We’ve enjoyed following Catherine Pham’s journeys as she studied seabirds out at-sea over the last year. This past week, Catherine flew all the way from Hawaii to Anchorage, Alaska… and then boarded another flight to St. Paul Island in time for Bering Sea Days.
Bering Sea Days is a weeklong program hosted by the Ecosystem Conservation Office, Aleut Community of St. Paul Island, and the Pribilof School District, and funded by the Central Bering Sea Fisherman’s Association. The whole school week is dedicated to learning about Bering Sea research.
Scientists spend the week in school, visiting classrooms and leading field-trips about a whole range of subjects including climate change, archeology, arctic adaptations, sea-ice formation, fish identification and dissection, re-articulating an orca skeleton, paper mache modeling, gardening, a bio-blitz, kelp forest ecology, fur-seals and prey quality… and seabirds. It’s a very full and fun week!
Catherine (together with Ann Harding and Pam Goddard) has created a game to teach students how prey and habitat preferences influence seabird distribution out at-sea, and why seabird distribution changes over time. The game involves learning about a seabird species, and then rolling a dice to “fly” to numbered ocean stations in the gym that differ in water temperature (cold versus warm), salinity (saline versus fresh), and prey (zooplankton versus fish). Points are gained if your chosen seabird species thrives in the conditions that where you land. Students loved running between stations and competing against each other, and we had good discussions afterwards about how changes in habitat can change how much food is available to seabirds, and how different species of seabirds may be affected differently.
Thanks for putting together such a fun game, Catherine.