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Education activities review: September 20 – October 1

October 1, 2010

KBRR outreach

The Reserve’s website has undergone some major revisions and updating over the past month, with input from all education staff. Visit us to see our new look and information.

Last Friday Carmen and Terry hosted a table at the Back to School Party at the Homer Boys & Girls Club, sponsored by Big Brothers, Big Sisters staff to outreach programs we offer for local kids. There was much interest in our monthly Discovery Labs and the next day’s BioBlitz & Mud Games event. And 7 families signed up for our yet-to-be-scheduled winter ice fishing expedition to Encelewski Lake!

Public events

Our 10th annual National Estuaries Day and 1st annual Nature Rocks Day were celebrated last Saturday under sunny skies. Over 140 people gathered along Pony Creek, a small stream feeding the Kachemak Bay estuary, to participate in the Research Reserve’s Mini-BioBlitz on Cottonwood Horse Park property. This was the highest attendance we have ever had for a National Estuaries Day event. Families and individuals joined BioTeams to sample life in forested, riparian, and grassland habitats. BioBlitzers observed birds and collected all sorts of stream invertebrates, terrestrial insects and spiders, and plants; they then brought sightings or specimens to BioBlitz Central, where our on-site team of taxonomists [entomologist Dominique Collet, botanist Erik Pullman, stream ecologist Ryan King] and expert assistants [Coowe Walker, Megan Murphy, and Doug Reid] identified the flora and fauna discovered. Throughout the day participants also enjoyed barefoot mud play in The Wallow, group activities on a giant pile of sand, and pony rides.

Upcoming public events

Please join us next week (Wednesday, October 6th from 3 – 5 pm) for our Marine Mammals of Alaska Discovery Lab here at Islands & Ocean. The lab is full of interesting specimens (lots of marine mammal pieces and parts) – complete polar bear and Steller sea lion hides; skulls of a Bering Sea beaked whale, a beluga whale, a sea otter, and a Steller sea lion; and bones, baleen and teeth galore.

Special request programs

Last night Carmen gave a Getting to Know Homer – A Virtual Tour presentation at an Islands & Ocean reception to 70 superintendents from school districts around the state who are attending Alaska’s annual American Association of School Administrators (AASA) meeting in Homer this week. Superintendents toured our Marine Mammals of Alaska lab, and Reserve education staff joined fellow Kachemak Bay Environmental Education Alliance members as hosts for this evening reception.

Pre-K to 12th education & teacher trainings

Last week we provided Citizen Science Monitoring Discovery Labs for 4 IDEA homeschool students and accompanying 8 adults from Homer and 21 fourth graders from West Homer Elementary. Several students from these classes chose to take our citizen science lessons one step further and participated as BioTeam members at Saturday’s BioBlitz. Yesterday we kicked off October’s EE programs with a Marine Mammals of Alaska Discovery Lab for 17 Homer Head Start preschoolers (and 10 accompanying adults).

Tomorrow Jessica and Carmen will be assisting Brenda Duty, Project WILD coordinator for ADF&G’s Wildlife Division, with a Growing Up WILD workshop for early childhood educators (ages 3 – 7) at Islands & Ocean. Fourteen educators are currently registered for this training.

Community monitoring

This week Catie, working with Ori, created current temperature graphs from the small tidbit temperature loggers that are deployed in four bays on the south side (below is the newly created graph for Peterson Bay). These graphs were given to the Kachemak Shellfish Growers Co-op to be shared with all co-op member growers.

Catie also inspected, documented, and redeployed plastic settling plates that are hung from docks at various locations in Seldovia Harbor. Below are tunicates Catie found on an old submerged line in Seldovia Harbor.

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