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Education activities review: May 13-17

May 18, 2013

K-12 Education

Jess led Estuary Ecology Explorations in Beluga Slough this week for 44 second to fifth graders from Homer and Kachemak Selo.

Our 2012-13 school year EE programming for students wrapped up this week. This school year we taught 987 preschool through high school students. 77% of the total students were from Homer; 14% were from Seldovia, Nanwalek, and Port Graham; and 9% were from Kenai, Soldotna, Razdolna and Kachemak Selo. We provided 27 Discovery Lab programs, 12 in-classroom Salmon Ecology programs (for junior high and high school students), 11 Estuary Ecology Hikes, and 1 Careers in Marine Science program.

We have so appreciated having volunteer Carole Demers as part of our education team this school year for our EE programs!! Her great energy, attention to details, thirst for knowledge, and love for science and teaching kids added so much to the quality of our Discovery Lab programs this school year. Thank you, Carole!!

Here are some quotes from teacher evaluations provided to us as feedback this year:

My students will use what they learned in this program by…

  • “being active science citizens and sharing current research with parents and others.” – Shellie Worsfold, West Homer Elementary
  • “being better informed about the land and being stewards. It will also help in science.” – Dave Daniel, Mountain View Elementary in Kenai
  • “identifying the age of eagles and knowing how to care for sea life.” – Mr. Fraser & his students, Nanwalek School
  • “making their community important to them.” – Sonya Selanoff, Nanwalek School
  • “it reinforced earlier studies.” – Sue Brass, West Homer Elementary
  • “writing up a lab summary for science class. Some might also write a paper for English regarding this info.” – Chris Brown, Flex High School
  • “connecting changes to our local area.” – Robyn Walls, West Homer Elementary
  • “This was a great introduction to our outdoor education program that starts in March.” – Lyn Maslow, West Homer Elementary
  • “allowing the acquired knowledge build on and enrich their lives as citizens of Kachemak Bay.” – Krista Etzwiler, McNeil Canyon Elementary

The best station for my kids was, because…

  • “It’s great that it’s so hands-on.” – Karen Bornheimer, Susan B. English School in Seldovia
  • “Interacting with the researcher.” – high school teacher, Susan B. English School in Seldovia
  • “They enjoyed that it was interactive and hands on. They liked counting birds and touching ‘blubber.’” – Kara Scheur, Nanwalek School
  • “The presentations taught the students more about animals they see every day. This will hopefully foster a greater interest in nature.” – Jamie Hughes, Port Graham School
  • “Ummmm, maybe glaciers, or volcanoes…to be honest, they were all great…very informational.” – Chris Brown, Flex High School
  • “volcanoes. They are not too old (5th grade) for baking soda & vinegar and the info tied together Ring of Fire and local volcanoes.” – Bill Noomah, McNeil Canyon Elementary
  • “eagles/birds. Most hands on. Delivered to level of kids. New vocabulary explained most clearly.” – Krista Etzwiler, McNeil Canyon Elementary
  • “each offered hands-on learning and were all good!” – Shellie Worsfold, West Homer Elementary

Comments and suggestions:

  • “Fun, enjoyable, interesting! Please come again and more often.” – Mr. Fraser & his students, Nanwalek School
  • “This was a great learning experience for the students and myself and the examples and specimens brought the lessons to life in a vivid way! Great!” – Jamie Hughes, Port Graham School
  • “Thanks for having us. I will recommend this resource to colleagues!” – Chris Brown, Flex High School
  • “Pacing of program was excellent.” – Bill Noomah, McNeil Canyon Elementary
  • “Clone Carmen.” – Dave Daniel, Mountainview Elementary in Kenai
  • “Thank you for your hard work!” – Robyn Walls, West Homer Elementary
  • “Attention for 3 stations can be tricky, but you guys have made it work with an action pace.” – Kim Fine & Deb Schmidt, Fireweed Academy K-2
  • “I like how the research at the reserve was slipped into each station – I was pleased to see the students talk about that research when we debriefed.” – Lyn Maslow, West Homer Elementary
  • smooth and allowed proper closure.” – Shellie Worsfold, West Homer Elementary
  • “The material presented was informative and fun. All the presenters were good!” – Julie Shaw, Homer Head Start

Community monitoring

This week Catie completed illustrating the cover for KBRR’s new Marine Phytoplankton of Kachemak Bay guide. This wonderful new resource, created by Catie and volunteer Jane Middleton, was designed for use with our Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) monitoring program to assist volunteer monitors in their identification. It will also be well-used around the Kenai Peninsula and further afield, as phytoplankton guides are hard to come by for local waters. This guide will soon be available on the web for anyone to download for free.


Public events

Last weekend’s Shorebird Festival events were very well-attended…Saturday’s Junior Birder Lab drew 143 young birders (with their parents) working toward earning a Jr. Birder Badge and prizes. Families from Homer, Anchorage, Girdwood, Sterling, Kenai, and Soldotna joined us for this popular event and there were 5 cohorts (between 1st-year and 6th-year) of Jr. Birders receiving awards on Sunday. Sunday morning’s Birder’s Coffee event – featuring talks, raffle drawings, festival species tally, live birds from Bird TLC in Anchorage (based in our lab classroom for the morning), Jr. Birder awards and more – drew over 700 people.

The 4th annual Mud Games at The Wallow in the Cottonwood Horse Park scheduled for tomorrow has been postponed to Sunday, June 30th from 1-3pm. We hope you can join us next month for this fun, muddy event to celebrate International Mud Day!

Our summer education programming will begin June 18th with Estuary Hikes every Tuesday and Thursday mornings (11am-12pm) through August 8th. Beach Walks will happen every Friday beginning June 21st (11am-12pm) and run through August 9th. And our summer Discovery Lab series begins on Wednesday, July 3rd, with labs every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday (1-3pm) through August 10th. If you would like to volunteer to help at any of these summer labs, please contact Jess at 226-4657 or

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