Tuesday Night Talks return to the Science Center

The Tuesday Night Talk series is returning to the Prince William Sound Science Center (PWSSC) this fall. The weekly lecture series is a chance for the community to learn and engage with a variety of topics related to science, exploration and research in and around the Prince William Sound region.  

The PWSSC first began the talks in 1999 along with regional partners in science education, the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program and Prince William Sound (PWS) Audubon. Topics have been wide ranging and in the past have included discussions of wildlife population trends, renewable energy opportunities in the region, mariculture research, and migratory bird research.  

The series began with a special showing of the film “My Alaska Journey” at the North Star Theater on Friday, Sept. 15. The film follows Erin Ranney, a wildlife cinematographer, as she explores several different Alaskan ecosystems in search of interesting wildlife and sweeping landscapes. “My Alaska Journey” was a finalist selection at the Cannes World Film Festival and a winner of the Wine, Women and Film Festival.  

Ranney has family ties to Cordova, and is the granddaughter of well-known Alaskan Bush pilot Gayle Ranney. Attendees were able to meet with Erin after the film for a Q&A session. Admission to the event was free through a sponsorship by the Prince William Sound Audubon Society as a part of their continuing support of the lecture series. 

Following the special Friday film showing, the Tuesday Nights Talks will adhere to its regular schedule of running each Tuesday from 7-8 p.m.  

Talks will be hosted at the new PWSSC building in the large main classroom. Attendees can expect a visual presentation and an opportunity to discuss and ask questions with the presenter.  

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The first of these talks, “There be Dragons” hosted on Sept. 19, explored the past, present and future of the Cape St. Elias lighthouse located on Kayak Island. John Bocci of the PWS Audubon society gave the presentation and discussed the lighthouse, which has a long history and stands as a mysteriously beautiful landmark in the hearts and minds of many residents of the region. Over 50 people attended the first lecture, and staff said that they are excited to see the large turnout.  

Cristina Reo, education specialist at PWSSC, said that the education and community engagement offered by the lecture series aligns with the organization’s overall mission to advance community resilience and the understanding and sustainable use of ecosystems. “We’re able to provide a format for members of the community to learn about local research projects, ask questions, gain clarification, and share knowledge,” Reo said of the talks.  

Prior to 2022, the Tuesday Night Talks were hosted at the U.S. Forest Service building. At that time, PWSSC was basing operations out of its small former location in the harbor. The space wasn’t large enough to accommodate the lecture series, and so different venues were needed for the event.  

Last year, as the PWSSC grew into its larger building on Orca Road, the Tuesday Night Talks and other educational community programs grew along with it. Reo said that the first year hosting in the new space was a success and the large classroom offers an excellent venue to gather.  

“The space can be configured into various layouts that meet many of our needs; presentations, meetings, children’s events, and school programs,” she said. 

The lecture series will run into the spring with talks planned for September through April. The next talk will focus on the upcoming harbor reconstruction project.  

For people interested in the series who cannot attend in person a link is available to join virtually. Information about upcoming Tuesday Night Talks, archived past recordings and virtual links can be found on the PWSSC Facebook page and on their website under the education tab.  

Community members are encouraged to reach out to Reo if they have an interest in a certain topic at [email protected]

A presentation takes place in the large classroom of the PWSSC building on Orca Road. The new space has allowed for many educational events and classes in the last year. Photo courtesy PWSSC
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