Photo by Kathy F. Atkinson
The University of Delaware College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE) offers free guided tours of its Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes to schools throughout the region. At this world-class research institution, middle and high school students can get a firsthand look at science and learn about potential careers in the field.
Tours typically begin with a 20-minute video that showcases some of the many ways CEOE researchers and students are exploring our planet. The video highlights projects involving such topics as wind energy, invasive species, the use of marsh plants for biodiesel fuel, and emissions from oceangoing ships.
Following the video presentation, knowledgeable guides take students on a walking tour of the facilities that house CEOE and Delaware Sea Grant College Program scientists. Students will find exhibits showing how researchers study extreme marine environments such as the frigid, ice-covered seas of the Antarctic and the super-heated hydrothermal vents found more than a mile below the sea surface. Students also will see how scientists are working to address local issues, such as the impacts of land development on Delaware water quality and wildlife.
CEOE’s multi-screen Google Earth display is often available to touring groups. The Global Visualization Lab shows how scientists are using satellites, surface monitors, and underwater robots to study the ocean environment. Students also will have an opportunity to view and learn about the university’s 2-megawatt wind turbine, which powers campus buildings and serves as a research base for wind energy development. Another stop on the tour is a tropical reef tank, which introduces students to one of the most bio-diverse communities on Earth. With the rapid deterioration of coral reefs worldwide, the tank provides a springboard for discussions about the causes of and solutions to this global crisis. Additionally, newly developed aquaria illustrate a variety of habitats and marine life in Delaware Bay. Tours also visit a large greenhouse where scientists are investigating salt marsh plants that can withstand rising sea levels and filter land-based pollution before it enters waterways.
“We are mindful of educators’ needs to align student field experiences with grade-appropriate science standards and are prepared to customize the tours accordingly,” said Rosalind Troupin, docent program director and a retired physician.
The free tours may be scheduled for classes of five or more people, Monday through Friday, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Requests should be made at least one week in advance by calling 302-645-4346, by e-mailing Michelle Scorziello at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by writing to the Delaware Sea Grant College Program, University of Delaware, CEOE, 700 Pilottown Road, Lewes, DE 19958-1298. The Hugh R. Sharp Campus is accessible to people with disabilities.