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Busy Outreach Season at Auke Bay Labs

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Apr-May-June 2012
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Auke Bay Laboratories completed several major outreach efforts during the spring. 

Science Fair Winners Advance:  Winners of the Southeast Alaska Regional Science Fair (SARSF) advanced to several national and international competitions with the aid of ABL scientists. Dr. Lawrence Schaufler (ABL), the SARSF fair director, was selected to be a judge at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 13-18 May and chaperoned four students. Another pair of students mentored by NOAA scientists in ABL’s Nutritional Ecology Lab attended the International Sustainable World Energy Engineering Environment Project Olympiad (I-SWEEP) Science Fair in Houston, Texas, 2-7 May and won a third place prize. In June, ABL outreach coordinator Bonita Nelson accompanied a student she mentored to the national competition for the Stockholm Water Prize in Boston, Massachusetts.

Sea Week:  In May, ABL hosted Sea Week, started at ABL 33 years ago, which has evolved now into the state's Alaska Rivers and Seas Curriculum.  More than 1,000 kindergarteners, sixth-graders, and their adult chaperones toured ABL. Thirty percent of ABL scientists volunteered to introduce the visitors to local intertidal ecology, fish biology, and the research programs conducted at ABL.  The biggest hit each year is holding the creatures in the touch tanks. 

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STAR interns Brielle Kemis and Dustin Taylor.  

STAR Interns:  Science Teacher and Researcher (STAR) interns arrived in June to begin their 8-week program. The STAR program is conducted in conjunction with California Polytechnical State University and is a new partner for NOAA. The teachers are engaged in research projects and, with the help of NOAA mentors, are learning how to translate “doing science” into “teaching science.” Their teaching mentor, Kathleen Galau, is one of two NOAA" teachers-in-the-lab." During their residence the students interns will conduct fish feeding studies and develop energy budgets for rhinoceros aukelet seabirds. Both of these studies will contribute data to the NPRB-funded Gulf  Project and will produce curriculum as part of their projects.
National Marine and Aquatic Educators Association: Also in June, Bonita Nelson, Kathleen Galau, and the STAR interns attended the National Marine and Aquatic Educators Association (NMAEA) meeting in Anchorage. Nelson was on the steering committee and gave two presentations. The first was on the value of science fairs. The second was on how ABL is getting at-risk students involved in science, technology, engineering, and math through a program developed in conjunction with our  second NOAA teacher in-the-lab, Laura Dzinich.  Galau used her experiences at ABL to discuss the value of science teachers collaborating with scientists.

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  Campers Jenae Kesey, Sabrina Jones, Cale Jenkins, and Arlo Handley test for paralytic shellfish poisoning as part of the Sun to Sea Marine Science Camp activities.

Sun to Sea Marine Science Camp:   ABL scientists Nelson and Tom Rutecki  teamed up with NOAA Weather Service and the Juneau Economic Development Council to sponsor the annual Sun to Sea Marine Science Camp targeted for middle school students. For the week of 4-9 June, 13 students participated in hands-on activities designed to introduce the principles of marine science and weather. A representative of the Weather Service described how climate influences ocean currents. Students subsequently helped map currents in Auke Bay. Dave Csepp and John Karinen accompanied students on chartered vessels to demonstrate  ROV (remotely operated vessels) technology. Cindy Tribuzio and Alex Andrews led campers in dogfish dissections. The camp explored sampling for invertebrates, fish, plankton, and algae, as well as ocean acidification, oil spills, acoustics, and art in science.

By Bonita Nelson

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