Grade(s): 9 / 10 / 11 / 12
I began teaching high school here at Bristol Bay Borough High School in 2004. I came to Alaska to work for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service in May 2001. My first field assignment was to work in a remote field camp: Mother Goose Lake is approximately 600 km southwest of Anchorage on the Alaska Peninsula. My field duties at Mother Goose Lake were to assist in the set up of three bird banding stations and a small mammal trapping grid that we were going to run that summer. Mother Goose was part of the North American Bird Banding Program and breeding bird survey. Birds were banded at Mother Goose Station for nine years before the station was closed at the end of my first summer in 2001. Birds were banded with the aluminum bands for migration behaviors and color bands were used to document breeding behaviors.
On the first night our group was called to the lake by a noise. As I bolted from the cabin to the lake, I could only imagine what was going on. I heard excited voices and hurried to find out what was happening. When I got to the lake, to my amazement I saw a pack of wolves stalking a mother moose and her calf. They were trying to split the calf from its mother. Two of the pack members caught the calf, but the wolves were now aware of a brown bear heading at a fast pace toward the calf. The wolves backed off. The calf almost reached its mother and the safety of the far shore. Then like a bolt of lightning, the bear overtook the calf and we all heard a sickening cry as the calf was grabbed by the neck. The bear headed off carrying its kill into the willow thickets as the wolves watched from the distance and the distraught mother moose search desperately for her young calf.
I realized then that all my years of education, field labs, and field work brought me here to witness such an awesome sight. Much of my education consisted of taking field courses and doing research. I didnít realize it at the time, but I was getting a place-based education utilizing inquiry-based lessons. I have since decided that I want to share my love of nature and learning. I have had the opportunity of being in the field and learning by hands-on experience and want to share these types of experiences with my students. Science is observation and inquiry. I feel that students will only learn by actively being involved and engaged in their own learning.
Bill Nye is a man with a mission: to foster a scientifically literate society by helping people everywhere understand and appreciate the science that makes our world work. Nye has spent the past 20 years educating students young and old about science and understands the importance of keeping minds active after the last school bell rings. “Learning can happen anywhere and at anytime – the important thing is that it should never stop,” Nye said. “We’ve put together fun, free and easy activities that will make this the summer of learning versus the summer filled with the dreaded words ‘I’m bored.’ ” AN EARLY KNACK FOR HOW THINGS WORK Making science entertaining and accessible is something Bill has done most of his life. Growing up in Washington, D.C., he spent afternoons and summers de-mystifying math for his classmates. While working for Boeing in Seattle, Bill combined his love of science with his flair for comedy. After winning a Steve Martin look-alike contest, he became an engineer by day and a stand-up comic by night. Eventually, Bill made the transition to comedy writer and performer on Seattle’s home-grown ensemble comedy show “Almost Live.” This is where “Bill Nye the Science Guy®” was born. The 18-time Emmy Award-winning show appeared before Saturday Night Live and later on Comedy Central. During this time, he also wrote five kids’ books about science, including his latest title, “Bill Nye’s Great Big Book of Tiny Germs.” BROADENING HIS MISSION Bill’s passion for math and science translated into a love of space. His role as CEO of The Planetary Society, the world’s large space interest organization, has taken him across the globe. And one thing Bill is very proud of is the MarsDials, two sundials on residing on Mars he created with Cornell scientists. America’s favorite stand-up scientist hasn’t changed much from that kid growing up in Washington, DC. He still rides his bike to work. He’ll pull out his Periodic Table of the Elements from his wallet. And his drive for helping others understand science is as strong as ever.