High school teams from throughout Washington State competed for the winner’s cup at Washington Sea Grant’s 20th annual Orca Bowl, promoting science, technology, engineering, math and marine studies.
SEATTLE – More than 100 emerging young oceanographers and marine biologists from high schools around the state gathered around a giant inflatable orca at the University of Washington (UW) Fishery Sciences Building just moments before kicking off the 20th annual Orca Bowl competition this past Sat., Feb. 25, 2017. Twenty teams met to vie for a slot in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl, which will take place April 20-23, 2017 in Corvallis, Oregon.
The competition was a tight race all the way to the end. At the last minute, the Tacoma Science and Math Institute (SAMI) team pulled off its first-ever Orca Bowl victory besting Friday Harbor High School by only two points. The Tacoma School of the Arts (SOTA) placed third. The UW School of Oceanography and the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences both offer scholarships to members of the winning team that attend their programs.
First-time participant, Clallam Bay High School from the Olympic Peninsula, took home the Megan Vogel Sportsmanship Award for their upbeat attitude and integrity throughout the competition.
The event was high energy fun and fiercely competitive, but behind all the excitement is a very serious educational purpose: nurturing a new generation of marine scientists. This is vitally important as the United States and the Puget Sound maritime region contend with marine issues such as ocean acidification, climate change, fishing pressures and other threats to the seas that sustain us.
The annual Orca Bowl competition was hosted by the UW College of the Environment and organized by Washington Sea Grant. Major sponsors included UW, the UW College of the Environment, Washington Sea Grant, UW JISAO, the UW School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and the National Ocean Science Bowl.
Washington Sea Grant, based at the University of Washington, provides statewide research, outreach and education services addressing the challenges facing our ocean and coasts.
The National Sea Grant College Program is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. www.wsg.washington.edu.