On June 24, the Juneau Icefield Research Group, led by glaciologist Dr. Maynard Miller, held its 50th annual get-together at the home of Dean and Edna Williams.
This group is composed of young people from high schoolers to college-aged students who are seeking to complete their doctorate degrees.
"They are from all over the world, and no doubt, the program is the most unique way to learn the deep secrets of Alaska's glaciers," said Dean Williams, who hosts the pre-glacier meeting at his house every year. "The average attendance has been around 45 people, which would total more than 2,250 students at the present time."
According to Williams, the group has had more than 41 academic and resource scientists serving as staff. The group spends two months on the Juneau Icefield, finishing at the Atlin Wilderness Park in British Columbia, Canada.
The following organizations have supported this educational research program: The Foundation for Glacier and Environmental Research, Glaciological and Arctic Sciences Institute, University of Idaho, Environmental Sciences Program at the University of Alaska Southeast, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, U.S. Army Research Office, U.S. Department of the Air Force, Office of Naval Research, National Science Foundation, U.S. Forest Service and the Juneau Icefield Research Program.
According to Williams, in July 1949, he, Tony Thomas and Dr. Ted Haley made the first east-west crossing of the Juneau Icefield on skis. They started from the Devil's Paw on the Canadian border to Glacier Highway in Juneau.
"One of the biggest thrills each year is to see the wonderful expressions of excitement on the faces of the students when the film entitled 'Alaska Icefield Experience - Summer Institute of Geological and Arctic Science' is shown at the end of the annual party," Williams said.
For more information on the Juneau Icefield Research Group, call Williams at 586-2391.