Featured Projects

Headwaters to Ocean Education Program

Educating school-age children about spill response and the marine environment

Students watch oil mixing with water before testing oil’s effects on fur and feathers.
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Students watch oil mixing with water before testing oil’s effects on fur and feathers.
NOSB teams work together to design and build ROVs that can complete the tasks of the pool challenge.
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NOSB teams work together to design and build ROVs that can complete the tasks of the pool challenge.
Akutan students work on cleaning up a mock oil spill.
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Akutan students work on cleaning up a mock oil spill.
Students used a plankton net to collect samples each month. During our last day the samples were identified at PWSSC’s lab.
Caption:
Students used a plankton net to collect samples each month. During our last day the samples were identified at PWSSC’s lab.
Fifth graders dissect Pacific herring with education staff.

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Fifth graders dissect Pacific herring with education staff.

Background

Involvement of school-aged children in educational activities associated with oil spill recovery and basic marine environmental education is one method of developing an informed public. A K- 12 education program has been run by PWSSC since 2001 under the names of Science of the Sound, Forest to the Sea, and Headwaters to Ocean.

Methods

The primary educational activities center on fourth to sixth grade students in Cordova, Alaska and engaging with them with hands-on activities on a monthly basis. The program has an outreach component, in which an abbreviated program is taken to communities around the state. Other activities have included summer camp activities, working with the high school National Oceanographic Science Bowl program, and development of remotely operated vehicles for use by students. All of the efforts are designed to provide the skills needed to understand and make choices about the interconnected natural systems through hands on experiences for children.

Results

Understanding of spill response and the environment are promoted by the education programs. Each year approximately seventy five students are involved in the program in Cordova. Another hundred students are involved in outreach activities in other communities. Hands-on activities provide lasting memories, that carry with the students as they progress through school.