On March 3, hosted teams from 15 regional high schools for the 11th Annual Bay Scallop Bowl, an academic competition that pitted more than 80 students against one another to test their knowledge of oceanography and marine sciences.
Although Bronx High School came out on the top of the food chain for the second time, their longtime rival in the competition Mt. Sinai High School took second place this year. According to a Sea Grant spokesperson, Mt. Sinai has won about half the Bay Scallop Bowls in the past.
Former Mt. Sinai team player and current chemistry teacher Gina Sing came back to the competition as assistant coach. Other Mt. Sinai graduates and former Bowl winners who have gone on to become marine science majors in college also came back to assist. This year’s coach for the Mt. Sinai team was David Chase, who took over from Andy Matthews, a marine science graduate and a former Sea Grant scholar.
Dr. Jim Ammerman, Director of New York Sea Grant, a sponsor of the Bowl, said that the competition helps expose students to the mysteries of the deep, attracting more of them to the marine sciences. New York Sea Grant is a cooperative education and research program of the State University of New York, Cornell University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
In a statement, the organization said that this year’s theme was “A Sea of Change: Development and Evolution,” focusing on how technologies are evolving to address our nation’s need for forecasting systems, offshore renewable energy production, and research on emerging issues such as ocean acidification.
According to its website, the Bay Scallop Bowl is a regional competition that is a part of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB), an annual competition for high school students sponsored by the Washington DC-based Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
Dr. Minghua Zhang, Dean of the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) at Stony Brook University, called the Bay Scallop Bowl an “innovative way to educate students about the oceans.”
“By increasing awareness among high school students about the plight of our coastal environment, the Bay Scallop Bowl nurtures the next generation of scientists and citizens who will be guardians of our marine environment," he said.
Besides Mt. Sinai, other local schools involved in the competition this year included Longwood High School and The Stony Brook School.
The winning team from the Bronx will now go on to compete in the 2012 National Ocean Science Bowl finals in Baltimore this April.