USGS Walrus Data Used to Develop STEM Curriculum for High School
USGS Alaska Science Center Wildlife Biologist Anthony Fischbach provided his expertise along with USGS walrus data and the web based tool Arctic ERMA (Environmental Response Management Application), an online mapping tool that integrates both static and real-time data, to Scott Hauser, a local Service High School teacher in Anchorage Alaska. Hauser developed a curriculum that introduced students to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) so they could construct a map and formulate a comprehensive mock management plan with the aim of protecting walrus habitat, foraging areas and migration routes in Alaska. Students researched walrus natural history, anthropogenic conflicts and the effects of the loss of sea ice on the species. Fischbach help frame the curriculum so that the problems presented to the students directly mirrored the problems presented to Department of Interior (DOI) managers: how to balance the conservation of Pacific walrus with economic developments that range from increased shipping to the development of DOI offshore oil and gas leases.