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Education activities review: May 6-10

May 11, 2013

K-12 Education

ADF&G’s annual Salmon Celebration took place this week up at Johnson Lake, an hour north of Homer. Some 770 fifth grade students from across the Kenai Peninsula, along with their teachers and parents, helped release about 1,000 rainbow trout and learned all about salmon and other wildlife species. The event, organized by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Soldotna, featured a variety of education-based stations, such as salmon species ID and how to have a safe moose encounter. KBRR Educator Jess Ryan was there with a captivating assortment of live animals—sea urchins, a leather sea star, a decorator crab, and a trio of active hermit crabs—to teach tidepooling etiquette. With the largely frozen Johnson Lake in the background, the kids skipped from station to station along the lakeside trail, enjoying the sunshine and a day away from the classroom. Here are a couple photos from Tuesday’s event:

Students investigating marine invertebrates at Jess’s Salmon Celebration station.

Students investigating marine invertebrates at Jess’s Salmon Celebration station.

Jess sharing marine invertebrates and tidepool etiquette with students at her Salmon Celebration station.

Jess sharing marine invertebrates and tidepool etiquette with students at her Salmon Celebration station.

Carmen led an Estuary Ecology Exploration in Beluga Slough this week for 17 second graders from Kenai and Soldotna. The kids learned how ancient glaciers shaped our landscape and were especially enamored with the drake Northern Pintail observed through a spotting scope and the oozing detritus (mud) that they wound up wearing home on their boots.

Community monitoring

Catie has taken advantage of this week’s low tides, training 3 new sets of Community Monitoring volunteers. The Garity family will take over trapping on Pier 1 beach from the school groups for the summer months; Autumn Baker, a home school student, will trap in Bear Cove at her family’s cabin; and Diana Conway will be trapping in Halibut Cove.

West Homer’s 4th graders and their teacher, Lyn Maslow, had a beautiful day to check green crab traps for invasives this week. Marine invertebrates were sparse on the beach–possibly due to the late spring, with only 8 native crabs caught and no invasive European Green Crab. What peaked the students’ after the traps were checked were the three separate sea otter skeletons (or the remains of such) that were found on the beach. This provided a good opportunity for Catie to teach the kids about the otter population increase that we have seen and the rules and regulations surrounding marine mammals.

Jess sharing marine invertebrates and tidepool etiquette with students at her Salmon Celebration station.

Catie showing a sea otter spine to Lyn Maslow’s students after green crab trapping efforts.

Catie and Ori took the boat out this week to exchange temperature tidbits, small instruments that measure the temperature of the water every 15 minutes throughout the year. KBRR monitors the temperatures in these bays: Bear Cove, Halibut Cove, Peterson Bay, and Jakolof Bay. It is interesting to see the temperature differences in these bays. Some oyster farmers use this information as part of their reports required by DEC.

Catie and Stacey are in Kenai today leading an Invasive Species Training for folks on the upper Kenai Peninsula. This is a repeat of last month’s training held here at Islands & Ocean.

Public events

We hosted a brown bag presentation—Kenai Peninsula’s Changing Glaciers—by glaciologist Chuck Lindsay this week. 39 people attended this fascinating overview of how the Harding Ice Field and its associated glaciers behave and change over time.

KBRR staff are busy this week and weekend with various Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival events. We helped host the annual Jr. Birder Labs in our lab classroom – the first was held on Wednesday afternoon and the 2nd will be midday tomorrow. Wednesday’s event drew 57 people, most of them under the age of 10 and who will be earning their Jr. Birder badge over the course of the weekend by attending events and meeting certain requirements. Our staff will also be at a Research Reserve booth at tomorrow’s festival Arts & Education Fair in the Homer High School commons and helping with the Birder’s Coffee event here at Islands & Ocean on Sunday morning.

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