Local News

Scouts do pellets, water and radio waves at AK Women in Science event

What do owl barf, water and radio have in common? The answer is science!

More than a dozen women and girls got together Saturday afternoon in Wrangell for the Girl Scouts of Alaska’s Women in Science event.

The scouts learn about the types of sounds objects around the station make – Photo courtesy of Diane O’Brien.

Sheila Miller is the Southern Southeast Alaska Program Specialist for the Girl Scouts.

She says getting girls interested in science, technology, engineering and math at a young age is important. But the challenge is keeping them interested.

“I was a teacher for 22 years before I did this. You can see a lot of girls start out very interested in math and science in school but you see them fade out. There’s still a gender pressure that those aren’t fields for women. Girls at a younger age and middle school and high school don’t see themselves going into those fields,” says Miller.

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The girls test water samples at the Alaska Crossings workshop – Photo courtesy of Diane O’Brien

She says it strengthens a community when girls see local women as role models.

“So sometimes they’re not so stereotypical—they don’t think of some fields as being math or science or technology or engineering-related. And then when they meet women who are working in those roles, it’s setting a role model. These are options that are available to girls and women and to encourage them to explore ideas or perhaps pursuing education and interest in those fields,” says Miller.

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Dissecting owl pellets at the Forest Service workshop – Photo courtesy of Diane O’Brien

Diane O’Brien is the local Girl Scout leader in Wrangell. She says the Girl Scouts work alongside the schools to help educate girls about these subjects.

“Well I know for my group that they just went into sixth grade, so they’re being exposed more to science but not so much to engineering and technology. They’re getting a lot more math, too. So I think some of those sparks the teachers may be igniting, this would help them develop more of an interest or explore those territories more. So I think for them it could be a real opportunity for exploration and growth in those avenues,” says O’Brien.

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There were women presenters at the event. Corree Delabrue and Brooke Williams work for the Forest Service. They dissected owl pellets with their groups.

Science is fun! – Photo courtesy of Diane O’Brien

Holly Owens works for Alaska Crossings. She taught her groups about the importance water quality. They tested water samples to find out what’s in that wet stuff all around us!

KSTK’s Shady Grove Oliver was one of the presenters. She brought the girls to the radio station for a workshop on the science of sound waves and radio technology.

The girls got behind the microphone and sent back this audio postcard:

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Click here for more information about how you can get involved with Girl Scouts of Alaska.

To “dissect” a virtual owl pellet online, click here.

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