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Education activities review: January 25 – February 5

February 15, 2010

Public Events

Last week Megan Murphy and AK Marine Conservation Council Homer Outreach Coordinator Alan Parks hosted a lunchtime sharing session for local individuals involved with climate change education, response, research, and adaptation. A group of about 20 folks representing themselves, the City of Homer, non-profits, and agencies shared what they have been doing since a similar meeting last year, as well as efforts planned for 2010 and beyond. There are a lot of great things happening at various levels to address our changing environment!

This week’s What’s New in the Bay Discovery Lab, organized by Megan, was a fantastic collaboration with local research organizations, agencies, and individuals. An early afternoon lab for stakeholders brought 18 community partners interested in local research to our lab classroom; and the public lab was attended by 54 visitors of all ages. There were lots of hands-on displays and demonstrations and more researchers and partners than we’ve probably ever had in that room.

A huge thank you goes out to all our partners who participated in Wednesday’s afternoon labs! The following groups and individuals made this afternoon a resounding success: AK Dept. of Fish & Game (Ted Otis, Barbi Failor, Phil Cowan, Elisa Russ, Mike Byerly, Ken Goldman, Carla Milburn, and Ethan Ford); NOAA/Kasitsna Bay Laboratory (Kris Holderied), Seldovia Village Tribe (Michael Opheim & Tracie Merrill), Coble Geophysical (Geoff Coble), Homer Soil & Water Conservation District (Blaine Spellman), Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies (Katie Spellman), Cook Inletkeeper (Rachel Lord), Pratt Museum (Ryjil Christianson), Marine Mammal Stranding Network (Karen Corbell & Kristin Worman), KBRR Graduate Research Program & University of Alaska – Fairbanks (Tammy Hoem), Kachemak Bay Birders (George Matz), the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and KBRR (Angie, Coowe, Joel, and Stormy).

If you’d like to receive an electronic version of the new KBay Research Overview (created to complement this lab), please contact Megan at megan.murphy@alaska.gov or 226-4653.

Tomorrow, Saturday, February 6th, KBRR staff will be on hand to help local families learn how to ice fish at Trustworthy Hardware’s annual Ice Fishing Derby Kick-off at Sport Lake in Soldotna. Fishing holes will be drilled for those without augers; ice fishing gear will be available to borrow/use; and there will be giveaways (ice fishing gear) throughout the afternoon, a fish measuring and photography station (for fish of all sizes. not just the lunkers), an underwater camera to watch the fish you’re trying to catch, on-the-ice license sales, easy lake access, free food, a bonfire, and outhouse facilities. This is a Kids in Nature event for the whole family – for beginners and experienced fishermen. Carmen’s family fished there 3 weeks ago and caught 30 rainbow trout in 4 hours (they kept 5 for dinner) ? If you don’t have plans already for the weekend, please join us tomorrow for a fun afternoon of ice fishing up the highway! (directions to Sport Lake)

Preschool – 12 Education

Carmen Field provided a Careers in Marine Science program for 23 Homer 4th & 5th graders this week.

Education Trainings

Earlier this week, 14 coastal resource professionals participated in the Project Design & Evaluation course instructed by NOAA’s Coastal Services Center staff. The goal of this course is to enhance participants’ knowledge, skills, and tools to design and implement effective projects that have measurable impacts on their desired audiences. Participants included employees from the Homer Soil & Water District, Cook Inletkeeper, Prince William Sound RCAC, Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies, South Peninsula Hospital [Southern Kenai Peninsula Communities Project], AK Dept of Fish & Game, the Pratt Museum, and KBRR.

Education Collaborations

Last week Carmen joined other ADF&G educators for the 2nd Annual Discover Wild Alaska meeting in Anchorage. She presented her newly created Kids in Nature Toolkit for Parent/Caregiver Workshops to the group and provided each attendee with a draft toolkit. Fellow department educators (and the meeting facilitator) were very excited to bring this new tool back to their communities and share its messages and activities. The goal of these workshops are to inform parents and caregivers of the myriad health and environmental reasons for their children to connect with nature and to address their barriers for getting outdoors, helping them to feel comfortable taking their children outside.

This same toolkit (see above) will be shared by Carmen with Alaska Forum on the Environment attendees next week, during her No Child Left Inside: Alaska’s Efforts to Reconnect Children with Nature session. Jessica Ryan will be this session’s moderator. Carmen will provide an overview of `nature-deficit disorder’ as an issue and present on statewide and Homer area efforts related to this; also presenting with Carmen will be U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service educator Orville Lind and ADF&G Sport Fish educator Stacie Hall.

Education Program Planning

Reserve staff met last week for a 2-day strategic planning session to outline our goals, objectives and strategies for the next 5 years. These will be incorporated into the new management plan currently being updated per NOAA requirements. On the horizon is a new Discovery Lab / KBRR Research & Monitoring Project-based EE approach to providing educational programming here at the Reserve. Beginning in the fall of 2010 (for school year 2010-2011), we will feature one major research topic per month and build our educational and outreach programs around this topic. Each month will kick off with one of our highly-effective public Discovery Labs; we’ll then offer an array of pre-K through 12th grade Discovery Lab programs for students, public lectures, scientist storytelling events, outdoor family events and more that highlight that month’s topic and related science concepts. This new approach will involve all KBRR staff in a very integrated manner and greatly expand our education & outreach programming, allowing us to reach more people while maintaining our current staffing level. We’re very excited about this new direction!

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