Learning about marine research is fun at Coast Day.
“Catch the Wave” to the 28th annual Coast Day celebration, and immerse yourself in the wonders of the ocean and the latest in marine research. Coast Day is sponsored by the University of Delaware Sea Grant College Program and Graduate College of Marine Studies. It will be held on Sunday, October 3, from 11 a.m. to 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. “Our scientists and graduate students have designed posters, laboratory tours, research demonstrations, and hands-on activities to showcase their work at the college.”
In a special ceremony, Shauneen Giudice, a seventh-grade teacher at Delmar Middle and Senior High School, will be presented with an award honoring her as the 2004 Governor’s Marine Science Teacher of the Year, and the winners of the annual fifth-grade student essay contest and their teachers will be announced. The essay contest is designed to create ocean awareness in students throughout the state.
The premier performance of the “Piping Plover Suite,” a four-minute symphonic work that was commissioned by Delaware Audubon Society to draw attention to the plight of this endangered shorebird, will follow this ceremony. It will be presented live by the Cape Henlopen Community Band under the direction of Barry Eli.
A special exhibit at Coast Day will illustrate the many ways in which the ocean touches our lives — from the air we breathe to the food we eat. Visitors will be able to watch marine scientists demonstrate how microscopic plants that live in the ocean generate much of the oxygen we breathe. Another demonstration will highlight the remarkable gelling action of seaweed extracts. These extracts are used in a variety of food products, from ice cream to peanut butter.
Another exhibit titled “Fish Ecology: Sights and Sounds” will introduce the public to fisheries research at the college. Visitors 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 as well as to explain how and why the sounds are made. A fish tank with tropical reef fish, including the colorful clownfish, will be on display.
Guided tours of the Native Coastal Plant Demonstration Garden, recently established on the college grounds by the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary and Delaware Sea Grant, will be available. The garden contains native plant species that can be used to restore coastal habitats.
Educators will find many valuable resources and ideas for introducing marine science to the classroom. Visit the Education Tent, where Shauneen Giudice, 2004 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.
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 marine 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 fifteenth 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 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. Be sure to check out the full program of events!