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JUNEAU - Auk'w Noow Marine Science Camp, a Juneau School District high school program funded by a U.S. Department of Education's Alaska Native Education Program Grant was held this summer, June 12-22, at Aldersheim Lodge in Juneau.
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The camp is designed to foster a deeper understanding of the marine environment through rigorous, hands-on involvement in research, exploration and cultural activities. Participating students also earned a half-credit toward high school graduation requirements.
Topics include: Biological diversity, tides and distribution of intertidal organisms, climate change and effects on marine life and their habitats, ecological "niche" of local key species, productivity of species important to commercial fisheries, eelgrass beds to deep-sea mudflats - unique habitat features near Juneau, food webs and the trophic linkage from shore to deep-sea, bivalve fauna and paralytic shellfish poisoning phenomena, and effects of pollution on marine productivity and diversity.
In the course of pursuing these topics, youth participants honed their own powers of observation and record keeping, use the scientific method for basic research, learning how to operate and use a remote opperated vessel (ROV) for deep-sea exploration, develop their ability to write about the marine environment, gain some expertise in identifying species using dichotomous keys, engage in dialogue about their observations and unanswered questions with other team members and elders.
Attendance for the 2007 camp was 98.5 percent. Students created presentations of their research, learned to use GPS systems, operated the underwater robotic camera and ROV.
"They love being on the water," said Alberta Jones, a Juneau School District grant staff member. "After our fall reunion to watch the DVD documentary that KTOO will air, every student present said they would love to work at the upcoming marine science camp as an intern!"
Another marine science camp, likely to be under a new name, will take place June 2-13, 2008, geared for incoming freshman and current high school students. The camp is open to all students but shows priority to Alaska Native students.
For more information, contact Juneau School District Transitions Grant staff member Wendy Rabung, at 523-1734, or Alberta Jones, at 523-1733, or visit www.jsd.k12.ak.us/newdistrict/programs/TR/.