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Education activities review: February 8 – 19

February 19, 2010

Public events

This week Megan and AK Marine Conservation Council Homer Outreach Coordinator Alan Parks coordinated  the following 3 climate change events:

  1. Community booth session – a forum for sharing local efforts on climate change education, response, research, and adaptation. A group of about 25 folks representing themselves, the City of Homer, non-profits, and agencies had tables for this public outreach event. There are a lot of great things happening at various levels to address our changing environment.
  2. Panel of climate change experts – Ed Berg (ecologist, US FWS), Steve Baird (GIS analyst, KBRR), Sue Mauger (Science Director, Cook Inletkeeper), Jeremy Mathis (Assistant Professor, UAF), Steve Colt (Professor of Economics, UAA), Alan Parks (Outreach Coordinator, AMCC), and Ian Dutton (CEO, AK SeaLife Center) provided updates on local climate science and anticipated effects, the economics & politics of climate change, and climate change adaptation – 80 people attended this event.
  3. Workshop on climate change adaptation – delivered to 52 participants, including members of tribal governments, City of Homer, the Kenai Peninsula Borough, local non-profit organizations, AK Coastal District managers, scientists, and local community members.  Presenters included the panelists mentioned above plus Sarah Trainor (Scenarios Network for Alaska Planning) and Terry Johnson (Marine Advisory Program extension agent).

Support for all of these events was provided by the Alaska Marine Conservation Council, the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment & Policy, and the National Estuarine Research Reserve Association.

The Saturday, February 6th Kids in Nature & Trustworthy Hardware Ice Fishing Derby Kick-off in Soldotna was a great success. Scott Miller, co-owner of the hardware store said this year’s event was the best ever…he said they usually attract close to 30 people on the ice at any one time, and this year there were about 100! This number included at least 10 families from Homer who escaped Homer’s blizzard and drove 60 miles each way to fish in the sunshine on Sport Lake. Jess and Carmen, working with an ADF&G colleague – Patti Berkhahn – on her day off, distributed about 40 Fish & Game rods, tackle, and bait, plus ice ladles, and shared fishing regulation information to new fisherman. Nearly all the people fishing were under 15 years old, accompanied by parents, grandparents, and family friends. See the derby’s current standings on the Soldotna Hardware site.

Preschool – 12th grade education programs

Last Friday Catie taught Deep Ocean Currents to 72 (in two groups) 3rd – 6th grade students from Fireweed Academy in Homer. In mixed teams of four, the students participated in a hands-on experiment demonstrating how different seawater densities create currents. Half the class explored salinity-driven currents, while the other half investigated temperature-driven currents in their aquaria. The program wrapped up with a short video on thermohaline circulation in the ocean and how it may be affected by climate change. Eleven parent chaperones accompanied these students and helped with the classes; it was rewarding to see their excitement, as well, in learning.

Education program outreach

Last week Carmen attended the Alaska Forum on the Environment. She organized and presented at a session entitled “No Child Left Inside: Alaska’s Efforts to Reconnect Children with Nature.” She and her colleagues spoke to the enormous impacts that not getting outdoors have on the health of Alaska’s young people, as well as that of our environment. Participants learned about the challenges faced by Alaska’s youth in spending time outdoors and successful programs and initiatives aimed to develop healthier, happier, smarter children by reversing this trend at the community and family levels. Carmen also distributed nearly 40 of our new Kids in Nature Toolkit for Parent/Caregiver Workshops to session attendees.

Education collaborations

Today education staff participated in the Kachemak Bay Environmental Education Alliance’s (KBEEA) semi-annual meeting. This group discussed upcoming collaborative Spring Break, Earth Day, summer, fall and outdoor family events, plus new initiatives for pre-K through 12th grade students. The latter included an upcoming Growing Up Wild workshop hosted by the Reserve in the fall of 2010. Hanna Eklund with Chugach Regional Resources Commission (CRRC) joined the group and described CRRC’s new K – 12 curricula project and shared a wonderful video made to inspire Alaskan students to become interested in science. And visitor Sarah Thompson shared information on renewable energy projects underway in Homer.

Education program funding

The Research Reserve received news last week that we will be funded by the NERR System in the next fiscal year to develop a new market analysis and needs assessment for our education programming. This project will allow us to assess the value of and need for new outreach methods and to determine overlaps or gaps in local program delivery that have occurred since the Kachemak Bay Environmental Education Alliance’s (KBEEA’s) first assessment in 2002. We will share the results of this project with our partnering organizations so that their educational programs and outreach opportunities might benefit.

KBRR Exhibits

Catie has been in a whirlwind of providing information to the exhibit fabricators… electrical needs, finding just the right photo, making sure every animal is represented with accurate dimensions, photos, locations, and more.

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