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2003 Alaska Ocean Sciences Bowl Draws 24 Teams
But how will they get there?
"We are extremely pleased to have so many teams on board so early in this competition," said Susan Sugai, acting director of the Alaska Sea Grant College Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. "We are especially encouraged by so many teams from rural Alaska that have expressed an interest in competing."
Now entering its sixth year, the Alaska Region National Ocean Sciences Bowl pits high school teams against one another in a test of knowledge of marine science terms, topics and issues in a fast-paced, tournament-style competition. Teams also present a research project during the three-day competition. This year's project asks students to develop a novel plan for addressing problems facing an Alaska coastal community and the ecosystem supporting that community. The winning team will compete in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl finals April 25-28 in La Jolla, California.
But getting to the Alaska competition may prove the most challenging task of the event. Of the 17 schools that have registered, about half are located along the state's road system. The rest must travel from places like Kotzebue, Thorne Bay, Kodiak, and even Unalaska, some 800 miles out the Aleutian Island chain. For these teams, the only way to Seward is by air. It's a an expensive prospect, worries Kelly Quinn, coach of the Unalaska City High School team.
"We're also fund-raising for other projects," said Quinn. "I'm
the assistant volleyball coach, and I'm trying to organize the prom. So
we have a lot of fund raising to do already. It's a problem."
"We have an all girl team," said Quinn. "I would think there'd be money out there to support a team of all girls."
Raising money to travel isn't new to Clay Good, coach of the 2001 winning
Alaska NOSB team from Juneau-Douglas High School.
Good's approach has been successful. Coeur Alaska, a regional mining company, provided about $3,500.00 to send Juneau teams to Seward for three of the four years Juneau competed. When the team won two years ago, the mining company also paid for a local newspaper ad that featured a team photo and a thank you to Coeur Alaska.
"I took the approach of getting a major sponsor," said Good, "because I didn't want students chasing money if it meant they wouldn't have time to prepare for the competition itself."
Far-flung Unalaska likely will tap their local fishing industry for help as well. Darrell Sanborn, superintendent of the Unalaska School District, says local businesses have always been supportive of the city's schools.
"Unalaska is a tight-knit community," said Sanborn. "Local businesses have a long history of supporting school activities. I have no doubt that they'll help us with this important educational opportunity."
Alaska Sea Grant has started a fundraising drive of its own to help schools get their students to the ocean sciences competition. Persons, companies and organizations wishing to help NOSB teams with travel expenses are asked to go to a web site where they can donate money and other assistance.
This year's Alaska Ocean Sciences Bowl kicks off February 21-23 at Seward High School in Seward, Alaska. The winning team will go on to represent Alaska at the national finals, to be held April 25-28 in La Jolla, California. That trip, however, is paid for.
For more information about the competition, contact Phyllis Shoemaker,
Alaska Coordinator, National Ocean Sciences Bowl
The National Ocean Sciences Bowl is sponsored by the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education (CORE) in partnership with the National Marine Educators Association (NMEA). The Alaska regional competition is sponsored by the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, with additional support from the Alaska Sea Grant College Program
SFOS > News > November 2002
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