In September 2017 Unalaska high school students enjoyed working with “charismatic megafauna” after being invited by Alaska Sea Grant to help necropsy a dead northern fur seal.
The students, who are members of the 2018 Unalaska National Ocean Sciences Bowl team, assisted Melissa Good as she trimmed tissue from the seal carcass for a national marine mammal stranding data bank.
“Involving students in these strandings gives them a sense of place and belonging to the ecosystem and their community, and fosters stewardship for conserving the natural environment,” said Good, Marine Advisory agent.
The student team will spend the next five months studying marine science to prepare for the Alaska competition in February, when they will participate in a quiz bowl and present a research project. As team coach, Good plans to do a lot of hands-on outdoor projects with the students this year.
Good coached the team “Lucky Pollucky” last year, which placed 9th out of 18 teams. Marine Advisory agent Sunny Rice coached the “Higher Porpoise” team in Petersburg, who came in 8th, and Julie Matweyou assisted with many training activities for Kodiak’s “Team Squidoodly.”
NOSB encourages students to lean toward the sciences and gives them opportunities to experience hands-on science in the field, labs and classrooms. Each team will have different experiences prior to coming together, but they are all wholly engaged in ocean sciences by the start of the competition, said Good.