“Anchors Aweigh for an Ocean of Fun” is this year’s theme for the University of Delaware Sea Grant College Program and Graduate College of Marine Studies’ annual Coast Day celebration. Coast Day will be held Sunday, October 5, from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m., at UD’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes.
“Coast Day gives us a wonderful opportunity to educate thousands of people about the importance of the marine and coastal environment,” says Dr. Carolyn Thoroughgood, dean of the college and Sea Grant director. “This year, state and federal dignitaries will join us in celebrating the importance of estuaries to the nation and to Delaware. We also will be hosting a special exhibit on the Delaware River’s vital role in global commerce.”
Estuaries are found in coastal areas around the world, where salt water from the ocean mixes with fresh water from upland rivers. This mixture of salt and fresh water creates a unique ecosystem that supports a diversity of plant and animal life — one of the most productive habitats on Earth.
Following the estuary celebration, Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner will present Janice Trainer, a third-grade teacher at Etta J. Wilson Elementary School in Newark, with an award honoring her as the 2003 Governor’s Marine Science Teacher of the Year. In addition, awards will be presented to the winners of the annual fifth-grade student essay contest and their teachers. The essay contest, with “A Day in the Life of a Delaware River Pilot” as this year’s theme, is designed to create ocean awareness in students throughout the state.
A highlight of the day will be a special exhibit focusing on marine transportation. Visitors will learn how our lives and livelihood depend on this industry through hands-on activities, displays, and exhibits by organizations such as the Delaware River & Bay Authority, Maritrans Inc., Port of Wilmington, Seaman’s Center of Wilmington, and U.S. Maritime Administration.
UD marine policy faculty and students will be available to answer questions about their research on port security and environmental issues relating to shipping. In conjunction with this exhibit are two lecture series — Marine Transportation and Our Maritime Heritage: Old Salts and New Science — sponsored by Maritrans Operating Company L.P. and DuPont, respectively.
Another exhibit will highlight UD’s upcoming deep-sea expedition — Extreme 2003: To the Depths of Discovery. During Extreme 2003, from November 29 to December 21, UD marine scientists will use Alvin, the famous submersible that was used to investigate 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 how they can travel along with the scientists through an interactive Web site and about an educational project involving schoolchildren worldwide.
A recent research expedition led by UD marine scientists to the Black Sea, a 700-mile-long sea bordered by six countries, is the focus of another exhibit. Learn why scientists from all over the world are studying the chemistry and biology of this major inland sea, which connects Europe to Asia.
UD scientists and graduate students will have the opportunity to showcase their research on a large variety of marine topics through posters, laboratory tours, research demonstrations, and hands-on activities. There will be exhibits on remote sensing, marine transportation, global observing systems, fisheries, jellyfish, other unusual organisms from the sea, and much more.
Educators will find many valuable resources and ideas for introducing marine science to the classroom. Visit the Education Tent, where Janice Trainer, 2003 Governor’s Marine Science Teacher of the Year, and Rob Adams and his students from Polytech High School in Woodside will lead fun, hands-on activities that will teach participants about the ocean and estuaries.
Many activities are specially designed to capture the interest of children. They can participate in the Coast Day Treasure Hunt, which “guides” them through the events of the day as they search for the answers to questions about marine science in the many displays and exhibits. Fish printing, designing a shell necklace to wear, and creating a book to take home are just some of the many marine-related crafts that kids will enjoy. And everybody will have fun testing their crab bait against that of the UD scientists in the ever-popular “Great Crab Race,” an activity that educates visitors about the region’s most treasured crustacean — the blue crab.
The schedule also includes favorite activities from years past. This year marks the fourteenth year that contestants in the crab cake cook-off will use their “special” recipe in hopes of making “Delaware’s Best Crab Cakes.” Seafood-chowder lovers will get the chance to vote for their favorite in the annual Seafood Chowder Challenge — a friendly competition between two local chefs’ associations. A variety of seafood culinary presentations will be given, with recipes that feature clams and local fish.
Special thanks go to A Lasting Impression, Bank of Delmarva, Delaware Electric Cooperative, Delaware Solid Waste Authority, DuPont, Maritrans Operating Company L.P., and SPI Pharma who have provided additional support for Coast Day.
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/CoastDay. Be sure to check out the full program of events!