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Alaska Students to Present at Ocean Summit in Washington, D.C.

Seward, AK – February 8, 2011 – This week 4 students from Alaska accompanied by two Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) educators will be travelling to Washington, D.C. to present at the 3rd National Student Summit on the Ocean and Coasts.  The theme is centered on the Third Principle of Ocean Literacy which states, “the ocean is a major influence on weather and climate.”  This summit is organized by the Coastal America federal partnership and will be held at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.

The purpose of this summit is to inspire students to protect, preserve, and restore coastal ecosystems through community involvement and encourage them to pursue future academic and career paths in the marine and environmental sciences.  These Alaska students are one of nineteen four-student delegations from Coastal Ecosystem Learning Centers around the United States and Mexico.  Once in Washington, D.C., the students will share their plans, discuss common concerns and receive support from national experts.

“This is the second time that the Coastal America and Alaska SeaLife Center’s Coastal Ecosystem Learning Center Partnership has supported high school Alaska students to visit D.C.,” said Dr. Ian Dutton, ASLC President and CEO.  “This will be a tremendous learning opportunity for these students, as well as a chance to share their knowledge about Alaska’s oceans.”  According to Laurie Morrow, the ASLC educator leading the group, the Seward-based students will be presenting their plan for raising awareness of ocean acidification and its potential impacts on local marine animals.  The plan includes partnering with local businesses to reach out to both summer residents and visitors.

The summit has some exciting keynote speakers including: Jean-Michel Cousteau, Ocean Explorer and Film Producer; Dr. Sylvia Earle, Marine Biologist and National Geographic Explorer in Residence; Jack Hanna, Zookeeper and Wildlife expert; Dr. Nancy Knowlton, Smithsonian Institution’s Sant Chair for Marine Science; and Jim Toomey, Cartoonist and Creator of Sherman’s Lagoon. When not presenting or attending workshops, students will also have the opportunity to participate in educational opportunities, such as visiting the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, the Air & Space Museum, Memorials, visiting Capitol Hill and congressional offices. The Seward High School students include one sophomore, and three juniors.  The team members are: Brianna Honebein, Jacob Marshall, Maggie Herbert and Rain Becker.  More information about the group and their project can be found on their wikipage at http://alaskasealifecentersummitdelegation.wikispaces.com. The Alaska SeaLife Center is a private non-profit research institution and visitor attraction which generates and shares scientific knowledge to promote understanding and stewardship of Alaska’s marine ecosystems.  For more information about the Alaska SeaLife Center please reference the Alaska SeaLife Center website at www.alaskasealife.org.

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