Marine Biologist Mark Warner teaching at Coast Day
"Catch the Wave” of excitement about the oceans and marine environment with your children at Coast Day on Sunday, October 3, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the University of Delaware’s College of Marine Studies campus in Lewes. Throughout the day, professors and graduate students will be conducting demonstrations, exhibits, and hands-on activities that showcase their research in ways designed to capture the interest of children of all ages.
A special exhibit in Room 104 in Cannon Lab will highlight the many ways in which the ocean touches our lives. Among the many displays in this room, children will be surprised to find out that some of their favorite foods, such as ice cream and peanut butter, contain extracts from seaweed. In addition, children will learn about the threats to the world’s oceans. Everybody, who visits this room, can get a tip card to bring home that shows what you can do to help protect our ocean.
In Greenhouse 161 in Smith Lab, children will be able to hear the sounds that local fish such as weakfish, croaker, and toadfish make. Scientists will be on hand to help identify the fish by sound and to explain how and why the sounds are made. A fish tank with tropical reef fish such as the colorful clownfish will be on display.
Numerous children’s activities and exhibits will be offered in the Education Tent between Smith and Cannon Lab. Shauneen Giudice, 2004 Governor’s Marine Science Teacher of the Year, will assist children in conducting several marine-related experiments and activities. Be sure to read the winning essays from the annual Coast Day Fifth-Grade Essay Contest, which will be on display in the tent.
Students from Cape Henlopen School District will present a project, completed by fourth-grade students from Shields Elementary School in Lewes, that examines the coastal changes of Cape Henlopen Point and Roosevelt Inlet in Delaware. The students will provide ongoing demonstrations of how GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Mapping is being utilized in their classroom. Students from Polytech High School will help children understand the physics of the ocean through various hands-on experiments.
Children also will have the opportunity to build a boat and learn how to tie nautical knots in an exhibit sponsored by the Zwaanendael Museum in Lewes. The museum was built in 1931 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the first European settlement in Delaware and features exhibits that highlight Sussex County’s maritime connections.
Children’s activities will be offered in many other tents as well. For example, in the Mallway Tent. graduate students from the college will assist children in making a fish print that can be taken home and framed. In the Coastal Tent, the Delaware Geological Survey will sponsor a fossil-related activity with educational giveaways.
In the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Tent, children can “play in the mud” while they learn how scientists interpret sediments in the coastal environment. An interactive computer game will help children understand how pollution affects the shoreline and waterways.
Always popular, the Great Crab Race will be held behind 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 and lab tour will take place after each race — a great way to learn about the crab’s appetite and feeding habits.
The harbor will be bustling with activity. Many ships will be available for tours including the 65-foot Fireboat No. 7 from the marine unit of the Wilmington Fire Department; Delaware’s 105-foot tall ship, Kalmar Nyckel; and First State, which DNREC uses for fisheries monitoring and pollution studies.
DELRIVER, the Delaware River and Bay Cooperative’s 166-foot oil skimmer that can recover oil at a rate of 800 gallons a minute, also will be available for tours. A security check will be required before boarding this vessel.
The marine critter touch tank, always a favorite with children, will be located in the harbor area as well as a “children’s activity table,” where kids can make shell necklaces. In addition, the SAFE KIDS Coalition and the UD Cooperative Extension will be conducting various interactive activities that will teach children about water safety.
If you are in the harbor area at 2:30 p.m., be sure to watch the Coast Guard conduct a daring air/sea rescue, followed by a kayaking demonstration. At the boat show, sponsored by the Delaware Marine Trades Association, free life jackets will be given to children who sign a safe boating pledge. This giveaway will occur near the Seafood Pavilion, while supplies last, and is designed to encourage boating safety.
Miss Delaware USA 2004, Courtney Purdy, and Miss Delaware Teen USA 2004, Brittany Cichocki will arrive at 2:00 p.m. Bring your cameras so your children can have their picture taken when they meet these two pageant winners.
How do children see all that Coast Day has to offer? Perhaps the best way is for children to stop by at the information table located at the front of Cannon Lab and pick up a Treasure Hunt map. The annual Treasure Hunt challenges children, ages 5 to 13, to find the answers to questions about marine science in the many displays and exhibits found throughout the campus. Treasure Hunt maps are free, and prizes will be awarded to children who successfully answer all the questions.
A number of businesses and industries are sponsoring special exhibits and events at Coast Day, including AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, Conectiv, Delaware Electric Cooperative Inc., and the Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River and Bay.
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.