|Seabirds of Prince William Sound
|Who is going on the expedition?
Five students - 1 senior, 3 juniors, and 1 sophomore - were selected to join Miss
Baker on this expedition.
What is the purpose of the expedition?
After the Exxon-Valdez spill in 1991, it became increasingly important to monitor
the health of the Prince William Sound ecosystem. One of the best ways to do this
is to monitor populations of seabirds. Because they exist at the top of the food
chain, seabirds can indicate how an ecosystem is doing from the top down. The
Exxon-Valdez oil spill killed one million seabirds and disrupted the Prince William
Sound ecosystem. In addition to the spill, climate change and overfishing have
impacted this ecosystem. The students will join US Fish and Wildlife Service
biologists to survey the breeding activity and productivity of seabirds, focusing
primarily on black-legged kittiwakes. Working primarily from 5-meter inflatable
boats, the students will capture adult kittiwakes and their chicks to monitor their
health. They will weigh, measure, and band the birds. In addition, they will survey
the birds breeding success and log critical population data. The students will spend
a total of two-weeks camping out in a vast landscape of rugged coastline, deep
fjords, glaciers, and scenic islands surrounded by whales, seals, eagles, and
How will the students be impacted?
The students will be impacted academically, socially, and spiritually. Academically,
they will experience science by learning and performing skills biologists use to study
animals in the wild. They will live and work with two USFWS biologists and no
other students will be present during this time. Socially, they will begin to build a
network with biologists which is vital to a successful career in science. Spiritually,
they will have an opportunity to establish a close connection with God through His
How will the students share their
experience with others?
The students will share their experience with the lower school, middle school, and
upper school students. There will be substantial video footage and pictures of their
experience available for any group that would like a presentation of the material.
The material will also be available on this website.
If you have any questions regarding this expedition, please feel free to contact me
using the form provided here.