By Lauren Bien March 16, 2020
Cordova’s team, The Backstreet Buoys, made another impressive appearance at the 2020 Tsunami Bowl. The Tsunami Bowl, Alaska’s regional competition of the Nation Ocean Sciences Bowl, is held in Seward every February and hosts teams from all around the state competing in all-things-ocean-sciences via a research project and a buzzer-style competition. The Backstreet Buoys: Faith Collins, Leo Craig, MiKita DeCook, Maya Russin, and Mia Siebenmorgen-Cresswell, represented Cordova this year.
The Tsunami Bowl, unlike every other regional bowl, additionally requires teams to complete a research project on a predetermined topic comprised of a 15-page paper and 15-minute oral presentation. The team worked on their paper for months, reading scientific literature, writing drafts, and spending late nights making edits. The paper was submitted to be scored by a judging team of UAF researchers in early December. The team then immediately got to work on their oral presentation which they presented on the first day of competition to a panel of judges and their peers.
This year’s assigned topic: understanding human, economic, and environmental resilience of Alaska’s oceans, led the team to focus on the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill and the effects it had, and still has, on Prince William Sound ecology and communities. The team immersed themselves in scientific literature, poured over first-hand accounts, and spent time interviewing community members about the tragic event that rocked our community and is still a factor in the ecology of Prince William Sound. Their project, Impacts of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill on Prince William Sound: Economic and Ecological Resilience, was applauded for focusing not just on the ecological impacts but also diving into the social and emotional effects felt by community members. Their oral presentation was awarded third in the state and the Backstreet Buoys finished ninth in the state in the buzzer rounds! Senior Captain, MiKita DeCook, was awarded Most Valuable Player by her team and she was recognized by the Tsunami Bowl competition.
The entire team is a determined and dedicated bunch of young students, and their commitment to this competition is incredible; they have so much to celebrate and Cordova has a group of students of which to be very proud. Way to go, Backstreet Buoys!