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The Juneau Douglas ocean science bowl group visited the Alaska Sea Life Center in Seward in the course of the “Tsunami Bowl” in March 2023. (Photo Courtesy of Shannon Easterly &amp Shelby Surdyk)

Immediately after college, empty pizza boxes lay stacked on a lab bench in Shelby Surdyk’s science classroom. The smell lingered as Juneau Douglas Higher School’s ocean science bowl group waited for coach Shannon Easterly’s subsequent query.

“What is the most endangered cetacean?” she asked.

1 student fired off a series of incorrect answers.

“Blue whale, sperm whale, bowhead whale.”

Easterly stopped him.

“It’s a teeny, tiny porpoise referred to as the vaquita,” she mentioned. “We do not know for positive, but there are significantly less than 20 people.”

“Oh, I hate it,” mentioned Peyton Edmonds, a single of the students, displaying her teammates a vaquita on her telephone. “That’s not cute.”

The group practices right here 3 instances a week, but Tuesday was their initial meeting given that their win at Alaska’s “Tsunami Bowl” earlier this month. It is a statewide ocean science competitors. This year, in Seward, the college swept the buzzer-style competitors — the third year in a row that Juneau has won.

“Rest-A-Shored (left)” and “Free Radicals (suitable)” competed in the final round of 2023’s “Tsunami Bowl. (Photo Courtesy of Shannon Easterly &amp Shelby Surdyk)

The freshman group, “Yeah, Buoy,” won initial location in their division, though A-group “Free Radicals” and B-group “Rest-A-Shored” faced off in the final round to win initial and second location, respectively.

Carson Carrlee, captain of Yeah-Buoy, was shocked. He mentioned competing in Seward felt distinct from practices.

“Right just after college, when you are extremely tired and you have the A-group sitting suitable there, you are barely buzzing in. So it can really feel type of like you do not know something,” he mentioned.

In the heat of the competitors, that changed.

“It definitely shows that you are essentially studying stuff,” he mentioned. “You’re essentially beginning to turn into, like, type of a scientist-ish.”

The Tsunami Bowl, which was hosted by the University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries and Ocean sciences, is extra than a competitors. It is a crash course in all items ocean science, with researchers and specialists from about the state.

The Juneau teams visited a boat simulator at the Alaska Maritime Education Center, attempted a tsunami evacuation drill and went behind the scenes at the Alaska Sea Life Center.

The A and B-teams also participated in the investigation portion of the competitors, exactly where teams presented original investigation papers and oral presentations. This year’s theme was mariculture in Alaska.

Juneau’s students focused on the farming of geoducks, sea cucumbers and oysters. Easterly mentioned the student investigation efforts are her favourite portion of the competitors.

“The buzzer is entertaining,” she mentioned. “But that paper writing and then the chance to essentially practice public speaking and present your personal investigation — to a crowd of not just your peers, but adults from all more than the state — is definitely important.”

The Juneau Douglas “Free Radicals” will go on to compete at the National Ocean Sciences Bowl in 2024. (Photo Courtesy of Shannon Easterly &amp Shelby Surdyk)

Surdyk joined as a coach final year. She mentioned that the competitors attracts students who may well not have an interest in ocean science initially. Some join mainly because their close friends join. Other individuals join for a compact bribe — additional credit in science class.

“Even if they do not really feel motivated by the competitors, just to get pleasure from the procedure of studying and learn that they really like science, I believe is a enormous reward,” Surdyk mentioned.

Carlee, a initial year student, says he’ll unquestionably be back subsequent year.

“I really like all my other clubs,” Carlee mentioned. “But NOSB. You definitely really feel like you are clever. And you are studying stuff.”

And the ocean science bowl gets students to stick with STEM education, Easterly says. Tuesday’s practice was proof.

“We didn’t even inform them there would be pizza. And they came anyway,” she mentioned.

Subsequent year, Easterly will take the No cost Radicals A-group to the National Ocean Sciences Bowl competitors, exactly where they’ll compete against the winning teams from across the nation.

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