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Virginia Institute of Marine Science’s Open House Is This Weekend in Gloucester Point
Submitted by Susan Maples

VIMSOpen imageMarine Science Day, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science’s annual open house, will take place on Saturday, May 19th, 10amAM-3pm on the VIMS waterfront campus in Gloucester Point (just north of the Coleman Bridge). This event is offered free of charge and proceeds rain or shine.

It's not just for kids! Sure, children of all ages will have a great time at the event, but there's plenty geared to adults. Learn about microplastics in the environment; biodegradable plastics for hunting and fishing; and protecting the shorelines we all love. With mini-lectures and marsh tours, and crafts in the Kids’ Pavillion, everyone from 2 to 102 will have a fun learning about this year's theme— Healthy Waters. This fun and educational day gives the public an inside view of how VIMS’ research in Chesapeake Bay and around the world helps protect and restore marine ecosystems. The Healthy Waters theme will be highlighted in special exhibits showing the latest technology for early warning of harmful algae blooms, research on microplastics, and using biosensors to detect oil spills and other pollutants. Activities offered in the Kids’ Pavilion, 10- minute "fast talks” held throughout the day, and the Wacky Science Photo Book will also follow this theme.

Popular tours offered again this year include the Oyster Hatchery to see how oysters are bred for aquaculture; the Seagrass Greenhouse for an up close look at seagrasses and the animals they harbor; and the Teaching Marsh to learn about wetlands and waterfront gardens. A tour of a laboratory that monitors fish populations will explain how scientists learn about fish diets and determine age. Stations and tours hosted by VIMS’ Field Operations will include modified vessels, diving equipment, and custom-built field technologies Tours of the Nunnally Ichthyology Collection are also a hit, as participants will see preserved fish from the mountain streams of Virginia to the deep sea floor.

Exhibits showcasing research on jellyfish, crabs, eels, tiny critters that live in the mud, and more, will give visitors a chance to speak with scientists about their work. The young and young-at-heart will learn about estuaries while collecting and observing animals from the York River (weather permitting), and may plan to join in the Marine Life Costume Contest to compete for ribbons and the grand prize – a $50 coupon to VIMS’ Gift Shop – by wearing an original costume of a marine animal or plant. Groups are also welcome to enter.

An awards ceremony will recognize the Marine Science Day Art Contest winners for 2018, as well as the Marine Life Costume Contest winners. Those with a greater interest in the culinary arts will enjoy the seafood cooking demonstration offered at noon.

There is no fee for admission or parking, however registration is required, and is available online now. Guest registering in advance can use the "Fast Lanes” for a quick check-in upon arrival. No chance to register in advance? No problem, you can register when you arrive.  For more information, visit www.vims.edu/msd  or call 804-684-7061.

VIMS, one of the leading marine centers in the U.S., provides research, education, and advisory service to help protect and restore Chesapeake Bay and coastal waters. The Institute offers Master’s and Ph.D. degrees through its School of Marine Science, part of the College of William & Mary.

 





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