After 19 years, Tuesday Night Talks still going strong

PWSSC research and natural science talks now going live on Facebook

Cordova provides a landscape for rich history, culture, art and science.

The Prince William Sound Science Center, with help from partners, Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program and the Prince William Sound Audubon Society, fuel the discussion and education on natural science and research in and around Cordova through their weekly Tuesday Night Talks program.

Since the program’s start, there have been numerous educational talks and videos on subjects ranging from bears with GoPro’s to K9 detection of oil, all taking place on the third floor of the U.S. Forest Service Building, at 612 2nd St.

Now these talks are also going live on the Internet.

Tyler Quiring, administrative assistant for the PWSSC and Torie Baker of the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, said they are excited for the future of Tuesday Night Talks. Quiring began live streaming the presentations through the PWSSC’s Facebook page in January. More information and videos from previous talks can also be found on their website.

The duo focuses heavily on new accessibility for the community, hoping people will tune in to their Facebook page if they cannot make it to the program in person.

Tuesday Night Talks began as a way to bring research and natural science to Cordova. Since then, many have presented their work to the public through this program.

In 2012, Darren Roberts presented “Antarctica research on Weddell seals” while Marita Kleissler presented “Teaching science through dance”.

Throughout the years, the topics ranged from deer populations and water birds of the Yukon to giant salmon of Japan and avifauna in Peru.

The program was also used as a platform for local high school students to prepare for the Tsunami Bowl. They practiced and presented their work, “Climate, Cordova and Extreme Weather!”, at the Feb. 6 talk.

“We just sort of keep casting our nets,” Baker said of the numerous and diverse group of speakers they have been able to schedule for the program these past 19 years.

The program runs from Sept. through April, every Tuesday at 7 p.m. and brings speakers from the community, Alaska and around the world to share their research.

PWSSC provides a speaker every week, except for the third Tuesday, which is set aside for the Prince William Sound Audubon Society’s monthly meeting. For that meeting Audubon, as a partner in the talk series, provides the speaker.

“It’s interesting to me to watch that transpire,” Quiring said of the varied group of people who attend the talks and offer their own opinions and knowledge.

Karen Swartzbart and her husband have been attending the talks since the program’s begin ning in 1999.

“We are both are very interested in science,” Swartzbart, a biologist. Her husband Paul has a science degree. “We just really enjoy the outdoors and the environment, and we’re always just interested in those types of topics.”

Swartzbart enjoys the talks related to the ocean and atmosphere.

“Typically, the speaker is talking to a range of audience,” she said. “It’s not specific to just the scientific community,” Swartzbart added, explaining that the speakers do a good job of making the information easy to understand for those who do not have a background in science.

The next Tuesday Night Talk is scheduled for March 13 at 7 p.m. and will feature a presentation by Ed Page of Marine Exchange of Alaska on the technical application of marine safety, such as vessel tracking and weather stations in Prince William Sound.

Page served as the Chief of Marine Safety and Environmental Protection for the Coast Guard Pacific Area. After 29 years in the Coast Guard and his retirement in 2001, he founded the Marine Exchange of Alaska in Juneau.

To sign up for the PWSSC newsletter, email info@pwssc.org.

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Emily Mesner is a staff reporter and photographer for The Cordova Times. Reach her at emesner@thecordovatimes.com. Emily graduated from Central Michigan University, earning a degree in photojournalism with a cultural competency certificate. She first visited Alaska in 2016, working as a media intern for the National Park Service in Kotzebue and Denali National Park and Preserve, and has been coming back ever since. To see more photos, follow @thecordovatimes and @emilymesnerphoto on Instagram.