Alaska Sea Grant in the News

High school teams to make annual pilgrimage to Alaska Region National Ocean Sciences Bowl

Date: 2/11/2004
Contact: Phyllis Shoemaker, Alaska Coordinator, National Ocean Sciences Bowl, University of Alaska Fairbanks, School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, 907-224-4312.
NR: SG-2004/NR211

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2004 Alaska Region National Ocean Sciences Bowl

Paul T. Albert Memorial School, Tununak, Alaska

Photos from 2003 competition are available by contacting Doug Schneider.

SEWARD, Alaska—High school students across the state are busy cramming last-minute facts about Alaska's oceans into their brains and polishing their public speaking skills as they ready themselves for the Seventh Annual Alaska Region National Ocean Sciences Bowl that begins February 20.

At the Paul T. Albert Memorial School in Tununak, a remote village next to the Bering Sea in Southwest Alaska, team coach Mike Keefe says his five students have lately been practicing for the oral presentation of their research project.

"This is the first year for Tununak at the Ocean Sciences Bowl," said Keefe, a two-year veteran of teaching in rural Alaska. Keefe came to Alaska from Chicago, but grew up in Minnesota. "My students haven't had a lot of opportunities to speak in public, but they are going to give their presentation to the school board. They're a little bit nervous but they are looking forward to this."

The 2004 Alaska Region National Ocean Sciences Bowl takes place in Seward, February 20–22, at several venues including Seward High School, the Alaska SeaLife Center and the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences K.M. Rae Building.

Fourteen teams from 12 Alaska high schools are registered to compete. Students from big and small schools, urban centers and remote villages alike will match wits during the three-day event that includes a jeopardy-style ocean knowledge quiz, presentations of research projects and a marine-theme art show.

In all, teams from Anchorage, Bethel, Cordova, Homer, Juneau-Douglas, Mat-Su, Ninilchik, Selawik, Seward, Soldotna and Tununak will square off.

The knowledge quiz is a round-robin/double-elimination match. In each match, two teams compete against each other and the clock to answer questions. Contestants also must answer complex questions that require critical analysis. Up to 50 percent of the event's points are awarded during the knowledge quiz.

The other 50 percent of the points are earned during the research project phase of the event. Months prior to the competition, teams selected a research topic centered on the question of how contaminants may be affecting Alaska's marine ecosystems. At the Ocean Sciences Bowl, each team will be judged on the completeness of their reports and oral presentations of their findings.

Numerous prizes will be awarded in the competition. Each member of the team placing first overall will receive a one-year tuition waiver from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Each member of the winning team also will get a $1,000 scholarship to the Coastal Studies Semester at Hood College in Maryland. Additionally, the overall winning team receives a trip to Charleston, South Carolina, to compete in the national finals against other regional winners from across the country.

Students also are invited to participate in a juried art show during the Ocean Sciences Bowl. Paintings, drawings, photography, three-dimensional pieces, sculptures, pottery, jewelry, mixed media, fiber and collage works will be judged. The art show is held in conjunction with the other events but is not part of the Ocean Sciences Bowl. Awards will be given for Best of Show, as well as first, second, third and honorable mention in each category.

Of course, not every team can win the competition. That's okay with Tununak coach Mike Keefe.

"I think we have a very good chance of winning, but my hope also is that they gain an understanding of how the ocean affects their lives every day, and how their actions affect the ocean," Keefe said.

The Alaska Region National Ocean Sciences Bowl is sponsored by the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education (CORE), University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, the Alaska Sea Grant College Program, and the Alaska Student Ocean Conference. The National Ocean Sciences Bowl is sponsored by CORE in partnership with the National Marine Educators Association (NMEA).

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