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Education activities review September 24 – 30

September 30, 2011

Community monitoring program

While communicating with other European Green Crab researchers, Catie learned that there was a recent range expansion of about 100 nautical miles further north in British Columbia. Catie plans on getting in touch with someone in this area to gather sea temperatures to compare with ours.

Catie led two student monitoring outings to trap for European Green Crab this week – Lyn Maslow’s class of 21 fourth graders and Sheryl Sotelo’s class of 18 sixth graders each spent part of a morning on the Pier One beach at low tide documenting what they found in the baited traps. Some traps caught nothing, others caught helmet crabs (Telmessus cheiragonus) or Pacific staghorn sculpins (Leptocottus armatus). The kids did an outstanding job recording data and making observations!

Catie reviewing green crab trapping data sheet with 4th grade students (9/28/11)

Boys measuring carapace of helmet crab (9/28/11)

Education program outreach

Terry and Catie attended the Back to School Party at the Boys and Girls Club last Friday. This annual event showcases many different opportunities that are available for kids to participate in during the winter. We represented the AK Islands and Ocean Visitor Center and featured our winter Discovery Labs, as well as the Refuge’s Explorer Backpacks (that are loaned free to families) and their Jr. Naturalist program. Participants – which numbered about 100 – were lured to our table with a live urchin under a microscope and went away with Discovery Lab schedules and information on upcoming activities here at the visitor center. And 4 families signed up to receive registration information for our February 11th Beyond BOW Family Ice Fishing Expedition.

Teacher workshops

Yesterday we hosted a Natural Teacher Workshop at the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies building in Homer. Five informal and classroom educators joined us for a lively and inspiring conversation about how to get local students into outdoor learning environments. Three of Homer’s most experienced classroom Natural Teachers – Carole Demers, Kim Fine, and Sheryl Sotelo – provided advice and insights for us all to expand education programs into the outdoors. While attendance at this workshop was lower than we’d hoped, the group was very engaged and had a great discussion about next steps and how to attract more classroom teachers to another workshop such as this – in particular via school district in-services and/or school staff meetings. The group also brainstormed the idea of introducing teachers, on a school-by-school basis, to the outdoor spaces around their school…identify these spaces, what kinds of activities/lessons could be taught there, and how to encourage the regular use of them. The group suggested a future training – a field trip management workshop (how to organize & prepare for a field trip) for teachers.

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