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Education activities review: July 28 – August 3

August 3, 2012

Public events

5 visitors joined us today for our last Friday Beach Walk.

Summer education interns Brittany and Heather led Estuary Hikes for 35 visitors this week.

Last Saturday’s Salt Marsh Wildlife Discovery Lab was attended by 70 visitors and, so far, this week’s Salt Marsh Plants labs have drawn 160 people. There were estuary plants all over the lab this week, and visitors enjoyed chatting with our staff, interns, colleagues, and volunteers about the plant specimens and the Science Collaborative project – especially vegetation mapping, salt marsh zonation, mass wasting and sediment transport, the community’s interest in our project, marsh plants’ roles in coastal food webs, and more. A big thanks goes out to these individuals who helped with this week’s Discovery Labs: Homer Harbormaster Bryan Hawkins, KBRR research analyst / salt marsh researcher Steve Baird, KBRR botanist Conrad Field, Science Collaborative project intern Taylor Bennett, Rebekah Jones and Curtis Hightower (National Park Service staff); and volunteers Syverine Abrahamson and Daniel Kern!

Pre-K -12th grade science education programming

This week we sent out an informational email to teachers and administrators outlining the coastal science education programs to be offered by KBRR during the 2012-13 school year and the process for booking these – during our annual BookingBlitz call-in booking event on Wednesday, August 15th. We will offer a maximum of 24 Discovery Lab programs during 3 months – Feb / Apr / May – this coming school year. We also plan to work in the local middle and high schools in November to provide science programming for students.

Community monitoring

Phytoplankton monitors continue to collect phytoplankton samples to be analyzed by us. Since February, half of the samples have indicated elevated levels of Chaetoceros (a chain diatom that contributes to the rich food web of our bay). Samples collected this summer by Ginger Strong in the Yukon Island area off the Rainbow Connection (tour boat) have been very rich in diversity compared to the inner sub-bays that receive more fresh water.

Pseudo-nitzschia (a diatom that can produce domoic acid under high concentrations) began to show up beginning July 2nd and continued being seen throughout July and into this week; none of the Pseudo-nitzschia numbers were high, however.

Some detailed sampling – counting phytoplankton cells – is currently being done in Kasitsna Bay by NOAA personnel and was done earlier in the summer at the Fishing Hole. Very interesting findings have surfaced, and one of the Hollings scholars will be giving a brown bag presentation on the genetics of Alexandrium (the dinoflagellate that can sometimes cause PSP) here at Islands and Ocean next Thursday, August 9th at noon. We’re looking forward to seeing reports from those studies.

Here are a few images from samples analyzed this week:

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