High Schoolers Competing in 14th Annual Alaska Tsunami Ocean Sciences Bowl

Jerzy Shedlock, APRN – Anchorage

High school students from 14 Alaska Coastal communities will converge on the Seward Marine Science Center this weekend to showcase their knowledge of marine science in the 14th annual Alaska Tsunami Ocean Sciences Bowl.

This year, teams from Dillingham, Sitka, Kotlik and Scammon Bay will compete for the first time. Several schools are sending more than one team. A total of 20 teams will compete in the three-day event starting today.

Students receive a research topic in the fall and prepare a 20-page paper to be presented at the competition. The paper is then reviewed by scientists from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in December. The chosen teams present a 20 minute oral presentation as well as compete in a quiz competition, which will take place Saturday and Sunday.

Longtime Tsunami Bowl organizer Phyllis Shoemaker says the regional competition has grown every year since its inception in 1998.

The competition is funded by various grants with main support coming from the Consortium of Ocean leadership—a group of several agencies based in Washington D.C. Other sponsors include the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, and the Alaska Sea Grant College Program, and other sources.

Juneau Doulgas High School Teacher Ben Carney is coaching two teams for the bowl. He meets with the teams once a week to discuss various Oceanographic concepts and the paper portion of the competition. Carney is very confident of his students. His teams have won four years in a row.

The event is meant to encourage students to continue to study fisheries and marine science during their post secondary education. Shoemaker says marine-related knowledge is important to Alaskans as a whole.

The teams will be competing for prizes that include tuition at UAF, and the chance to represent Alaska at the National Ocean Sciences Bowl later this spring in Galveston, Texas.

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