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Education activities for April 23 – 27

April 28, 2012

Community monitoring programs

Catie has been busy sending small bottles and plankton nets to the 14 Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Phytoplankton Monitors for their summer work. From Bear Cove to Seldovia Harbor, the tiny microscopic floating plants of our ocean will be scrutinized and recorded by monitors and Reserve staff. If a bloom of a potentially toxic species is detected at elevated levels, steps will be taken to send that information up the line to NOAA and DEC.

As we look for the species of phytoplankton that can sometimes result in toxins for shellfish-eating people, we are also learning what patterns the phytoplankton in our bay have within a typical year. Everything living in the ocean depends on the abundance of phytoplankton, and we are excited to be learning more about it. A big thank you to our dedicated HAB monitors!

This week Catie also went to Port Graham to train a new green crab volunteer monitor in that community.

Pre-K – 12th grade coastal science education

Catie, Carmen and volunteer Katie Gavenus provided a Habitat Mapping & Oil Spill Response Discovery Lab to 39 K – 12th grade students at Susan B. English School in Seldovia on Monday. These offsite programs were funded by Prince William Sound RCAC; PWSRCAC Executive Director Mark Swanson and Outreach Coordinator Linda Robinson joined us for these EE programs in Seldovia. Seldovia resident and KBRR supporter Savannah Lewis also joined us for the day’s activities in the school.

Carmen led 3 Estuary Ecology Hikes to 56 preschool, kindergarten and fourth grade students from Homer this week. The kids enjoyed stunning weather while learning about the importance of estuaries as bird and fish habitat. They were treated to wonderful views of migrant ducks, geese, and cranes, too.

Public events

Jess and Carmen interacted with lots of families at last Friday’s Math & Science Night /Summer Activities Fair at Paul Banks Elementary School. There was great interest from parents in our summer Discovery Lab schedule, upcoming outdoor events, the Reserve’s newsletter, and Nature Rocks Homer activities.

Carmen helped ADF&G biologist Mike Booz on Saturday at the annual Youth Fishing Fair. She led families through the very popular fish anatomy puzzle and helped kids identify Alaska’s salmon species.

On Thursday Carmen lead a Let’s G.O.! (Get Outside) Family Bird Walk for 7 youngsters, 5 moms and a grandmother. The highlight of this outing was undoubtedly a giant flock of Greater White-fronted Geese flying right over the group’s heads. Birds seen through binoculars and a spotting scope included both Greater White-fronted and Canada Geese, Sandhill Cranes, Green-winged Teals, an Eurasian Wigeon, American Wigeons, Mallards, Northern Pintails, and Bald Eagles. This free event was also a Week of the Young Child event.

Carmen and Let’s G.O.! (Get Outside) families watching geese

We invite you to join us for next Wednesday’s (May 2nd) public Discovery Lab – Growing Naturalists – from 3 – 5 pm at Islands & Ocean. There will be fun & fascinating activities for all ages. Participants will learn identification skills for local plants, bugs, birds, fish & marine invertebrates and about outdoor monitoring activities they can become involved in. And don’t forget to bring in a natural treasure to trade for a new one at the Nature Trading Post!

And finally, here is the Reserve’s schedule for upcoming summer Discovery Labs:

Summer 2012 Discovery Labs

1:00 – 3:00 pm
Wednesday / Friday / Saturday
July 4 – August 4

July 4 – 7: Growing Naturalists
July 11 – 14: Sport Fishing for Salmon
July 18 – 21: Sport Fishing for Halibut
July 25 – 28: Salt Marsh Wildlife
Aug 1 – 4: Salt Marsh Plants

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