COSEE Ocean Science Fairs
COSEE Alaska sponsors and supports local and regional ocean science fairs and hosts a "fair within a fair" at the Alaska State Science and Engineering Fair held in Anchorage in March. These unique fairs, geared to the inclusion of Alaska Native or other local cultural knowledge into a science inquiry have been held in the North Slope Borough, Bering Straits, Kuspuk, Unalaska, Lower Yukon, Yukon Flats, and Kodiak school districts.
The fair design addresses the unique situation of Alaska's rural areas, where everyday life requires pragmatic scientific, and often traditional cultural knowledge, to survive and thrive. They are a continuation of a successful science/culture fair model developed by the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative and the Alaska Native Knowledge Network which was one of several successful strategies to guide Alaskan K-12 school curriculum and teachers to become more culturally-responsive. Alaska scientists and community members serve as mentors and scientists work side-by-side with elders or other long-term community residents to apply criteria for scientific validity and relevance to the local culture.