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Education activities review: September 17-21

September 22, 2012

KBRR monitoring programs

This week Catie led a crab trapping event on the Homer Spit with 20 fourth grade students and 6 adult chaperones from West Homer Elementary in Lyn Maslow’s class. They lucked out on weather, with a chilly but sunny morning right after one of the recent storms. Catie was worried about the pots being tumbled or lost in the storm. But all were snugly in place, reassuring her that the staking system for securing pots is the way to go. Three native helmet crabs were captured and released. The specific characteristics to look for in order to identify an invasive European green crab were reinforced—5 points on each side of the carapace before the eye (see illustration below). Goofing around, the kids had fun yelling out, “I found a Green crab!!” when any crab was encountered. After such announcements, Catie asked these students to count the carapace points in front of everyone. Interestingly, there were 4 different species of fish caught in the traps: snailfish, juvenile Pacific cod, Pacific staghorn sculpin, and greenling. This was unusual for that site, as student monitors typically find just Pacific staghorn sculpin there.

Catie with Pacific staghorn sculpin

European green crab

KBRR research & education partnerships

Education staff participated in both the Science Collaborative project’s Core Intended User (CIU) Quarterly Meeting and the quarterly Community Council Meeting. Jeff Freymueller’s presentation on the Peterson Bay GPS site (acting as an accidental tide gauge), subsidence on the Homer Spit, and uplift in our region due to ice loss, effects of the 1964 earthquake and “after-slip” (where deeper parts of a fault slip slowly over time) was of particular interest during the CIU meeting. During both these meetings, staff shared several new graphics created primarily by Steve Baird – a Kachemak Bay/Anchor River watershed map (see below; click to see full size version) and salt marsh maps highlighting fish data collected as part of our Science Collaborative project.

Major Watersheds of Kachemak Bay and Anchor River

KBRR exhibits

Education staff worked a bit in KBRR’s exhibit hall this week. They documented exhibit repair needs and installed a bull kelp piece on the octopus den, where it now ‘flows’ along the wall next to the ribbon kelp. Both the ribbon and bull kelp pieces were constructed by former Homer artist and Islands & Ocean maintenance man extraordinaire Dan Thorington. We invite you to stop by to see this latest addition to our exhibits.

KBRR science news

We thought we’d share a couple graphics (created by KBRR researcher Ori Badajos) for 2011 and 2012 precipitation* here at the AK Islands & Ocean Visitor Center. Ori monitors our rain gauge and has compiled data for monthly and running** precipitation totals. Remember—September is not over yet, so it’s likely under represented.
Total precipitation for year 2011: 24.8 inches
Total precipitation so far for 2012 (through mid-Sep): 15.8 inches

*In the winter, the amount of precipitation in snow is included in these data. Ori melts the snow that lands in the bucket and measures the water content.
** For the running total, each month is added to the first month’s amount of precipitation.


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