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Interact with Delaware's coastal critter at mobile touch tanks
At in-person events as part of Coast Day 2021, Delaware Sea Grant will partner with the Glen Echo Park Aquarium to bring mobile touch tanks to the Bear and Route 9 libraries—allowing those in New Castle County the chance to see and interact with some of Delaware’s coastal critters. The in-person portion of Coast Day will take place at various locations across Delaware on Saturday, Oct. 2.

Coast Day 2021

Photo by Tammy Beeson

In-person events announced for Saturday, Oct. 2

For the first time ever, the annual Coast Day event is going to be spread across two days and offer some activities at locations around the state.

Limited in-person events will take place on Saturday, Oct. 2, with Delaware Sea Grant (DESG) staff facilitating a variety of experiences in all three counties, followed on Sunday by online science talks from faculty in the University of Delaware College of Earth, Ocean and Environment.

Chris Petrone, director of DESG’s Marine Advisory Service (MAS), said that he is excited to bring Coast Day, which is traditionally an event solely held in Lewes, to the entire state of Delaware.

“This is a chance to bring the coast literally all over the state, which is a lot of fun to think about,” said Petrone. “It’s an opportunity to engage people who may have never been to Coast Day before. For more than 40 years, we’ve had Coast Day in Lewes, and we don’t get a whole lot of attendees from New Castle or even Kent County. So the opportunity to bring Coast Day out to more people is something that we wanted to try this year and hopefully get them to come to regular, in-person Coast Day next October.”

MAS specialists will lead a kayak tour of the Broad Creek in Laurel, a tour of the Delaware State University Aquaculture Research and Demonstration Facility in Dover, and an emergency preparedness exhibit at the Boast the Coast Maritime Festival in Lewes. They will also partner with the Glen Echo Park Aquarium to bring mobile touch tanks to the Bear and Route 9 libraries—allowing those in New Castle County the chance to see and interact with some of Delaware’s coastal critters.

“We are going to bring a little bit of the coast to New Castle County,” said David Christopher, DESG marine education specialist. “People will get an up-close look and learn about some of the amazing animals that live in the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.”

In addition, Coast Day is partnering with the Delmarva Outdoors Expo in Harrington. All weekend long, you can meet MAS specialists, learn about marine debris, aquaculture and other topics, and pick up the Coast Day craft, a dogfish shark paper model.

Ed Hale and Kate Fleming will be the two MAS specialists at the Delmarva Outdoors Expo.

Hale said that he is hoping to educate those in attendance about oyster aquaculture in the Inland Bays.

“I am hoping to teach people about Inland Bays aquaculture that are on the other side of the state, since we know folks that visit Coast Day tend to be predominately from a nearby area relative to the Lewes campus,” said Hale. “For me, it is an opportunity to reach folks that aren’t typically represented in our normal programmatic offerings.”

Fleming said that she is eager to bring an exhibit related to derelict crab pots—crab pots that have been lost or abandoned—and said exhibiting at a local outdoor expo is a great opportunity to try to reach Delaware’s boaters and recreational crabbers.

“My outreach goals are to raise awareness that lost and abandoned crab pots are an issue in Delaware’s Inland Bays and to promote and recruit for our derelict crab pot removal event that we’ll be putting on again this winter,” said Fleming. “In addition, I want to highlight some ways that crabbers and boaters can try to minimize the potential to lose a pot—and ways to minimize impacts should the pot become lost.”

On Saturday night, Coast Day will host screenings in Lewes and Newark of The Meg, the 2018 blockbuster based on the book by Steve Alten, UD alumnus and Coast Day special guest. The Lewes screening will take place at the Lewes Library and the Newark screening will take place on The Green on UD’s campus. Alten will open the talks Sunday morning in conversation with Aaron Carlisle, an assistant professor in UD’s School of Marine Science and Policy who studies sharks and related animals. Other talks will address climate change, the deep sea, and underwater robotics.

For the screening of The Meg in Newark, participants must adhere to UD’s health protocols, which include wearing face masks, maintaining physical distance, completing a daily health screening and providing proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test for COVID-19 in the 72 hours before coming to campus.

Participants in all of the in-person portions of Coast Day 2021 are strongly encouraged to wear a mask, especially for the indoor events.

For more information and to sign up, register at the Coast Day 2021 website at www.decoastday.org. Coast Day 2021 is sponsored by the Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation.

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