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WWF’s Alexis Will teaches Alaska’s kindergartners about seabirds—and conserving our oceans | Stories


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“Did you know that you and I have something in common?” I asked.

I generally get blank stares at this point. Seriously? Come on lady, you are old, and we were simply informed you’re a medical professional who studies seabirds.

“I grew up in Sitka just like you!”

This is among my preferred parts of a several-day series of lessons about seabirds I assisted establish over the previous couple of years as part of the Sitka Sound Science Center’s Scientists in the School program. For more than a years, the program has actually exposed trainees in every class at every grade level to a wide range of clinical disciplines, utilizing hands-on, interesting class and field experiences. Led by expert researchers and Science Center teachers, SIS systems motivate and empower youth to see themselves as researchers, believe seriously, and build much deeper understandings of environmental systems.

“You talk like us,” one trainee said as I shared a series of pictures of myself in kindergarten as evidence that I really was when the very same age as them and matured in Sitka, too. Now I deal with individuals from all over the world to keep Alaska’s oceans healthy for individuals and wildlife that depend upon them as part of WWF’s preservation objective.

Over the course of my week in Sitka, I checked out each class 3 times. We spoke about what makes a bird a bird, pretended to be birds (lots of, lot of times), role-played as seabird researchers, and talked about how seabirds are indications of ocean health. We checked out a classroom-friendly variation of a seabird nest—a design with packed birds and image cut-outs—near Sitka and checked out the concept of specific niche partitioning—when 2 or more types divide resources to exist together—in 2 activities to learn how a lot of seabirds can nest on one island and still discover adequate food to consume and space to lay their eggs.

This year we included a 3rd lesson. I partnered with Kristina Tirman, Ocean Conservancy’s Alaska marine particles supervisor, to more plainly link the concept of seabirds and ocean health to things that kindergartners might have the ability to perform in their own lives. Kristina and I established the majority of the seabird lessons throughout her time as education organizer for the Sitka Sound Science Center, consisting of a video series that trainees might enjoy from home throughout the Covid-19 pandemic in which I changed my dog into a seabird.

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