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Education activities review: mid-May to mid-June

June 23, 2012

KBRR Program outreach

On May 21st we had the distinct pleasure of meeting with Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, who was appointed by President Obama to serve as assistant secretary of commerce for environmental observation and prediction with NOAA. She is perhaps better known as the first woman astronaut to walk in space. Dr. Sullivan came to Homer to meet with KBRR and Kasitsna Bay staff and spent the early part of the day at Islands and Ocean learning about our research projects, education programs, and outreach efforts.

On June 14th Jessica traveled to Anchorage to participate in an educational planning meeting with the newly formed Gulf Watch Alaska – an Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council Long Term Monitoring Program. Gulf Watch Alaska is a 5-year, multi-million dollar collaborative monitoring effort which will be incorporated into the extensive body of baseline research that continues to define the Gulf of Alaska after the Exxon Valdez spill. Educators from coastal agencies in Homer, Cordova, Seward, and Valdez met to discuss how best to convey research findings to the public.

Educational materials

Catie finished a sculpin identification poster this month, utilizing her considerable talent as a scientific illustrator. See the 2-page (front/back) poster below or download a full-size copy.

Public events

Our summer education programs for the public began this week with Estuary Hikes and Beach Walks. 21 locals and visitors joined Jess and Carmen for the summer’s first Estuary Hikes along Beluga Slough. The groups learned how estuaries are important to salmon of all ages and found Sandhill Cranes with colts, marsh flowers (silverweed, tall Jacob’s ladder, arrowgrass, seaside angelica, and yellow geum). 9 people enjoyed a morning Beach Walk with Jess Friday.

Our summer Discovery Labs begin in 2 weeks with a repeat of May’s Growing Naturalists event. Labs will be open to the public every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 1 – 3pm between July 4th and August 4th. Here is the 5-week schedule for our lab topics:

KBRR Discovery Labs
1 – 3pm
July 4 – August 4, 2012

July 4 Growing Naturalists
July 6 Growing Naturalists
July 7 Growing Naturalists
July 11 Sport Fishing for Salmon
July 13 Sport Fishing for Salmon
July 14 Sport Fishing for Salmon
July 18 Sport Fishing for Halibut
July 20 Sport Fishing for Halibut
July 21 Sport Fishing for Halibut
July 25 Salt Marsh Wildlife
July 27 Salt Marsh Wildlife
July 28 Salt Marsh Wildlife
Aug 1 Salt Marsh Plants
Aug 3 Salt Marsh Plants
Aug 4 Salt Marsh Plants

If any of you would like to join us at one or more of these labs as a volunteer, please contact Carmen at 226-4659 or

Community monitoring

Catie has been busy this spring recruiting and training citizen scientists to collect and read water samples as part of our Harmful Algal Bloom monitoring program. In addition, she continued the Reserve’s European green crab trapping outreach with school groups and volunteers and examined KBRR study sites to look for invasive tunicate species. To date, we have had no green crabs in Alaska and no tunicate outbreaks in Kachemak Bay.

Catie is on leave until August 1st, leaving Jess and Carmen to oversee community monitoring efforts.

Trainings & conferences

Jess and Carmen completed CPR & 1st Aid training on Monday of this week.

Both Jess and Carmen will be attending the National Marine Educators Association annual meeting in Anchorage next week. Jess will be presenting at this conference – along with a NERRS colleague – on ways to incorporate real-time SWMP data into K-12 educational activities. In addition to attending the conference, Carmen will be serving as a trip guide toward the end of the week – along with Lisa Matlock from USFWS – for NMEA post-conference field trip participants travelling by bus from Anchorage to Homer for a weekend adventure along the shores of Kachemak Bay. We’ll also be involved in Islands & Ocean programming and a KBEEA reception for the field trip group next Friday.

Education staff

The Research Reserve will welcome 2 education interns on July 3rd – Heather Dalke and Brittany Bobola. They will assist with educational programs and field work through the 18th of August.

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