Point Higgins Elementary School

The Point Higgins Elementary School in Ketchikan is actively engaged in two fully-integrated A World Bridge™ projects: 

Tsunami Marine Debris Monitoring

Unmanned Aircraft Systems - Scientific Applications

Teachers Janice Wood and Marisa Frey collaborated on the research, development and localization of these programs for the school's students.

NOAA and the Sitka Sound Science Center have been involved with Japan Tsunami Marine Debris research, cleanup and outreach for years now. NOAA and the SSSC recently completed a 6-month survey of the outer coasts looking for Japanese Tsunami debris. They are currently planning activities for the removal of Tsunami debris and working with community partners on marine debris projects.

World Bridge school districts have begun acquiring past collection data, and will add new information layers to custom maps created from Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) photography. Additionally, this project has expanded to include an environmental impact study, which will map affected areas including plant and animal diversity studies, including invasive species. This program was launched in the KGBSD as a K-12 articulation project, beginning with the Point Higgins Elementary School. Marine debris can injure people, entangle marine mammals, enter the food web and threaten the overall ecosystem. Removing debris from beaches reduces these threats and promotes ecosystem resilience.

Point Higgins ES teachers and students utilized the Trillium Learning project-based curriculum, professional development, and localized the projects for their community needs. The following pictures illustrate the students’ products, results, community presentation, and their Certificates of Achievement:

Pt Higgins Certificate Photo

Proud students with their Certificates of Achievement!

The Point Higgins Elementary School - A World Bridge™ project team hosted a community event on Earth Day, April 22nd. This is a student-led evening where they shared what they've learned by being a part of this wonderful project. The students created presentation boards to help explain the science behind the projects, and requested community members to bring in Tsunami Marine Debris found while beachcombing. The students then cataloged what they found, where, when, and who found it. The school library was set up like a museum where students shared their presentations. The community was shown the recent earthquake activity experienced in Alaska. Students also explained why and how they are learning to fly drones in order to find and photograph debris from the air, and show how capable they’ve become. There was also a hazards area, where students notified the public about the potential hazards of beachcombing. Students also made creative foods for sale like tsunami debris Jello :) For an example student presentation, click here.

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               Tsunami Description & Presentation                                         Earthquakes


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                             Effects of Tsunamis                                                                                                Computer Map Presentation


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              Training with High-Definition Mapping Drones                                     Plate Tectonics Study


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Ring of Fire                       How Earthquakes Cause Tsunamis

PtHiggins Student DebrisPres3

Tsunami Marine Debris Collected from Ketchikan Shores











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