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Education activities review: March and early April

April 12, 2013

Community monitoring

Catie retrieved and redeployed tunicate plates from the Seldovia and Homer harbors last week. No invasive encrusting organisms were seen.
Thanks to Tania Spurkland and Tahdg Scholz for their help with tunicate plate work.

Catie has also been organizing the Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) monitor training that will be April 19th here at Islands and Ocean in the lab classroom. We should have a broad array of sampling this year, with monitors in 8 of the sub bays.

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K-12 Education

This week we taught Our Landscape Over Time Discovery Labs for 120 third and fifth grade students from the Homer area. Students learned about plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, glaciers, sea level rise, and the Reserve’s Science Collaborative project as they rotated through 3 engaging stations with Jess, Carmen, Carole, and Catie.

The spring season’s first Estuary Hike took place with 27 third graders from McNeil Canyon Elementary School on Wednesday. Students enthusiastically embraced the wind and minus temperatures to learn about detritus, salmon habitat, and more for an hour in Beluga Slough with Carmen. This was the first time Carmen had worn a winter parka while leading an estuary hike!

Teacher workshops

Last Thursday Carmen assisted Brenda Duty from ADF&G’s Wildlife Division in delivering an evening Growing Up Wild (GUW) workshop for individuals who provide care to 3 to 7-year-olds. Five ladies who provide guidance to young children in the Homer area participated in this 3-hour course, highlighting The Deep Blue Sea unit in the GUW curriculum (designed to help kids learn in and from nature). Workshop attendees tried out a number of fun activities to share with the youngsters in their care and created a beautiful ocean mural.

On Friday evening and all day Saturday, Carmen and Brenda taught a 1-credit Wild About Wetlands workshop for local K-12 teachers. Eleven classroom and informal educators participated in this 11-hour training, gaining many new tools for hands-on, inquiry-based wetland education using ADF&G’s Alaska Wildlife Curriculum (AWC), Project Wild Aquatic, and KBRR education modules (such as BioBlitz, plankton investigations, Marsh Safari, and Wetland What Is It Quiz). Carmen shared salmon ID and migration activities with the teachers, led a 2-hour outdoor wetland inquiry field trip and lab follow-up, and taught several of the AWC activities.

Public events

The 5th annual Winter Family Fun Day at the Wynn Nature Center on Sunday, March 3rd was a big success. Twenty people of all ages gathered to play in the snow at this KBEEA-sponsored event. Snow painting, playing in the HOWL igloo, digging caves, and sledding were followed by a lively s’more-making session.

Our March 6th What’s New in the Bay Discovery Lab, the third such lab we’ve offered in as many years was attended by 53 people. This year’s lab provided a spotlight on local climate change research. Table topics included KBRR’s Science Collaborative research on land rebound measurements due to receding glaciers, the City of Homer’s Climate Action Plan, Graduate Student Raphaelle Descoteaux’s research on ocean acidification and crab larvae, Seldovia Village Tribe’s stream temperature monitoring, KBRR’s new coastal erosion maps, and an overview of predicted local impacts from climate change. The lab was followed by an evening social event in the Islands and Ocean lobby meant to encourage further sharing of local research projects. Twenty-three people attended this social.

On March 5th, UAF School of Fisheries graduate student Raphaelle Descoteaux gave an engaging brown bag lecture on her research on the responses of three species of juvenile crab larvae to laboratory-controlled levels of ocean acidification.

Nature Rocks Homer co-sponsored the 3rd annual Family Farm Day at Mossy Kilcher’s Seaside Farm in late March. Eighty-five people, mostly kids under 8 yrs old, joined Carmen and Mossy for an afternoon of exploring the farm, feeding the animals, and learning about farm life.

Last week’s Our Landscape Over Time Discovery Lab was attended by 22 people, including staff from the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies, who used our lab as a training opportunity. Folks learned about the dynamic forces that have shaped or are shaping our local landscape – in particular plate tectonics/earthquakes, sea level changes, and glaciers. They also learned about our Science Collaborative project and what we’re learning about local land movement in relation to sea level rise.

Fishing news

Ice fishing loaner gear will be stored away in the next few weeks, as the ice on local lakes begins to melt. However, with temperatures remaining cold and ice still about 3 feet thick at Johnson Lake, ice fishing promises to be good for at least the next couple weeks.

We’ve just learned that Ulmers Hardware will carry ice fishing gear for the 1st time next winter. Staff at the store have asked Carmen to advise them next fall on what items to order for their shelves. Our efforts, and those of staff in the Homer ADF&G office, to promote ice fishing seem to have had an effect on local fishermen. Folks are asking for ice fishing gear and Ulmers is responding.

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