“Let’s Treasure Our Marine Resources” is the theme of the University of Delaware’s annual Coast Day festival on Sunday, October 6, at the Lewes campus. In keeping with this theme, the UD Sea Grant College Program and the College of Marine Studies have planned numerous activities to interest and excite children of all ages.
The Coast Day Treasure Hunt returns after its successful inauguration last year. Children, aged 5 to 13, will have fun searching for the answers to questions about the marine environment in the many displays and exhibits. Prizes will be awarded to those who are successful in answering all the questions. Treasure Hunt maps will be available at the information table located at the front of Cannon Lab.
A highlight of the day will be Dr. George Luther’s Magic Show at noon in the Harbor Room of the Virden Center. A professor of oceanography, Luther will use his bag of glowing and exploding chemical magic tricks to not only amaze his audience, but also explain various marine-related phenomena. The magic show will be repeated at 2:00 p.m. Also at the Virden Center, children can make their own marine book with help from members of Read-Aloud Delaware.
Many other fun and educational activities are planned. In Room 104, Cannon Lab, a special exhibit will focus on Delaware’s official state marine animal — the horseshoe crab. Every hour there will be a special presentation, including a question-and-answer period, on the importance of the horseshoe crab to the ecology of the Delaware Bay. See live horseshoe crabs and demonstrations in this exhibit, which will be open all day.
Pveryone can try to stump Dr. Doug Miller at the “Ask the Oceanographer” booth and safely admire the beauty and grace of the different jellyfish of the Mid-Atlantic coast in the lobby of Cannon Lab. Hands-on activities featuring microscopic critters of the ocean also will be featured in Cannon Lab.
UD’s upcoming deep-sea expedition, Extreme 2002: Mission to the Abyss, will be open all day in the library of Cannon Lab. During Extreme 2002, from October 20 to November 12, marine scientists from the University of Delaware will use Alvin, the famous submersible that was used to explore the wreck of the Titanic, to descend over a mile deep to explore hydrothermal vents on the floor of the Pacific Ocean.
Visitors will learn about how they can travel along with the scientists through an interactive Web site and about an educational project involving schoolchildren from Delaware and around the nation. Kids will be fascinated as they learn about bizarre creatures such as the Pompeii worm that live in the total darkness, toxic waters, high heat, and tremendous pressures surrounding these underwater geysers.
Scale models of hydrothermal vents created by Hepsi Zsoldos’s 9th- and 10th-grade students in UD’s Upward Bound summer program will be on display in the Education Tent, located in the mall between Cannon and Smith Labs. Zsoldos, an eighth-grade Earth science teacher at Talley Middle School in Wilmington, is the first recipient of the Govenor’s Marine Science Teacher of the Year Award. Also, don’t miss the presentation of the awards to the 5th-grade winners of the Coast Day Essay Contest at 12:30 p.m. on the porch of Cannon Lab.
The Great Crab Race will be held outside Cannon Lab at 11 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m. Bring your favorite bait and test it against the scientists’ to see which one will be the favorite of Delaware’s most valuable crustacean, the blue crab. A feeding will take place after each race — a great way to learn about the crab’s appetite and feeding habits.
In “Water, Water, Everywhere,” located behind Cannon Lab, children can visit the portable laboratory van that is used on board UD’s 120-foot research vessel, Cape Henlopen. Guided hands-on demonstrations, led by Dr. Jonathan Sharp and his students, will show “budding” scientists how oceanographers sample and analyze water while at sea.
Several ongoing activities will be located in the mallway tent, which is supported in part by Motiva. Children can make a fish print suitable for framing, an activity sponsored by the College of Marine Studies Graduate Student Association. The Marine Education, Research, and Rehabilitation (MERR) Institute will have a whale and sea turtle exhibit and will also help children make marine crafts to take home.
Also located in the mall is the Coastal Tent, which will host a number of children’s activities and displays. Children will have the opportunity to participate in “Making Waves!,” a hands-on demonstration that highlights how sand moves along the coastline, and a fossil dig, where they can become a “geologist” for a day as they sift sand in search of a fossil from Delaware. The fossils will be identified by geologists from the Delaware Geological Survey.
She harbor will be the scene of many activities. Tour the 56-foot NOAA survey ship Bay Hydrogra-pher, the 166-foot Delriver oil skimmer, and Delaware’s tall ship, the Kalmar Nyckel. Adjacent to the marine critter touch tank, sponsored by Oceanport Industries, will be a “children’s activity table,” where kids can make oyster shell necklaces and see recently hatched horseshoe crabs.
At 2:30 p.m., the Coast Guard will demonstrate an air/sea rescue. In conjunction with a boat show sponsored by the Delaware Marine Trades Association, children who sign a safe boating pledge will receive a free life jacket. This giveaway will occur near the Seafood Pavilion, while supplies last, and is designed to encourage boating safety.
Admission to this educational and fun-filled event is free; parking is $2. For more information, contact the UD Marine Public Education Office at (302) 831-8083 or visit the Coast Day Web site at www.ocean.udel.edu/seagrant/CoastDay.