the National Weather Service. Interactive maps and data (such as hydrographs on specific rivers) make this an attractive site, especially during breakup season.

  3. Oceans.

    The Institute of Marine Science at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has a wealth of scientific and general information on Alaska's oceans. See:

Biosphere and Ecoregions:

  1. Ecoregions.

    As noted in the text, ecoregions combine information on landforms, climate, hydrology, and biota (plants and animals). This comprehensive system is useful for gaining an overview of the entire physical geography of an area. A number of federal and state agencies and private organizations cooperated in developing the ecoregion materials. A brief description of the regions can be found in Roger W. Pearson and Marjorie Hermans (Eds.). Alaska in Maps. 1998, or the 2nd edition of the CD-ROM version of the atlas published in 2008.

  2. Arctic.

    There have been a number of efforts to classify vegetation region in the north. The most recent, and most impressive, is the cooperative work of the Circumpolar Arctic Geobotanical Atlas. It includes interactive maps and a photo dictionary. See:

  3. Boreal.

    The Forest Program of the United Nations Ecological Program World Conservation Monitoring Centre, has developed a comprehensive set of maps of forest lands worldwide. This effort includes a map of Alaska and adjoining portions of Russia and Canada. The maps, unfortunately, are not interactive.


  1. The data set for the map on permafrost is originally from:

  2. Increased warming in Alaska can be seen not only in air temperatures but also in soil temperatures:

    The above graph is part of a larger United Nations study of climatic change:

Other Geographic Themes

Human Geography:

  1. Population data on Alaska is found in printable graph and map friendly form at:
    Some recent historic information on population is also available at the site.

    The State of Alaska also has up to date information on population estimates:

Human-Environment Relationships.

  1. Information on minerals was drawn from R. Pearson and M. Hermans, 2001, Alaska in Maps.

  2. Information on natural hazards in Alaska is found at:

    The web site of the Alaska-Pacific River Forecast Center of the National Weather Service:

    Earthquake and volcano information is available through the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute. Real time information on earthquake and volcanic activity is available:

Geography and History:

Alaska Place Names information is found in:
Donald J. Orth. 1967. Dictionary of Alaska Place Names. Geological Survey Professional Paper 567. Wasington: U.S. Government Printing Office.

A companion volume that contains supplemental place names is:
Alan Edward Schorr. 1991. Alaska Place Names. Juneau: Denali Press.

For information on place names in Alaska and learn how a place can be named, see:

Thinking Geographically

Geography Standards:

  1. Bednarz, S.W., 1994. Geography for Life: National Geography Standards. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society.
    The Geography standards can be found on the Internet at the National Council for Geographic Education web site.

  2. Gersmehl, Philip. 1996. Why Not Here? Teaching Geography to a New Standard. Indiana, Pennsylvania: National Council for Geographic Education.


Tony Hillerman:
Dana Stabenow:
John Straley:

Alaska Maps and GIS Information:

  1. Pearson, Roger and Marjorie Hermans (Eds.). 1998. Alaska in Maps: A Thematic Atlas of Alaska. Anchorage, AK: Institute of the North.
    For maps from the above collection, refer to the Institute of the North web site. The maps will be posted there as of May 2004:

  2. General maps and information on Alaska can also be found at the National Geographic Society web site:


  1. Information on the Harriman Alaska voyages, 1899 and 2001 can be found at:

    Specific image used in this discussion:

Geographic Analysis:

  1. For information on Glaciers, see the Physical Geography section.

  2. Ball, Philip. 19 July, 2002. "Alaskan glaciers raise sealevel." Nature.
  3. For digitized Alaska Native Language and Alaska Native Corporation maps, see:
    Pearson, Roger and Marjorie Hermans (Eds.). 2008. Alaska in Maps: A Thematic Atlas of Alaska. CD-ROM 2nd Edition. Fairbanks. University of Alaska Geography Program.

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