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Education activities review: February 7 – 11

February 11, 2011

Public education programs

Dr. Daniel White, Director of the Institute of Northern Engineering at UAF spoke to 3 Homer High School marine science classes on Tuesday, engaging 90 high school students in dialogue about how climate change and Homer’s water resources are intertwined. Dr. White’s public presentation on climate change and water resources that same evening drew 30 interested residents.

Student education programs

This week our education staff hosted 140 third-, fourth-, and sixth-grade students from West Homer Elementary and McNeil Canyon Elementary for Our Landscape Over Time Discovery Labs. In addition to a short presentation on earth science topics related to landscape change and a hands-on geologic time scale activity, the students learned about how volcanoes work, how glaciers shape our landscape, how and why the Homer Spit has changed over time, research currently underway in our region, and more.

The McNeil Canyon 3rd graders also were guided by Carmen on a winter Estuary Hike (our 1st in the snow) along the Islands & Ocean trail system. The kids especially enjoyed walking on the snow/ice and looking for wildlife (they found birds, moose signs, spiders, and caterpillars).

Education collaborations

Catie and Megan had a great time in Seward assisting as officials with the annual Alaska Tsunami Ocean Sciences Bowl last weekend. High school students from 14 Alaska communities, on 20 teams, competed this year. The overall winners (knowledge quiz plus research project) were Absolute Vorticity from Juneau-Douglas High School, 1st place; Tiger Sharks from Mat-Su Career & Technical High School, 2nd place; and Auto-Eviscerators from Cordova, 3rd place. The Absolute Vorticity team of 5 students will compete in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl in Galveston, TX April 29 – May 1, 2011. The first- and second-place teams are awarded tuition waivers to UAF or UAS. And all Alaskan student participants are eligible for a $1,000 scholarship at the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. Phyllis Shoemaker, with the SFOS Seward Marine Center, organized the 14th annual competition, and more than 100 people volunteered or assisted from Seward and around the state, including our 2 staff members.

Special note: The Nature Rocks Homer and KBEEA annual Winter Family Fun Day, scheduled to happen this weekend (Sun, Feb. 13 from 1 – 3pm) on Beluga Lake, has been cancelled due to unstable ice conditions.

Next week Jessica will be travelling to the annual NERRS Education Coordinators’ meeting at Weeks Bay Reserve in coastal Alabama. There she will be presenting on the Reserve-wide Cheetah Team’s climate change plan and working with fellow ECs on NERRS-related initiatives.

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