Black & White Project

Ron and alison with fins in art closeupLast summer Klaudia and Michael Leccesse found a dead newborn killer whale on a local beach. Jan Straley’s team, working with Canadian Veterinarian Dr. Rafferty, conducted a necropsy of the animal. Through generous support of the Crossett Fund and the Sitka Permanent Charitable Trust the Sitka Sound Science Center used this specimen to engage students in a dynamic art and science project at Sitka High. We sent the killer whale head, fins and tail to the Scientific Art Studio in Richmond California (www.scientificartstudio.com). Artist Ron Holthuysen  cast the head and tail and created the model.  This completed model is suspended in the touch tank aquarium room at the center adjacent to the juvenile killer whale skeleton to allow direct comparison by students and visitors. The SSSC, working in conjunction with Jan Straley (UAS), Dr. Alison Stimpert (Naval Post Graduate School), Ron Holthuysen (SAS) and Sitka High School teachers Gaylen Needham (SHS), Scott McArthur brought an exciting hands-on project to Sitka High School. They participated in the “Art and Design II” and Physical Science classes to have the students link art and science. Mr. Holthuysen gave a workshop to students on scientific art and led both science and art students in a class to sculpt a killer whale model. Dr Stimpert and Jan Straley worked with both the Art and Design II students and the physical science students to explore killer whale ecology and sound production. Dr. Stimpert is a pre-eminent scientist working at the Naval Post Gradual College in Monterey California. She will be residing in Sitka as a SSSC Scientist in Residency Fellow from mid-March through mid-April 2013.