By Brian Cameron
Neah-Kah-Nie High School took first place in the regional Salmon Bowl oceanic science competition.
The Salmon Bowl was instituted by the National Oceanic Science Bowl (NOSB) and describes itself as an academic science competition with an oceanic twist. Taking students from all around the United States the program is bent-on acting to fill the gap in what is a fairly wide margin of a lack of oceanic sciences in our nation’s high school classrooms.
“Oceanography and ocean related science is not terribly common in the classroom,” said Neah-Kah-Nie science teacher and NOSB organizer Nadja Paulissen. “I feel its something that needs to have more focus especially considering things like climate change, ocean acidification and other environmental issues.”
Working with Oregon State University and the national STEM program the region has elected the Salmon Bowl to be the themed competition for Neah-Kah-Nie High School students. Other parts of the country have different themes to describe their student contenders with names like Surf, Penguin, Bay Scallop, Blue Crab, Blue Heron, Hurricane, Loggerhead, Spoonbill, Trout and Tsunami Bowls.
The event pits grouped teams together against other schools in the region to compare oceanic science related facts to see who can best one another and come out on top for their school. This year Neah-Kah-Nie High School won the second round of competing and took home the honor of first place.
The group of high schoolers, made up of students from the sophomore, junior and senior classes broke off into two separate teams and practiced for months in preparation for the event. Covering topics like oceanic pollution, sea level rise, acidification, sea life facts and many other subjects that would better prepare the contenders for the preliminary competition.
“We were finding it hard to keep composure when it was our time to compete,” said the group’s leader Asa Parker. “But it was the fact that we were able to keep our composure during the questioning that I think gave us the advantage to win.”
When asked what it was they wanted to focus on for the finals coming up in April, Asa said that he thought they Parker definitely work even harder to win. Nods from his teammates indicated they all felt the same way. “Its going to be a much bigger deal,” said Parker. “But I think we can go into it pretty well prepared.”
The winners will now get to attend the 20th Annual National Oceanic Science Bowl which will be held at Oregon State University on April 20. The theme for the competition will be “Blue Energy” which focuses on how to generate power from oceanic sources.