2011 Update

People, Oceans and Climate Change is what COSEE Alaska is all about! We weave traditional and local knowledge with cutting-edge scientific research and effective practices in education to create culturally relevant community engagement and education. Scientists engaged with COSEE Alaska share research and gain effective communication skills to convey complex scientific information. Educators and community members gain access to current, vital scientific information needed to sustain the ocean that sustains us.

Throughout 2011 COSEE Alaska has been building on core programs that reflect our unique relationships to the seas that surround Alaska while documenting what we are doing to share with other Alaskan scientists, educators and community members and with the COSEE Network. The following is a sampling of what we are doing in 2011. For more details, contact COSEE Alaska Executive Director Robin Dublin.

COSEE Alaska partners include:

NMEA 2012 Conference

The National Marine Education Association 2012 Conference will be co-hosted by COSEE Alaska and the Northwest Aquatic and Marine Education Association (NAME). Mark your calendar for June 24-28, 2012 and start planning your travels to Alaska!

The theme of this year’s national conference is North to Alaska’s Seas: A Confluence of Science and Culture. The conference will be held in Anchorage from June 24-28, 2012 with exciting field trips, speakers, presentations and poster sessions. Proposal submissions will be accepted from December 1, 2011-February 17, 2012. Advanced registration will take place January 17-April 14, 2012 and regular registration starts on April 15, 2012.


Ecosystem Workshops: EARTH Workshop: the Gulf of Alaska

Formal and informal educators from around the country met in Anchorage and traveled to NOAA’s remote Kasitsna Bay Lab to participate in Alaska’s first EARTH Workshop. The workshop was co-sponsored by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB), COSEE Alaska, and the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS).

The EARTH program emphasis on the use of near-real-time data in the classroom was complemented by COSEE Alaska’s focus on engaging scientists in K-12 education and collaborative work on teaching activities. Among the presenters were Dr. Jeremy Mathis, head of University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Ocean Acidification Research Center and the Alaska expert on ocean acidification, and his graduate student Raphael Descoteaux, who was conducting experimental work on the effects of ocean acidification on crabs at the Lab. Russ Hopcroft, also of UAF, presented on biological oceanography and spring algal blooms. View the presentations by Jeremy, Russ, and others. AOOS tested out its real-time data portal with educators and received an enthusiastic response. The educators found the portal easy to use and immediately began incorporating AOOS resources into their lesson plans. New curriculum from the workshop is posted on MBARI’s site.

Ecosystem Workshops: The Arctic Ocean

Planning is well underway for COSEE Alaska’s third ecosystem workshop, to be held in May 2012 in Barrow, Alaska in partnership with Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS), the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS), the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) and the North Slope Borough School District. The workshop will bring teachers and Arctic researchers together to collaborate on the development of educational resources related to current marine and climate change research. Participants in this five-day workshop will include five researchers, up to six teachers who have been involved in Arctic Ocean research (through PolarTREC, NOAA Teacher-at-Sea, or ARMADA), and six to eight teachers from the North Slope Borough School District. At least five additional researchers will participate via distance delivery technology.

Ecosystem Workshops: Evaluation and Dissemination

Upon the completion of the Arctic Ocean workshop, COSEE Alaska will disseminate a report highlighting lessons learned through the delivery and evaluation of the Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska and Arctic Ocean workshops. The report will be sent to the COSEE Network for use by other Centers interested in offering ecosystem-themed workshops that bring scientists and educators together.

Ocean Alaska Science Learning Center (OASLC) Fall Teacher Workshop: Water, From Ice to Ocean

The OASLC is a partnership between the National Park Service and the Alaska Sea Life Center, which is a key partner in COSEE Alaska. The Fall 2011 workshop, held in Seward, Alaska at the Alaska Sea Life Center, brought scientists, teachers and members of the Alutiiq community together to learn about the ocean from perspectives of both western science and Alutiiq traditional knowledge.

Salmon in the Classroom Workshop

COSEE Alaska partnered with Alaska Sea Grant, the UAF Cooperative Extension, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies to bring scientists together with 20 teachers from rural Alaskan communities. The workshop provided a field trip tour of the isotope lab on the UAF campus, plus plans to follow-up with teachers and students to obtain samples of the salmon that they rear in classrooms. These samples will be added to a baseline database in order to “fingerprint” adults with strontium isotope profiles according to the water and location where they were reared. A project proposal for this research that received a letter of support from COSEE Alaska is in the final stage of approval by Alaska Sea Grant’s research grant program. In addition, scientists presented information about methods for tracking salmon in various life stages and demonstrated these technologies.

Alaska Marine Science Symposium: Communicating Ocean Science Workshop Planning

Mark your calendars and register for the 2012 Alaska Marine Science Symposium (AMSS) in Anchorage, Alaska from January 16-20, 2012. For AMSS information, visit here. On Monday, January 16, 2012, COSEE and the Northern Pacific Research Board (NPRB) will again host a Communicating Ocean Science Workshop with a focus on communication tools that are readily available to scientists seeking to communicate with a wide array of audiences. In addition, COSEE Alaska is again offering a Communicating Ocean Science graduate course this spring through the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.


Ocean Science Fair Winners to Attend and Present at AMSS 2012!

COSEE Alaska will host four winners from two communities at the 2012 AMSS. These students participated in the 2011 state science fair and won on merits including both western science and local and/or traditional ecological knowledge. This integration of traditional ecological knowledge and cutting-edge science are a cornerstone of COSEE Alaska. These high school students will present at the poster session alongside undergraduate, graduate and PhD presenters.

2012 Ocean Science Fair Planning

COSEE Alaska is currently planning a workshop for science educators and scientists working throughout the Yup’ik region of western Alaska in preparation for the 2012 Ocean Science Fair season. These science fair entries must include and will be judged by scientists and community experts on the quality and depth of their scientific and cultural/local integrity.

Evaluation of the Ocean Science Fairs this year will include information and a report that will address lessons learned, with suggestions for how to best integrate cultural knowledge with ocean science to best meet the needs of coastal communities. COSEE Alaska, through its ongoing partnerships, has gained key insights into reaching Alaska’s underserved rural and Alaska Native communities. Access to current scientific data and the researchers who study the oceans is vital to coastal subsistence communities, and there is need for more Alaska Natives in the fields of fisheries and ocean sciences. Culturally relevant and respectful ocean science fairs are an excellent tool.

Other exciting news!

PI Mike Castellini became the Dean of the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences in May 2011.

PI Ray Barnhardt was awarded the 2012 Governor’s Award for the Arts and Humanities for his career-long effort to develop and expand the Alaska Native Knowledge Network and UAF’s Center for Cross Cultural Studies. He also received the 2011 Emma Walton Distinguished Service Award from the Alaska Science Teachers Association.

PI Molly McCammon was selected by the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council to coordinate the Outreach and Community involvement component of a five-year Long Term Monitoring Program in the Gulf of Alaska region that experienced impacts from the 1989 oil spill. COSEE Alaska will be a member of the Outreach Coordinating Committee. The Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS) board approved moving forward with a 10-year build-out plan for ocean observing in Alaska developed by PI McCammon, which includes a major outreach component that includes COSEE Alaska.

PI Paula Cullenberg, as Sea Grant’s Marine Advisory Program Leader (MAP) and Coastal Community Development Specialist, convened the 2011 Wakefield Symposium in September 2011. Proceedings will be posted here.

PI Laurie Morrow is the new PI for the Alaska Sea Life Center and has launched into COSEE Alaska projects headfirst. Please join us in welcoming her to COSEE Alaska!

COSEE Alaska Executive Director Robin Dublin began work full-time with COSEE Alaska mid-summer, taking the reins from Nora Deans of NPRB. Nora continues to partner with COSEE Alaska on several projects and COSEE Alaska is benefiting from a full-time director. Robin can be reached here.

COSEE Alaska Program Manager Marilyn Sigman made presentations at the American Fisheries Society meeting in Seattle about COSEE Alaska strategies for increasing the number of Alaskans in fisheries and marine science careers, and at the Alaska Science and Math Teachers conference in Fairbanks about ecosystem workshops. She will join the committee of a graduate student who will work on developing a curriculum based on the results of the ecosystem workshops.

Looking Toward the Future!

COSEE Alaska is working with a multitude of partners on potential education and engagement activities in support of the R/V Sikuliaq, a global-class ice-capable research vessel currently under construction. The R/V Sikuliaq will launch this summer.

Sikuliaq, pronounced [see-KOO-lee-auk], is an Inupiaq name meaning "young sea ice" or "young sea ice that is safe to walk on".

"The name ‘Sikuliaq’ reflects both our Alaska heritage as well as our focus on arctic research," said UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers. “As Alaska's first university in a relatively young and growing state, we are proud of our role in bringing to fruition this vital addition to the American research fleet." To learn more, visit here.

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