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10/31/2018
NOSB team traveling to Sitka

KETCHIKAN (KDN) — The Ketchikan High School National Ocean Sciences Bowl team of 10 students is heading to Sitka this on Thursday for Whalefest.

Whalefest is a three-day event that focuses on marine science, according to information at sitkawhalefest.org. The event includes features such as lectures, marine wildlife cruises in Sitka Sound, a marine-themed artisan market and an art show. This year’s theme is “Curious Creatures,” according to the event website.

Kayhi team head coach and Kayhi science teacher Julie Landwehr said there will be a scrimmage at the Whalefest, held for Southeast Alaska students to help prepare them for the statewide NOSB Tsunami Bowl competition planned for February in Seward.

To prepare for the events, the five team members chosen to compete at the state event are working on the competition’s assigned research question: “What type of ocean observing platform would you design to address an important marine issue that affects your community?”

They will write a paper, as a team, to present at the Tsunami Bowl. They also plan to present their research at a Friday Night Insight event at the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center on March 8, after they return from the Seward event.

Landwehr said the students are planning to design ways to measure various water issues in the Ketchikan area, including bacteria and waste water treatment.

At a team meeting Monday, Landwehr showed students illustrations of buoys that track weather and water data, including temperatures, wave activity and barometric pressure. She mentioned that they might look into renting space on a buoy on which sensors could be placed.

According to a Tsunami Bowl instruction sheet that Landwehr provided, students should research methods for gathering information, what times of year or day the data should be collected, how often data need to be collected, and what observation platforms already exist.

Landwehr said that at this weekend’s Whalefest, the students will attend talks and also meet with scientists to ask questions.

Assistant coaches Barbara Morgan and Wayne Kinunen also will help the team to prepare.

Another aspect of the Tsunami Bowl is an ocean-themed art competition. Students in Kayhi art teacher Louise Kern’s class send their entries with the NOSB team each year, Landwehr said.

Team members can earn one credit from the University of Alaska Southeast for writing a reflection paper about their Whalefest experience, Landwehr said. Students who compete at the Tsunami Bowl will receive a half credit from Kayhi for their participation.