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Kids Learn to Harness the Power of Wind at Outdoor Week 2024


Staff members at the Bureau of Ocean Energy’s Alaska OCS Region had the opportunity to work with fifth- and sixth-graders from all over Anchorage at Outdoor Week 2024, held by the Bureau of Land Management’s Campbell Creek Science Center between May 7-10.

At a station jointly hosted by BOEM and its sister agency, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, staffers welcomed groups of schoolchildren and gave a short, easy-to-understand overview of offshore wind energy and the kinds of skills the industry requires. But the real highlight came next: The groups were split into small teams, and each team was given a three-foot-high, functioning scale model of an actual wind turbine to assemble. Completed, the turbines were wired to charge a small battery.

Maureen De Zeeuw, a wildlife biologist with the Bureau of Ocean Energy’s Alaska OCS Region, explains the basics of wind-turbine energy to a group of 6th-graders at the Campbell Creek Science Center here May 7, 2024. De Zeeuw was one of several staff members from BOEM and its sister agency, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, participating in the Bureau of Land Management’s Outdoor Week 2024. BSEE photo by Guy Hayes

“It was really exciting to see all the kids so engaged,” said Maureen De Zeeuw, a BOEM wildlife biologist. “I think maybe I saw one kid on a cell phone the entire time,” she said.

A former schoolteacher, De Zeeuw said the children were captivated by the hands-on work.

“We tried to let them do most of the discovery themselves. For example, if they got the turbine assembled but it wasn’t turning, some might say, ‘There’s not enough wind under the tent – let’s try taking outside.’ Then they’d start using box tops and things to fan the turbines.”

De Zeeuw said the teachers were also enthusiastic.

“I had one tell me she was so appreciative. She told me, ‘We just can’t do this kind of thing in the classroom,’” De Zeeuw said.

“We had a great time with the kids,” agreed Kimberly Klein, a BOEM wildlife biologist who helped organize the agency’s participation. “They asked great questions about wind energy and tested their own ideas about how to make a model wind turbine work. It was neat to hear “Oh wow!” when they could see that their energy could be captured and used as electrical power.  There were definitely some light bulbs turning on!”

KeyFacts Energy Industry Directory: BOEM   l   KeyFacts Energy news: Next Generation

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