A "Role Play" Activity
Scenario 1: Extension of No-Fishing Zone around the Pribilofs
The populations of northern fur seals and other marine mammals on the Pribilof Islands have been declining since the early 1950's. Biologists speculate that this may be linked to intensive commercial fishing in the Bering Sea, which forces marine mammals to travel extreme distances in search of food, such as small fish and squid (Danger in Numbers (more info) ). One suggestion has been to enforce and extend a 'No-Fishing' zone around the Pribilof Islands.
How might this act benefit marine mammals such as the northern fur seal? What impact does this have on commercial fishing vessels in the Bering Sea? What impact does it have on Aleut fishermen in the Pribilofs, and how might it affect the economies of St. Paul and St. George?
To explore these issues, use these comprehensive webpages that provide essential information about numerous topics that address these questions.
Scenario 2: Establishment of Ecotourism Industry on the Pribilof Islands
Scenario 3: Cleanup of World War II hazardous materials in the Pribilofs
(Time needed: approximately two hours)
Based on one of the scenarios above, we will use a "role-play" approach to explore many dimensions of resource development and management on the Pribilof Islands. Students will be divided into 3-5 groups representing interested parties for the scenarios above. Each group will take about 40 minutes to find information on the website pertaining to their assigned roles. In the next 10 minutes, each group will decide on the essential evidence that informs your point of view (at least 5 key points) making sure to address the above questions. Next, each group will have 5 minutes to report on this information to the class during the 'town meeting'. This report out is to include key points about what is particularly interesting and/or important about these issues. We will end the class period with a general discussion about the overall issue of resource development and management on the Pribilof Islands address the bold questions for the scenario.
Group 1 - Aleut Elders:
Be sure to explore the culture heritage of the Aleuts of the Pribilof Islands, and the environmental and economic policies facing the communities today. You are responsible for the well-being of your people and the preservation of your culture. What are the challenges facing the communities of St. Paul and St. George today? How can these challenges be met while still preserving the Aleut culture?
Group 2 - Consulting Geologists:
Be sure to explore the geology, physiography, and hydrology of the Pribilof Islands. What is the general geologic setting, what rock units, structures and landforms are present? How does the geology and topography differ between St. Paul and St. George Island? What issues involve the quality of water resources?
Group 3 - Environmental Biologists:
Be sure to explore the climate and diversity of flora and fauna on the Pribilof Islands. How has climate change influenced the populations of wildlife in the Bering Sea? What precautions can be taken to ensure that species are protected in the Pribilofs?
Group 4 - Commercial Fishermen:
Be sure to explore the flora and fauna of the Pribilof Islands and economic policies related to development in the Bering Sea. What types of marine industries are supported in the Bering Sea? What types of policies are in place for fishermen in the Bering Sea? Are there risks associated with these jobs?
Group 5 - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Officers:
Be sure to explore the flora and fauna of the Pribilof Islands and environmental policies related to development in the Bering Sea. What types of measures are in place to protect the wildlife of the Pribilof Islands? How will you balance industry and economic interest with managing the wildlife on the islands?
Group 6 - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Environmental Scientists:
Be sure to explore the flora and fauna of the Pribilof Islands and environmental policies related to development in the Bering Sea. What types of environmental restoration have been done on the islands? Is this restoration complete? What types of policies are in place to protect the Aleut population in the Pribilofs?
Each group should start their investigation with the recommended pages above, but feel free to explore the entire case study.
For further information about teaching with the Role Playing Technique, see the Starting Point collection.