Meet Into the Woods Alaska

into the woods alaska – Our beginnings

Into the Woods Alaska was conceived from a philosophy that nature is paramount in our lives and in the life of a healthy community.

We believe that every child has the right to grow up playing in the woods, and every adult should know how to get into the woods to renew their spirit and lead a healthy life. We started Into the Woods Alaska because we were longing for something different – a new way of approaching childcare that emphasized experiential learning while playing in the woods. This idea was born from our experience as parents in the Anchorage area – long we searched for day cares and summer camps whose focus was play in the outdoors, where kids could grow up learning how to operate safely in Alaska’s wild country.

We wanted something different from summer camps that had tight schedules and busy activities all day…we wanted our kids to just play in the woods, to learn by being independent thinkers, and follow their own innate curiosities rather than an adult telling them how to think or what questions to ask. Into the Woods is a different kind of outdoors camp. It is an outdoor education for any age. It is a place where we teach the value of scientific observation and learning through play. It is a place where kids can be free of screens, schedules, stress….and just play.

When you or your child goes on an adventure with Into the Woods Alaska, it is a family event. We make safety a top priority while learning outdoor safety skills and opening our eyes to the life that is all around us. Our world is changing rapidly due to climate change, and we fear that future generations won’t have this nature to find peace in unless we act now.

We firmly believe that when children and adults get out in nature they will become advocates for protecting it. We all need to do our part to ensure future generations will be able to see whales in resurrection bay, salmon leaping up the Kenai, glaciers in our mountains, forests flourishing (not in wildfire or in drought), birds on the wing, and our ecosystems full of life.

Meet you in the Woods,

~ Kristina, Dan, and the Team

MEET THE TEAM

We are a small team of talented outdoors enthusiasts and professionals with a wide range of skills and experience. We love what we do, and we do it with passion. We look forward to working with you.

Safety is of utmost importance to us for your young explorers as well as our guides.  We therefore have safety protocols in the event of an emergency or necessary field medicine.  Our lead guides are CPR/ first aid and/or Wilderness First Aid certified at a minimum while some are certified at a higher level of Wilderness First Responder.  All personnel at Into the Woods, LLC have background checks and references.  All guides will carry appropriate radios and communication equipment as well as bear spray.  All guides are trained in and will follow wildlife and environmental safety standards both at camp but also during their personal time off.

kristina kvernplassen

co-founder, lead guide

Kristina grew up in Anchorage, where she spent her childhood playing in the woods in the BLM tract off of Elmore (then Abbott road), discovering hidden worlds in the dwarf spruce trees up at Glen Alps, camping and backpacking throughout Alaska, and zooming around the woods and trails of Kincaid Park. Kristina is lead guide and co-founder of ITWAK with her husband Dan. Kristina is honored to have the opportunity to get kids outdoors to play in the woods and learn new skills with Into the Woods Alaska.

dan dillehay

co-founder, lead guide

Dan grew up in Great Falls, Virginia, playing in the woods around his house and camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains. In high school, he went to an outdoors-education based program and his passion for the outdoors grew. Dan made his way to Montana for university, and then Alaska, where he discovered Alaska’s great wild beauty was unlike anything he had yet experienced and the salmon and trout fishing was the best in the world. Dan is co-founder and lead guide at ITWAK and looks forward to helping Alaska kids get outdoors for many years to come.

bri ramsey

site director, lead guide

Bri grew up on the East Coast going on family outings in Acadia National Park, which inspired her to study Environmental Science. Bri is a site director and lead guide at ITWAK for all programs and age groups, developing outdoor studies curriculum for our youth outdoor studies programs.

luke portera

office manager, lead guide

Luke grew up in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains in Tennessee, exploring the wilderness surrounding his hometown. After graduating high school and moving to Atlanta for University, he quickly found community among the wilderness guides at his school’s outdoor organization. Luke is the office manager and a lead guide at ITWAK, helping develop our outdoor studies curriculum.

lea rueters

Guide

Lea was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. Her father, a former tour guide, shared his joy of the outdoors and traveling with her from an early age. She attended Eastern Washington University, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and then taught English in Japan for a year through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program. She moved to Aniak, Alaska to work for the Kuspuk School District where she taught second and third grade for three years. She learned to smoke salmon, quilt, sew qaspeqs and much more about the cultures of western Alaska.

madeleine Day

Guide

Although Maddy was born in Anchorage, she grew up on a rural island in Hong Kong. Throughout her youth, she developed a taste for the wilderness, exploring the jungles and rivers of her home. She observed that people and wilderness could co-exist, as she traveled to school each day in the urban center of Hong Kong.  Last fall, she attended the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in the southwestern U.S., and slept under the stars for three months. Now she’s excited to get out in the Alaskan outdoors to share her knowledge and passion with wonderful kids!


Want to work with us?