USU’s Science Unwrapped embarks on kayaking adventure Friday, Feb. 1

USU physicist Jeff Hazboun, pictured, is the featured speaker for Science Unwrapped Friday, Feb. 1, at 7 p.m. in the Eccles Science Learning Center auditorium at USU. Hazboun recounts a National Geographic-sponsored kayaking expedition to Russia’s far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula. Admission is free and all are welcome. Photo courtesy Reel Water Productions.

<strong>LOGAN –</strong> ‘Ride along’ on a kayaking adventure through Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula at Utah State University’s Science Unwrapped Friday, Feb. 1.

Jeff Hazboun, USU physicist, extreme kayaker and wildlife conservationist, presents “Explore to Conserve: A Russian Adventure” at 7 p.m. in the Emert Auditorium (Room 130) of the Eccles Science Learning Center. Hosted by USU’s College of Science, his talk is free and open to all ages.

Hazboun was science coordinator for a 2010 National Geographic-sponsored expedition to Russia’s far eastern peninsula, where he and a team explored remote reaches of untouched, yet imperiled, salmon habitat among Kamchatka’s spectacular volcanoes.

“Not only were we interested in finding new stretches of whitewater, we also wanted to bring back a sense of this unique place and the troubles it’s facing,” Hazboun says. “Kamchatka is a pristine area with few roads and dams, but the salmon population faces growing pressures, specifically from poaching.”

Extending roughly north-south from Russia’s far eastern tip, the 777-mile-long peninsula is bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the east and the Sea of Okhotsk on the west. Teeming with some of the world’s densest populations of salmon and brown bear, the peninsula is home to more than 160 volcanoes, many of them active.

“We saw a ton of Kamchatka brown bears, which are very large and similar to North America’s Kodiak bears,” Hazboun says. “We watched these animals with more awe than fear. Though when you saw a bear tear into a salmon with its teeth, you were reminded of the animal’s strength and ferocity.”

Hands-on learning activities and exhibits follow Hazboun’s talk, including an exhibit by USU Engineering’s student Concrete Canoe competition team, a display by the USU Outdoor Recreation Program, a GIS stream mapping demonstration by USU Department of Watershed Sciences, flotation science activities by the USU Department of Physics, a volcano display by the USU Department of Geology, an exhibit from the USU Museum of Anthropology detailing migration of early peoples by kayak and canoe, along with exhibits by the USU Ecology Center.

The Feb. 1 event is the first of three presentations in Science Unwrapped’s spring 2013 “Water” series.

For more information, call 435-797-3517, visit or view the ‘Science Unwrapped at USU’ page on Facebook.

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