Boise High School from Boise, ID won the 17th Annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl® (NOSB) Finals Competition, held May 1-4, 2014, hosted by Washington Sea Grant and the University of Washington.
(Washington, D.C.) — Twenty-two high schools from around the United States competed in this year’s NOSB Finals Competition. The NOSB is an ocean science education program of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership based in Washington, D.C.
After competing in their respective regional competitions in February and March, these 22 high school teams traveled, with support from the U.S. Office of Naval Research, to Seattle, Washington for the opportunity to compete with their peers on their knowledge of the ocean during the 2014 NOSB Finals Competition. Approximately 1,645 students from 300 high schools participated in the NOSB in 2014.
At both the regional and national level, the competition consists of buzzer-style, multiple choice questions and longer, critical thinking-based team challenge questions on ocean-related topics. During the weekend’s Finals Competition, the students also participated in the Scientific Expert Briefing (SEB) component, where they recreated a congressional testimony. The SEB was piloted in 2011 to provide students with a broader understanding of the interconnections between science, policy and the public. This year, the topic was ocean acidification and the FOARAM Act reauthorization. The team that scored highest on the Science Expert Briefing was Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School and they took home a gavel plaque.
Along with the competition, the students participated in a day of interactive field trips around Seattle, an engaging speed-career search event and inspirational presentations from the Dr. Brian Baird, President of Antioch University Seattle and former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Matthew Huelsenbeck, Team Relations Manager for the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE.
The theme for this year’s Finals Competition was ocean acidification. This theme explores the progressive increase in ocean acidity caused by excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and its ramifications on marine ecosystems and organisms, as well as the role that humans play in the process. Ocean acidification has the potential to disrupt ecosystems in a way that endangers the ocean and its role as a food source, storm buffer, and more. The theme was particularly relevant for the National Finals Competition in Seattle, Washington, as the U.S. Pacific Northwest is already seeing the direct effects of ocean acidification, especially on its shellfish industry. The University of Washington has stepped up to the challenge and became an example for the nation in coordinating research and monitoring of ocean acidification and its effects on local oysters, clams and fish.
The top eight teams at the Finals Competition were:
1st Place – Boise High School – Boise, Idaho
2nd Place – Arcadia High School – Arcadia, California
3rd Place – Juneau-Douglas High School – Juneau, Alaska
4th Place – Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School – Virginia Beach, Virginia
5th Place – Eastside High School – Gainesville, Florida
6th Place – Chaparral Star Academy – Austin, Texas
7th Place – Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology – Alexandria, Virginia
8th Place – Lexington High School – Lexington, Massachusetts
Other winners were also named at the annual Finals Competition, including the James D. Watkins Sportsmanship Award winner. Langham Creek High School of Houston, Texas won the Sportsmanship Award, which is voted upon by the volunteers for demonstrating the best sportsmanship throughout the weekend-long competition.
The top three teams had their choice of prizes, including GoPro video cameras and all-expense paid trips to Northern New England and the Washington, D.C. and Maryland area to conduct hands-on ocean science activities and visit Marine Science education facilities. Boise High School will be taking the Northern New England trip, Arcadia High School will be taking the Washington, D.C. and Maryland trip, and Juneau-Douglas High School was awarded the GoPro cameras. The fourth through 13th place teams and the Sportsmanship winner received an array of prizes from marine science textbooks to gift certificates. All prizes were made possible with support from the IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society. Educational award trips are additionally supported by the numerous host institutions, including Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, Gulf of Maine Research Institute, the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation, and Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, National Zoo, and Environmental Research Center.
“The future of oceanography has never been brighter in my mind given the tremendous talent I witnessed this weekend. Seeing hundreds of high schools students demonstrating their mastery of college and graduate level expertise in the ocean sciences is uplifting,” said Robert B. Gagosian, President & CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership. “I want to express my most sincere gratitude to Eric and Wendy Schmidt without whose generous support, we would not have been able to hold the 17th annual finals competition this year.”
Congratulations to everyone who participated in the 17th Annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl!