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Education activities Review: August 13 – 26

August 26, 2011

Science collaborative project

Education staff have been immersed over the past couple weeks in field and follow-up activities related to the Science Collaborative project’s community monitoring of local salt marshes. We joined other KBRR staff + 12 community volunteers in Beluga Slough for a field day of monitoring on Saturday, August 13th. 14 community volunteers again helped conduct plant/animal surveys in the China Poot Bay salt marsh on Saturday, August 20th. We so appreciate the help of our enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers for these two monitoring events! Next summer we’ll be monitoring salt marshes in Sadie Cove and the Fox River Flats.


Community monitoring program

Catie has been working with Outside harmful algal bloom experts this month to determine the source of a red coloration in the sea water of Sadie Cove. After much time spent analyzing water samples, Catie concluded that the water’s color was most likely due to a high concentration of non-toxic, protozoans called ciliates. Specimens of these microscopic zooplankton are shown here:

Catie is also working on an identification guide to common tunicates of Kachemak Bay, which will also include invasive species that we’re looking for.

Science education programming at KBRR

This week’s BookingBlitz for preK – 12 teachers went very smoothly. We were fully booked for our Discovery Lab programs within the 1st two hours of the booking event and have 39 labs scheduled for the 2011-12 school year with students from the Kenai Peninsula. Teachers also booked 7 Estuary Hikes for their students.

Science education in the news

We are very thankful for and proud of local science educator, naturalist, and former KBRR Community Council member Daisy Lee Bitter, who was recently announced as a winner of the Alaska Conservation Foundation’s Jerry S. Dixon Award for Excellence in Environmental Education. Congratulations Daisy Lee!

To learn more about this remarkable lady and environmental hero, read on (from ACF’s website)…

Daisy Lee Bitter, Homer
Innovating science education in Alaska

Daisy Lee Bitter is a legendary Alaskan science educator whose enthusiastic, well-informed, innovative approach to education has inspired thousands of students and educators for more than 50 years. Through 29 years in the classroom, hands-on outdoor workshops and field trips, public radio, books and articles, she has informed and shared her love of science and Alaska’s environment. Her creative approach to teaching includes pioneering the first classroom field trip by DC-3 airplane! She has produced an award-winning TV series about Alaska’s Native cultures, administered educational programs for Alaska Native students, and served as the school principal for Fairview and Susitna Elementary Schools.

An active volunteer in her community, Daisy became involved in the newly formed Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies (CACS) in 1983. As CACS ‘s first volunteer education director, she set up an award-winning program recognized by the National Association of Science Teachers. She later served as CACS Board President and led the efforts to acquire 126 acres of wilderness in the hills above Homer that eventually became the Wynn Nature Center. Her local contributions were recognized when she was awarded Homer’s Citizen of the Year in 1986. She was also a founder and board member of Kachemak Heritage Land Trust (KHLT), a nonprofit organization focused on preserving the Kenai Peninsula, and Alaska’s first land trust.

Daisy’s love of education extends beyond science. Kenai Peninsula College, University of Alaska, Alaska State Troopers, and others have engaged her to teach science/environmental education and survival classes. Her excitement about the natural world is contagious to all who come into contact with her. If you haven’t had the experience of being in her classroom, don’t miss Daisy’s lesson on sandhill cranes.

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