Children will have a wonderful opportunity to learn more about Delaware’s Coastal Heritage through presentations and activities planned as part of the youth-friendly Coast Day, to be held rain or shine from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 1, at the University of Delaware’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes. Coast Day is sponsored by University of Delaware’s College of Marine and Earth Studies and the Delaware Sea Grant College Program.
Exhibits and demonstrations include the Amazing Invertebrate Showcase, blue crab feeding, the sounds of coastal fish, waves, shoreline mapping and robotic “fish.” Activities include a treasure hunt, oyster tonging and a live call-in to the University’s new Research Vessel Hugh R. Sharp, which will be on an expedition to the Gulf of Maine during Coast Day.
The Amazing Invertebrate Showcase, led by Douglas C. Miller, associate professor of oceanography, and students, will be held at 11 a.m. in room 125A of Cannon Laboratory, with subsequent presentations at 1 and 3 p.m. Children will learn how organisms such as snails, worms and crabs are being used to research marine-related issues.
At 11 a.m., the Great Crab Race will be held in the tent behind Cannon Laboratory by Charles E. Epifanio, professor of marine biology and biochemistry. Find out who has the best bait to lure the wily crustacean to the finish line. Additional races will be held at 1 and 3 p.m.
Epifanio and students in his research team will offer hands-on demonstrations on feeding blue crabs, providing information on how the crabs live and what they eat, at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. in Room 121 of Cannon Laboratory.
At 1 p.m., children can visit the education tent to meet Professor Green, a multimedia robotic educator that is part of the DuPont Co.’s Clear into the Future program. Professor Green will teach children how to protect the planet on which they live. The program will be repeated at 3 p.m.
Robotic fish, or autonomous underwater vehicles, high-technology devices that can probe the coastal waters by remote control, will be demonstrated at 1:15 p.m. at the harbor area by Arthur C. Trembanis, assistant professor of geological sciences. Kids will have an opportunity to take the helm of Delaware’s only robotic fish.
The R/V Hugh R. Sharp call-in will be held at 2 and 3 p.m. in Room 122 of the Marine Operations Building. Children can talk directly to the research crew while they conduct studies.
Continuous events include a treasure hunt, in which children pick up maps at Cannon Laboratory and answer questions about marine-related issues and receive a prize, and oyster tonging outside the Virden Center. Also, the Delaware Geological Survey will provide children an opportunity to create their own artwork using natural paints.
Cannon and Smith Laboratories, and exhibit tents between the two buildings, will house a number of displays in which children might have interest. At Cannon Lab, students of Nancy Targett, dean of the College of Marine and Earth Studies, will present a program on molting and allow children to paint their own horseshoe crab molt in Room 117.
Other UD College of Marine and Earth Studies and College of Engineering faculty and students with presentations also are scheduled:
• Stephen C. Dexter, professor, will direct a research demonstration and hands-on exhibit at the Corrosion Test Station in the hallway of Cannon Laboratory. Visitors can discover how marine corrosion occurs and become honorary members of Rust Busters Anonymous.
• David L. Kirchman, professor, and Thomas E. Hanson, assistant professor, will hold a children’s activity titled "It’s a Microbial World" on the porch of Smith Laboratory.
• Timothy E. Targett, professor, will lead "Fish Ecology: Sights and Sounds," featuring hands-on activities and a research demonstration in Smith Laboratory.
• Patrick M. Gaffney, professor, and Skye Schmidt, doctoral candidate, will offer a hands-on exhibit on horseshoe crabs in Room 122 of Smith Laboratory.
• Katharina Billups, associate professor, will present "Ocean History Through the Microscope," with hands-on opportunities, in Hallway A of the first floor of Cannon Laboratory.
• Jack Puleo, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, and students from the Center for Applied Coastal Research will present the hands-on exhibit "Waves and Beaches," featuring a wave tank display, in the Coastal Tent.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will offer a tent filled with activities. Children can check out a weather balloon, build a model of a shark, make a fish print and try their hand at marine mammal origami. They can even try on a “gumby” survival suit.
The Delaware Sea Grant College Program and the Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation (MERR) Institute will offer a touch tank and marine mammal exhibit. Additional activities will be offered by the Delaware Solid Waste Authority, the Diamond State Port Corp., Delaware State University and UD.
A number of businesses, industries and organizations are sponsoring special exhibits and events at Coast Day, including the Cape Gazette in Lewes; the Delaware River and Bay Authority, the Delaware River and Bay Lighthouse Foundation; Delmarva Power; DuPont-Clear Into the Future; Maritrans Operating Company in Philadelphia; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Washington, D.C.; Partnership for the Delaware Estuary and Delaware Bay Oyster Restoration Project; Sunoco, Inc., in Philadelphia; and the Water Resources Agency of the University of Delaware Institute for Public Administration.
Admission to Coast Day 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.