Education Month in Review: June 2023

By Cristina Reo

June brought forth the first glimpse of summer weather in Cordova and wildflowers were blossoming throughout town. Because of this, we wanted to celebrate wildflowers all month long. We hosted a nature journaling session at the Ski Hill focusing on “buds and blooms.” Participants were prompted to draw two flowers and compare them to each other. Additionally, we hosted Discover Cordova – Speak for the Trees at Nirvana Park. Children were encouraged to explore their surroundings through a series of games, activities, and crafts.

June 8 was World Ocean Day. Our education staff put together a coastline cleanup to celebrate. We also hosted an event where kids could learn about ocean pollution, how harmful it is, and how to prevent it.

The Prince William Sound Science Center had many visitors throughout the month of June. Some visitors were here on vacation while others came to learn. Cordova saw two visiting Hurtigruten cruise ships in June. We took a select group of passengers from each cruise to hike Haystack Trail. Along the way, we discussed the landscape, plants and animals, the Copper River Delta, native history of the area, the work that PWSSC conducts, and more. We also met with a visiting Teaching Through Technologies (T3) group. The group was composed of high school students from various parts of Alaska, all with the interest in learning more about mariculture – specifically kelp farming. In the morning, they met with the Native Village of Eyak and performed an experiment where they made plastic out of dried seaweed. In the afternoon, they explore Fleming Spit at low tide in search of seaweed. Later that day they did a spore release with Dr. Alysha Cypher. They capped off the day by looking deeper into the three types of seaweed and discussing the ecosystem benefits of seaweed.

The Community Coastal Experience (CCE) is a brand new, 5-week immersive experience funded by the CORaL Network. Participants are adults of all ages from the oil-spill affected region of Alaska. Participants are currently traveling between Kachemak Bay, Seward, Cordova, and Kodiak. The overarching goal of the program is to promote equity and co-production of knowledge in STEAM fields throughout our region. The Community Coastal Experience recently spent a week in Cordova. They went on the R/V New Wave for a research cruise where Dr. Rob Campbell performed a plankton tow, then brought them back to the Science Center for identification. They also met with many of our partners to gain valuable knowledge and skills including Chugach Regional Resources Commission, US Forest Service, Copper River Watershed Program, and Alaska Department of Fish & Game. Some of the skills developed include various survey skills, wildlife management knowledge, and more.

On top of all the hustle and bustle that comes with summer in Cordova, our educational camp programs began as soon as Cordova kids were out of school. We have hosted two different summer camps, with many more to come! Our first of three Headwaters to Ocean (H2O) camps took place the first week of June. You may have seen our campers out and about as they were tidepooling, hiking to Sheridan Glacier, and wading through Alaganik Slough while learning about the ecosystem. Nature Art camp was a fun time for kids to show their more creative side. Campers made clay impressions, land art, shell art, and fish printed backpacks, all while exploring the surrounding environment. You may continue to see our campers around town throughout the summer. We are hosting many more fun and exciting camps this summer.

The education staff is looking forward to seeing you this summer for more events. Check our calendar here.

Photo above: CCE participants checking minnow traps upstream the 18 mile culvert with Copper River Watershed Project staff.