Kenai Fjords Tours wins Ocean Leadership Award

Kenai Fjords Tours’ Marine Science Explorers Program received the 2010 Alaska Ocean Leadership Award for Ocean Literacy. The award was presented to Kenai Fjords Tours at the Sea Life Center’s Alaska Marine Gala in the Dena’ina Center, on Jan. 17.

The Alaska Ocean Leadership Awards were established to encourage and recognize outstanding achievements related to ocean sciences, education and management. Kenai Fjords Tours’ Marine Science Explorers Program was selected to receive the 2010 Ocean Literacy Award as the institution that has made a breakthrough in promoting ocean literacy in Alaska among a segment of the general population via formal or informal education, outreach or other communications. The award was sponsored by The Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence.

“It is a privilege to provide Alaskan and Outside students with an exceptional learning experience, to help them understand and appreciate the marine ecosystem in the Gulf of Alaska, and ignite interest in oceans everywhere,” says Andréa Kosto, Education Coordinator for the Marine Science Explorers Program in Seward, and its sister program, the Prince William Sound Explorer Program in Whittier, Alaska.

Kosto holds a degree in marine biology and is a tour boat captain for Kenai Fjords Tours. She has been with the Marine Science Explorers Program and Kenai Fjords Tours since 1997.

The goal of the Marine Science Explorers Program is to create awareness and inspire appreciation of our marine environment and to cultivate interest in the field of marine science.

Since 1995, the program has carried more than 38,000 school-age and adult students on five-hour cruises onboard the floating laboratory/classroom, M/V Fjordland, in Resurrection Bay. The day includes four active workshops. The first workshop includes a discussion of Marine Mammal and Seabird Adaptations. The Plankton Analysis Workshop involves capturing plankton and observing the tiny creatures under microscopes. In the Ecosystems and Estuary Workshop, a Kenai Fjords National Park Ranger leads a discussion on the interaction of intertidal organisms held in an onboard aquarium. Finally, in Seawater Analysis, students are introduced to the non-living facets of the marine ecosystem.

The Marine Science Explorers Program has received both state and national recognition from The National Education Association of Alaska, Alaska Land Manager’s Forum and The National Environmental Education and Training Foundation. The program was created by Madalyn Walker, Leslie Hines-Jacoby and Jamie Pringle for Kenai Fjords Tours.

Kenai Fjords Tours is a subsidiary of CIRI Alaska Tourism Corp. (CATC). Alaska Native owned and operated, CATC is the umbrella company for Alaska Heritage Tours, Kenai Fjords Tours, Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge,Mariah Tours, Prince William Sound Glacier Cruises, Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge and Seward Windsong Lodge.