Encounters North

Welcome Wild Explorers

Walker Lake  IMG_7012.JPG

Find out more about the fascinating subjects on Encounters

like polar bears, caribou, boreal forests, bird migration and humpback whales. 

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Text by Liz McKenzie and Photos by Richard Nelson


Alaska's Wild Salmon

Wild salmon are one of the earth’s most extraordinary sustainable and renewable resources. They nourish our bodies, enrich our cultural traditions, and support our economies. And salmon are crucial to the health of living communities in the ocean, in fresh water and on the land.



The North American beaver is a crafty, intelligent, and industrious animal best known for ingeniously altering its environment to create the watery world it needs.

Bird Migration

Imagine waking up to a May sunrise and hearing a bright new song in the back yard. It takes a sharp eye to pick out the singer, a miniature bird with a voice as brilliant as its gleaming golden feathers.


Boreal Forest

When people think of the biggest forest in the world, usually it's the tropical rain forest that comes to mind. But in fact, the boreal forest is the largest intact forest ecosystem on earth.


For many thousands of years, caribou have been awakening the quiet world of the north as they've journeyed across the landscape during their annual migrations.



In the North summers are fleeting and winters long—up to 8 months—and brutally cold. Temperatures can plunge to minus 70 degrees. Gales make it feel even colder, and deep or drifted snow can make simply moving around an energy-draining ordeal.

Grizzly Bear

There is simply nothing more impressive, more captivating, more emblematic of the North American wilds than the grizzly bear.


Humpback Whale

As whales go, humpbacks aren't the biggest—a "mere" 40-45 feet long compared to 60 foot sperm whales and 100 foot blue whales—the biggest animal that has ever lived. But humpbacks are arguably the best loved and they're definitely the biggest show offs of all the cetaceans.


If ever there was a creature with a confusing mix of body parts, the moose is it. Some parts seem too big—the outsized nose and huge ears, a bulked-up torso and massive rack. Other parts seem too small—long, slender, racehorse legs holding everything up and a ridiculously stubby tail. 


Polar Bear

Imagine a creamy-white mountain moving gracefully across a frozen sea. Imagine a land mammal morphing over time into a marine mammal—now with a thick insulating layer of fat for protection against frigid arctic cold, and hollow hairs that trap air to keep it warm and buoyant in freezing water.

Wild Sounds

Some of the loveliest and most inspiring sounds on earth are made by animals. These wild voices are all around us, from the most remote forest to the heart of the city. 


Scientists at Work

Meet the researchers who study our world, who reveal the beauty and magic of nature, and whose research contributes to building a more successful and sustainable relationship to the earth.