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Education activities review April 1 – 8

April 8, 2011

Public education programs

Since you last received a Friday Feedback, we hosted a Family Ice Fishing Expedition on Saturday, February 26th for 9 families (15 adults/12 kids) from Homer on Encelewski Lake, north of Clam Gulch. There were 3 rainbow trout caught (one fried up and shared by all on the ice), lots of play in the snow, and treats enjoyed around a toasty fire. We’ve since seen several of these families at Homer’s annual Kids Fishing Fair and have been told by a few parents that their kids are really looking forward to fishing more this summer. ? We had tremendous help on the ice that day from ADF&G biologist Mike Booz and volunteers Conrad Field, Glenn Chen, and John Oliver.

Last month we hosted a What’s New in the Bay Discovery Lab, where 65 visitors learned about the variety of research projects and findings in the Kachemak Bay area – projects ranged from salmon and glaciers to plankton and our community’s health.

A lot of lively discussions and hands-on learning happened at this week’s Could It Happen Here? Coastal Habitat Mapping & Oil Spill Response Discovery Lab for the public. 57 visitors learned about shipping patterns, ship design, the Exxon Valdez oil spill and other spills in Alaskan waters. They role-played a spill response and clean-up scenario involving marine animal rescue. And they learned the basics of map reading. A large number of high school students from Vicki Lowe’s and Sharon Thompson’s classes joined us for this lab.

We really appreciate the involvement of Prince William Sound RCAC staff (who funded all of this month’s labs and associated programming) who joined us in the lab on Wednesday – Linda Robinson [Outreach Coordinator], Mark Swanson [Executive Director], and Amanda Johnson [Project Manager].

We also would like to thank the Pratt Museum for loaning us materials for the lab and KBRR volunteers Melisse Reichman, Axel Gillam, Roan Rediske, Kayla McVeigh, and Martha Briscoe for sharing their knowledge with visitors in the lab on Wednesday.

We invite you to join us for a very interesting brown bag presentation next week – Wooly Mammoths on the Kenai? – on Thursday, April 14th from 12:00 – 1:00 pm here at the AK Islands and Ocean Visitor Center. Join Homer author Janet Klein and retired geologist Dick Reger as they share their knowledge of local geology and explore fossil evidence that suggests the presence of wooly mammoths on the Kenai Peninsula. Feel free to bring your lunch, and if you have any artifacts that might belong to a mammoth bring those as well!

Student education programs

We kicked off our spring EE season today with a Careers in Marine Science program for 21 sixth grade students from Ninilchik School. Our Could It Happen Here? Coastal Habitat Mapping & Oil Spill Response Discovery Labs for students begin next Wednesday and will continue through April 21st. Estuary Ecology Hikes with student groups will begin on April 18th.

Coastal training program

The Research Reserve, partnering with the Alaska Coastal Management Program (ACMP) and NOAA’s Coastal Services Center, hosted an “Intro to Coastal GIS” class on March 22 – 24 in which 21 students participated. 5 Coastal District coordinators from the North Slope, Bristol Bay, and Southeast AK were able to participate through ACMP travel grants; other participants came from Seward, Anchorage, Soldotna, and Homer.

Education collaborations

Catie and Carmen attended a training this week to learn how to update the Kachemak Bay Environmental Education Alliance’s newly remodeled Homer Field Trips website. KBEEA partners will be editing website content this month and hope to have the new site go live by May 1st.

Nature Rocks Homer – partnering with the Research Reserve, AK Maritime NWR and others – has been awarded a grant from the US Fish & Wildlife Service to fund the Seabirds & Big Ice Adventure Youth Art Contest in Homer. Nine local winners (kids ages 12 – 14 who have never been to the south side of Kachemak Bay) and their adult chaperones will win a free boat trip to Gull Island and a guided hike to the Grewingk Glacier tarn (plus lunch) on Homer’s Kids Outdoor Day 2011 (June 20th). Carmen and Lisa Matlock met with a community planning committee this week and helped organize a NRH judging panel for entries. Details will be made public in the next week or so.

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