Kodiak Ocean Science Discovery Program

April 28, 2014


This is Fish Radio. I’m Stephanie Mangini. Learning and loving ocean science. More after this…


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Working Scientists and Class room science comes together at the Ocean Science Discovery Laboratory on Kodiak. In the lab students are exposed to the wonderful teachings of Marine Biologist Switgard Duesterloh. Her program began in 2007 and has continued to connect children to the ocean ever since.


“The program has several parts to it. What you saw today is part of the core program.”


Funding from the Kodiak School district and Kodiak College, allow each grade to learn a different marine science .Depending on the grade, students either visit the lab or the lab is brought to the class room.


“So in third grade we do ocean food webs and they have all these different stations that they go through. In fourth grade we do an extension on that about keystone species, it’s all about the sea otters and how they influence the ecology but also how that fits into Kodiaks history.”


As the students advance they get to become the scientist.


“They walk through all the steps of doing a scientific experiment, including the data analysis. So here in the lab we do the experiment and then the week after I go into their class room and we make graphs and do the data analysis.”


Switgard’s love for ocean science goes far beyond the walls of her lab. This year she and her aides have taught the core program to almost every student in the Kodiak school district as well as the private school and villages on the island.


“The program also has these other tentacles of the octopus where we reach out to other parts of the community. We do general public and school outreach events as well.”


The goal of the program is to connect kids to science and create a bigger understanding of the ocean.


“There are basically two parts to the mission of this program. One is to give those kids that are interested in the science and that are collage bound some opportunities and to connect them with the local science community. The other is that, not everybody is going to become a scientist but I want the kids to learn about our local environment and the marine environment, because you can really only care about and love and protect what you know about.”


Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods. Ocean Beauty has contributed over 10 million meals to the U.S. Food Bank network, and is committed to ending hunger in America. www.oceanbeauty.com In Kodiak I’m Stephanie Mangini.