Mission: Alaska Walleye Pollock Survey
Geographical Area: Gulf of Alaska
Date: July 18, 2013
My name is Julia Harvey and I currently teach biology and environmental science at South Eugene High School in Eugene, Oregon. Eugene is at the southern end of the Willamette Valley and just a short drive from the Pacific Ocean. I have taken many trips over the coastal range to Florence and the beautiful Oregon Coast.
And while the weather is not always cooperative, the ocean is always gorgeous. This last spring I took a group of students on a short marine discovery cruise out of Newport, where NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) has based their Marine Operations Center for the Pacific.
It was my dream since 2nd grade to become a marine biologist. Mrs. Hellwege inspired me to learn more about the ocean as we studied marine mammals. My career path remained unchanged as I attended Occidental College and spent time on the college’s boat the Vantuna. I put my academic education on hold after graduating to serve in the Peace Corps. My passion for the sea continued while I was stationed in the South Pacific on an island in the Kingdom of Tonga. But as I became a teacher, I realized the perfect career would combine my love for biology and my new love of teaching. 22 years later, I now have to opportunity to revisit my childhood dream.
I learned about the NOAA Teacher at Sea program as I was taking an Oceanic Studies course. I decided to apply last October because I wished to connect my students directly with current research that is impacting our ocean environment. I also wanted to learn first hand how oceanic data was being collected since I have been out of the lab setting for quite some time. I was ecstatic when I learned in February that I was selected to sail. I am truly honored and appreciate the opportunity to involve my students in oceanic research and to present to them potential oceanic careers.
I will be sailing in the Gulf of Alaska aboard the Oscar Dyson and participating in a Walleye pollock fish population survey. Walleye pollock is the largest fisheries in the United States and one of the largest in the world. These fish become fish sticks, fish sandwiches and imitation crab. I am looking forward to learning more about the science involved in assessing a fish population. What makes fisheries healthy and sustainable?
My bags are packed with clothes, cameras, workouts, books and lots of enthusiasm. I am excited beyond description. I will be blogging several times a week and I hope you will continue to follow my journey at sea.