|Vol. 17, No. 4||Sept. 25, 1997|
The 21st annual Coast Day festival will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 5, at the Hugh R. Sharp Campus, 700 Pilottown Rd., in Lewes.
Sponsored by the Sea Grant College Program and the College of Marine Studies, the day is designed for fun and discovery, focusing on the ocean and the area's coastal resources.
This year, more than 100 activities are planned, ranging from lectures about the fish-killing microbe Pfiesteria to a walk through a coastal habitat, research demonstrations, hands-on science projects and tours of the 72-foot teaching ship Mimi.
Seafood demonstrations will be held and seafood will be for sale.
Limited round-trip bus transportation to Coast Day is available free of charge to University employees, students and their immediate family members. Buses will leave from the Robinson Hall parking lot at 9 a.m. and will arrive in Lewes at approximately 11 a.m. Departure from the Lewes campus is scheduled at 4 p.m. and will return to Newark by 6 p.m.
To make a reservation, contact marine communications at 831-8083 no later than Wednesday, Oct. 1.
Transportation arrangements are provided courtesy of the Office of Alumni and University Relations.
Lots of lectures
A presentation about the fish-killing microorganism Pfiesteria piscicida by leading expert JoAnn Burkholder will headline the lecture series at Coast Day, beginning at 2:30 p.m. in the Virden Center's Harbor Room. Burkholder, a botanist at North Carolina State University, identified Pfiesteria in 1988 and conducts research on the fish killer in her Raleigh laboratory.
Pfiesteria is a single-celled organism that has been found in nutrient-rich estuaries from Delaware's Indian River Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. It can release toxins to immobilize and feed on fish, often leaving round, bleeding sores on the fish's belly. Over the past several years, Pfiesteria has been implicated in several large fish kills in North Carolina; this past summer, it caused a major fish kill in the Pocomoke River in Maryland.
In addition to its effect on fish, researchers are studying Pfiesteria to determine what risk it poses to human health. Burkholder and some of her colleagues experienced memory loss, skin rashes, and other effects from working closely with high concentrations of the toxic organism in the lab. Similar health effects also have been reported by individuals who have been present in waters where a Pfiesteria fish kill was in progress.
Burkholder will share her latest research findings with the public during "The Facts about Pfiesteria." After her lecture, there will be a panel discussion on Pfiesteria's status in Delaware by resource managers from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the UD Sea Grant College Program. The audience will have ample opportunity to ask questions.
The Coast Day Lecture Series also will include "Enjoying the Bird Life Along Our Coast," with the former Delaware Gov. Russell W. Peterson at 11:30 a.m.; "Shorebirds of the Delaware Bay," with Maurice Barnhill, physics and astronomy, UD, at 12:30 p.m.; and "The Horseshoe Crab-Why Should You Care?" with William Hall, Sea Grant College Program, UD, at 1:30 p.m.
Kids and the coast are a natural combination. From critter petting tanks to crab races, and seafood to ship tours, numerous activities to interest children of all ages will be offered, and many will be repeated at least once throughout the day.
The Great Crab Races will be held at 11 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m. Be sure to bring some bait to lure a crab to the finish line-chicken necks, salted eels and good, old table scraps have been winning baits in the past. Or watch the blue crab feeding at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. No race, just a rundown on this crustacean's appetite and feeding habits.
Throughout the day, entertaining and educational videos will be aired in the Schooner Room of the Virden Center. Keepers of the Coast, a 31-minute video, will inspire you to take action against ocean pollution. An Animated Atlas of the World, a delightful 9-minute Walt Disney video that shows how nature shapes our environment, will be aired at 11:30 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. At noon, watch a half-hour video, Tell Me Why: Fish, Shellfish and Other Underwater Life. Catch Sea Fever, at 12:30 p.m. This 20-minute video, written and produced by Luc Cuyvers, a College of Marine Studies graduate, highlights the love and exploitation of the sea and calls us to take care of this precious resource. At 1 p.m., Visit the Alien Ocean for 30-minutes, highlighting the increasing threat posed by non-native marine species released into coastal water via the ballast of transoceanic tankers.
The Schooner Room will be transformed by a magic show at 2:30 and 3:30 p.m., when graduate students will give a dazzling display of glowing, exploding, disappearing and color-changing tricks designed to teach the audience about chemistry.
If your children balk at eating seafood, be sure to catch the culinary demonstration at 12:30 p.m. at the Virden Center. The event will feature new ways to eat seafood with wraps such as flour tortillas. A special visit from Chef Combo-a puppet-will be an additional treat for youngsters.
Have the kids try their hand at making a fabulous fish print on paper that they can take home. This activity will continue throughout the day.
Look for the tent between Smith and Cannon labs. While you're there, don't pass up a journey to the ocean bottom. Kids' help will be needed to construct a life-size model of a deep-sea hydrothermal vent from noon to 3 p.m.
Young computer jockeys are sure to enjoy navigating the worldwide web by visiting the home pages of the College of Marine Studies and the Sea Grant program as well as other marine-related sites. Computers will be set up all day in Cannon Laboratory. In the halophyte lab, kids can test their knowledge based on information from poster displays. By completing an answer sheet, or giving it their best try, kids can earn a marine animal bookmark. Budding geniuses can try to stump an oceanographer and the fish man with questions, in Cannon and Smith labs, respectively. And don't miss the hands-on exhibits of the Delaware Science Van project, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., or the Smithsonian Science Project from 2:30-5 p.m. in Cannon Lab.
Tours of several vessels, including the 72-foot sailing ship Mimi, which is now a teaching ship, will be held continuously in the harbor. Other vessels open for tours are a 47-foot Coast Guard motor life boat, the 82-foot oyster schooner A.J. Meerwald, and the 166-foot DELRIVER oil skimmer. Be sure to visit the Delaware Marine Trades Association Boat Show near the seafood pavilion. Children who sign a safe boating pledge will receive a free life jacket while supplies last.
For a complete Coast Day schedule, pick up a free program at the event. Admission is free; parking is $2. For more information, contact the University's Marine Communications Office at 831-8083. Or visit "What's New?" at www.udel.edu/cms on the web.
The University community is invited to a special seminar on Pfiesteria featuring JoAnn Burkholder, of North Carolina State University, at 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3. Her presentation in 203 Cannon Lab at the College of Marine Studies in Lewes will be transmitted by instructional television (ITV) to Studio A in Pearson Hall on the Newark campus. For more information, call 831-8185.
Illustration by David Barzak