Students coached by Alaska Sea Grant make good showing at Tsunami Bowl

Team “Far-fetched” with Sunny Rice (L) and Joni Johnson (R). Photo by Laura Woodward.

Mastering marine knowledge, researching an ocean topic and meeting with scientists are all part of the learning process for Alaska high schoolers who prepare for the Alaska Tsunami Bowl annual competition.

The 21st Tsunami Bowl took place in Seward, February 9-11, with 22 teams competing. The winners were Cordova’s “Yeti Crabs” team which has now earned the right to compete in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl in Boulder, Colo., in April. The national competition builds awareness and appreciation of ocean sciences and the marine environment among US high school students.

Teams from Petersburg, coached by Alaska Sea Grant’s Sunny Rice and teacher Joni Johnson, placed well in the competition.

Team “Insert Tidal Here” presents their research project at the Tsunami Bowl in Seward.

A team of five seniors, called “Far-fetched,” came in sixth overall. Their research was on the ocean’s impact on high marine winds, and they earned second place on the paper.

Another team, “Insert Tidal Here,” had only two freshmen because two students could not make the trip. But they made the best of their circumstances. They presented their paper, on how the ocean influences extreme rain events in Petersburg, and did an amazing job, said Rice.

They managed to talk students from Ketchikan and Anchorage Dimond High into joining them in the quiz bowl round, where they also did great, Rice said. “They would have been in the championship bracket, but were disqualified because of the missing students, so went into the consolation bracket and ended up 15th.”

The Petersburg students and other teams toured the Alaska SeaLife Center on day one after their presentations, and the center hosted a dinner that evening.

Rescued baby beluga at Alaska SeaLife Center. Activities pictured are authorized by MMHSRP MMPA/ESA #18786-02.

“The event was lots of fun, as always,” said Rice. “The recently rescued baby beluga whale could be seen in his tank, which was very exciting for the kids.”

Part of the bowl preparation for Petersburg students was selling tamales and orange julius drinks. The Petersburg School district also provided travel support.

Everyone missed the Unalaska team, coached by Alaska Sea Grant’s Melissa Good. Many flights out of Unalaska were cancelled that week, theirs among them.