Heidi Zemach for SCN –
Eighteen teams are competing today, Friday Feb 28th through the weekend at the 17th Annual Alaska Region National Ocean Sciences Bowl.
About 200 people are expected to attend, with another hundred volunteering to help out at the event in jobs such as timing, judging, scoring, cooking, creating art-work, and much more. It’ll be a quick economic shot in the arm for the Seward community during the off-season, but for the students involved it’s much more.
The original written research projects that each group produces provides students the opportunity to work closely with professionals in the marine sciences and fisheries at the University of Alaska and throughout the state. University of Alaska Southeast is offering tuition waivers to attend UAA to all members of the top two teams, and Icicle Seafood is sponsoring five $1,000 scholarships to participants who show promise.
“The competition and related activities encourage students to continue to study fisheries and marine science during their postsecondary education, and to consider a career in a marine-related occupation,” said Seward host Phyllis Shoemaker. The contacts that students make can be valuable to them as they consider college and their future career plans, she added.
There are several events open to the local public:
-Oral presentations at SHS 8:15 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
-Marine Art Show at K.M. Rae building opening reception 7:00-9:00 p.m.
-Oral project presentations 8:15 -11:30 a.m.
-Quiz bowl matches 1:00-5:30 p.m.
-final quiz bowl matches 8:15-11:15 a.m.
Seward’s young team this year, called “Fatheads” is made up of Roma Hamner, a freshman, and sophomores Allie Katsma, Alex Estes, and Joevahnta Weddington, the team captain. Their coach is Shoshannah Brasher, who teaches science and math at the high school.
Their research project, and oral presentation, at 10:00 a.m. Saturday morning, is on the potential to create alternative energy from the ocean tides in Alaska.
The future of our oceans is the theme of this year’s Tsunami Bowl event, and the students are expected to address topics such as marine debris, ocean acidification, the effects of climate change and rising water levels on coastal communities and cities and more.
The decline of wild Coho runs in the Seward/ Resurrection Bay region was the focus of last year’s Seward team focus. The students suggested ways to better preserve natural habitat and salmon species by preventing further industrial degradation and creating more fish-friendly culverts rather than the City and Seward Chamber of Commerce focusing so heavily on costly hatchery-stocked Silver salmon.
Teams also will build and race Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) around in the high school pool Friday afternoon.
The marine-art exhibit/contest, which usually is at the Alaska SeaLife Center, will be at at the K.M. Rae Building (UAF Marine Science Center) at 3rd Avenue and Railway this year. The opening reception is Friday night 7:00-9:00 p.m.