Kajsa Bloyd, a high school junior, immediately said yes when her teacher asked if she'd like to be involved in an ambitious project - chopping up, burying, digging up, and then studying the carcass of a dead humpback whale.

"I'm really pumped," said Bloyd, who said she wants to be a marine mammal veterinarian. "When I heard about this opportunity, I was like, we have to do this. This is exciting."

Students from several Tacoma schools, including the School of the Arts, will be working on the project over the next year.

The humpback died earlier this spring and is now decomposing on the shores of McNeil Island.

"The learning opportunities that will come along with putting together a whale skeleton are incredible," said Kainoa Higgins, a science teacher at the School of the Arts. "The hope is the students will be involved in every step of the process."

Students will be partnering with the Foss Seaport Waterway Museum, which will eventually hang the skeleton on its ceiling near other massive whale remains.

Students will bury the whale's carcass and allow it to naturally decompose before exhuming its bones to begin the studying process.