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Education activities review: December 20 – January 7

January 8, 2011

Public education programs

On December 28th we offered an Ice Fishing Clinic in our lab classroom and learned that lots of people are interested in learning how and where to ice fish in our community. 76 people of all ages joined us and enjoyed learning from locals the secrets to catching rainbow trout, where the closest places to fish are (Bridge Creek Reservoir for rainbows and dollies and Encelewski Lake for rainbows), what kind of fish live in lakes on the Kenai Peninsula, what the fishing regulations are for catching freshwater fish through the ice and details on upcoming ice fishing events on the Peninsula. There was great interest in our soon-to-be available ice fishing equipment through our gear/rod loaner program.

The Reserve offered 32 Discovery Labs for the public in 2010, with a total of 2,846 visitors attending these labs and an average of 89 people joining us for each one. Numbers ranged from 27 to 184, with the top 3 labs for numbers of attendees being Crabs of Kachemak Bay, Marine Mammals of Alaska, and Sharks of Alaska.

This week we hosted a What’s For Dinner? Climate Change and the Future of Food Discovery Lab, which was attended by 69 people. As with past labs featuring climate change as a topic, visitors spent more time and had lengthier conversations with our staff and volunteers than in most labs. There was much conversation about crops that do well (or don’t) in Homer gardens and how gardening is changing in our region. We greatly appreciate support for this month’s public and student Discovery Labs from the Ocean Alaska Science and Learning Center and National Park Service.

And we are very thankful to volunteers Heidi Herzog, Roan Rediske, Axel Gillam and new volunteers Melisse Reichman and Kayla McVeigh for helping with the public lab this week!

We invite you to join us for a very interesting presentation next week – we will host Dr. Daniel White, Director of the Institute of Northern Engineering at UAF, for an evening presentation on Monday, January 10 from 6:30 – 7:30pm here at the AK Islands and Ocean Visitor Center. Dr. White will cover the basics of short- and long-term climate change, water resources, and the impacts of change on people (especially those in Homer). Dr. White’s talk will be held in the Seminar Room and is free of charge.

PreK – 12th grade science education programs

This week we hosted 95 third to sixth-grade students from Homer for What’s For Dinner? Climate Change and the Future of Food Discovery Labs. The kids learned about how ocean acidification might affect their food resources, the CO2 emissions created by eating particular foods, and the benefits to our atmosphere, food security, and health of growing, preserving, and eating local foods. These student Discovery Labs will continue through next week.

Community monitoring programs

Catie will be speaking to the Kachemak Shellfish Growers Co-op tomorrow about  2 of our community monitoring programs that this group has participated in – Temperature Tidbits and Harmful Algal Blooms. Catie’s presentation is part of our current planning process for the future of these programs, which includes asking the shellfish growers how these particular monitoring programs could be more helpful or meaningful to them. In addition to a leading a discussion about the growers’ involvement in KBRR’s monitoring programs, Catie will provide an update on the invasive tunicate (Didemnum vexillum) found in Sitka last summer and how it might affect the shellfish growers if it were to show up here.

In the last month Catie has developed and shared the draft of a tunicate guide with invasive and tunicate experts for review. This guide will be used to help monitors identify native vs. invasive tunicates in the Kachemak Bay area.

Coastal training program (CTP) & science outreach

On December 23rd, the Reserve hosted the 1st Kachemak Bay Marine Ecosystem Gathering at our old office on Kachemak Drive. Twenty-nine participants from the Homer area, Fairbanks (UAF), and Anchorage (UAA) met to discuss marine research happening, planned, and hoped for in our region. The goal of this group is to provide a networking opportunity for those conducting and/or interested in Kachemak Bay-area science. Notes from this meeting and a contact list will be posted on the KBRR website in the near future.

Education collaborations

Planning began this week for Kachemak Bay Environmental Education Alliance’s and Nature Rocks Homer’s annual Winter Family Fun Day. This year’s event will take place at Beluga Lake on Sunday, February 13 as part of Homer’s Winter Carnival. Families will be invited to join us for the Great Stickleback Ice Fishing Derby (silly fishing ?), become familiar with our ice fishing gear to be available for loan at Islands & Ocean, try snowshoeing, play snow games, and enjoy a bonfire. We’ll share more details soon.

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