Ship tours, succulent seafood, educational exhibitions, children’s activities and video premieres are highlights of the University of Delaware’s 30th annual Coast Day, to be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 1, rain or shine, at the Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes.
This year’s event, which encourages visitors to celebrate “Delaware’s Coastal Heritage,” is sponsored by the UD College of Marine and Earth Studies and the Delaware Sea Grant College Program.
“Coast Day is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Delaware’s ocean and coastal resources, and to showcase the University’s efforts in marine research and education,” Nancy Targett, dean of the College of Marine and Earth Studies and Delaware Sea Grant director, said.
Targett said Coast Day provides UD scientists a chance to share their research with hundreds of visitors and gives the public the opportunity to learn more about ocean and coastal resources and their importance locally and globally.
“This year is a particularly special occasion since we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of our designation as the Delaware Sea Grant College Program,” Targett said. “Over the years, Delaware Sea Grant has helped to address complex issues ranging from shoreline erosion to seafood safety, fisheries decline to the economics of beaches.”
A special ceremony marking the Delaware Sea Grant anniversary will be held at 11:30 a.m. in the bandstand area. Sea Grant, which is administered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is a nationwide network of 30 university-based programs that work with coastal communities to engage in scientific research, education, training, and extension projects designed to foster science-based decisions about the use and conservation of our aquatic resources.
Following that ceremony, Conrad Rice, an environmental science teacher at the Charter School of Wilmington, will be presented with an award honoring him as the 2006 Governor's Marine Science Teacher of the Year. In addition, 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.
In keeping with this year's "Celebrate Delaware’s Coastal Heritage" theme, the harbor will be filled with boats that visitors can tour. Those include Delaware's tall ship, Kalmar Nyckel, a replica of the ship that sailed from Sweden to the New World in 1638 to establish a colony in present-day Wilmington; First State, a research vessel used by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control for fisheries monitoring and pollution studies; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' 65-foot Shuman, a research vessel used to survey the seafloor; and 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 on hand will be a U.S. Coast Guard vessel.
In Room 104 of Cannon Laboratory, there will be heritage exhibits by the University of Delaware College of Marine and Earth Studies, Delaware Sea Grant, Lewes Historical Society, Zwaanendael Museum, Delaware Folklife Program, Lewes Maritime Archaeology Project, NOAA’s Nauticus Museum and the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays.
Two Coastal Heritage Lectures will be in the Schooner Room of the Virden Center. At 1 p.m., Dan Griffith of the Lewes Maritime Archaeological Project and Chuck Fithian of the Delaware Historic Preservation Office will discuss “Archaeology of an 18th Century British Commercial Vessel.” At 2:30 p.m., Bob Trapani, founder of the Delaware River and Bay Lighthouse Foundation and executive director of the American Lighthouse Foundation, will present the Lighthouse Lecture on “Delaware’s Guardians of the Coast.” Trapani is author of the books Lighthouses of New Jersey and Delaware and Lighthouses of Maryland and Virginia, and a book signing will follow the lecture.
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. Visitors 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 blue crab.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will have a tent featuring scientists and educators who will answer questions and help visitors discover the world of marine and atmospheric science.
Many scientists and guest lecturers will be giving presentations on topics ranging from shipwrecks to storms to lighthouses. There also will be a premiere of the Anew, Inc. video The ’62 Storm-A Shared Response, which looks at the great Ash Wednesday Northeaster that took lives, destroyed homes and damaged property throughout the mid-Atlantic in 1962.
The schedule also includes favorite activities from years past. Seafood lovers can watch the contestants compete in the 17th annual Crab Cake Cook-off in hopes of making "Delaware's Best Crab Cakes," vote for their favorite seafood chowder in the annual Seafood Chowder Challenge -- a friendly competition between two local chefs' associations, and attend a variety of seminars that will present innovative ways to prepare seafood. In addition, a variety of seafood and non-seafood items will be available for purchase.
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.