Informed Experiences

About Informed Experiences

“If you see it, you’ll want to protect it”
-Inupiaq Elder Robert Thompson

Born from years of immersion in alpine environments, nurtured by the people and relatives who know these places as home, Informed Experiences is a bridge that fosters unique, place-based, bioculturally focussed adventures through education and praxis.

This story begins on ancestral lands of the Inupiat and Gwich’in people, in what todays is known as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, AK. Working through invitation to understand the uniqueness of this place alongside its original stewards,  expedition participants have repeatedly shared the profound transformational impact these experiences have brought to their lives. Our hosts have enjoyed our shared adventures, including the many outpourings of articles, photographs, films, and diverse impact projects that have come as a result of our time together. An Informed experience  is one rooted in traditional ecological knowledge, understanding western science, and applying action research. While experiences have quite literally traveled the globe, and found intimate homes in the Redwood forests and Sierra Nevada mountains of California, immersive experiences continue to be crafted and framed through the sense of community built in solidarity with working to permanently protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.   

Trip Offerings

Afters years of both mountain guiding and working with college students as a professor, Informed Experiences has grown organically into an outfit that intersects the diverse experiential and expeditionary skill sets found in both professions. The Arctic Refuge, Redwood Forest, and Sierra Nevada Mountains are some of our core experiences, representing years of time building community and sense of place around local cultures, ecology, and sustainabile problem-solving. 

Sierra Nevada Mountains


From the Lost Sierra, to Lake Tahoe and Mt. Whitney


Redwood Forest

Ancient forests found nowhere else in the world

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Learn about regeneration and resilience from the original stewards of "the last great wilderness"

Student Spotlight: published work from past informed experiences

Arctic Refuge

The Battle Over the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Is About More Than Just Oil

KAYLA HEIDENREICH - Drilling in the Arctic Refuge would have devastating impacts on wildlife, beginning with caribou.

Experiential education helps engage people, nature

CARA HOLLIS - While all the outcomes of experiential education are valuable, it is the capacity to connect with and contribute to communities that is particularly beneficial to understanding the stress the environment is under and spurring people to act.

How Drilling in ANWR Would Threaten the Gwich’in People’s Way of Life

RACHAEL BLUM - Last fall I was fortunate enough to adventure to Alaska with six students from Sierra Nevada College to engage in an incredibly unique cultural immersion and sustainability course in one of the most remote place in the world, Arctic Village.

In Northern Alaska, A Human Rights Imperative

REBEKAH ASHLEY - Trump’s assault on climate and public lands has put vulnerable communities at risk. Under his leadership, millions of acres of public lands have been opened to the energy industry and crucial protections have been rolled back on Indigenous lands.

Sierra Nevada field course, Northern Paiute territory, Mono Lake, May 2022
Redwood forest field course, Tolowa territory, Grove of the Titians, August 2022

Why support Informed Experiences?

When you support Informed Experiences, you’re supporting the opportunity for a learner to engage in a unique, life-changing experience. Our trips are one-of-a-kind, and serve to offer financial as well as logistical support to those who might not otherwise be able to afford such an experience. Our on the ground partners are Indigenous Elders, grassroots NGO’s, and policy makers who are leaders in the fields of sustainability and regeneration. With their knowledge at center, our experience is a shared educational adventure with a supportive ask once the trip is done. How can you share your experience in a way that inspires others to act? Whether it’s K-12 Arctic Refuge focussed educational curriculum, a local slideshow with original photography connecting issues of conservation and climate change in ones backyard with those faced in the Redwood bioregion, or a project related to increased accessibility and inclusivity in the Sierra Nevada outdoor recreation economy, these experiential expeditions are just the start of the journey. Supporting Informed Experiences is supporting the next wave of change-makers, the ones who see the contemporary global problems  in a fresh light, the ones that will be better equipped though our time together to offer the joyous, critical, nuanced solutions needed in the world today.

How have students that have worked with Brennan through sustainability studies and engaged in an informed experience applied their experience?  Kayla works for Outward Bound, Brayden is with Patagonia, Kela is on the Hill, Sonya is working on her second M.A., and Hunter is working through a NSF Grant in graduate school. These past students are now out in the world inspiring the next generation, but they also came back to the classroom as guest educators presenting to students exemplifying their applied theory and examples of sustainability praxis through their career paths or advanced degree paths. It’s as challenging as it is meaningful; the method works.  

Next Experience: 
 Arctic Refuge Experience, Summer 24′ 

Current Fundraising Campaigns:
Arctic Refuge Experience, Summer 24′ and 25′
Ecuador Outdoor Education and Biocultural Immersion, Spring 25′
Kenya Zawadisha Support, Safari, Ocean Health Experience, Summer 25′
Washoe Youth Sports, Cultural & Outdoor Expedition Program Support, Ongoing 
Wà;šiw Land Back in the Tahoe Basin: Join the Movement (direct link to donate)

Apply for Informed Experiences

Do one of our core experiences speak to you? Interested in joining us for a different adventure? Would you like us to help coordinate your dream experience? Reach out through the link below and we’ll be in touch shortly.