Coast Day 2015 scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 4
The Robotic Discovery Laboratory and TEACH FLEET model ships will be two of many exciting and educational exhibits at the 39th annual Coast Day, held on Sunday, Oct. 4, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the University of Delaware’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes.
Each year, thousands of attendees from Delaware communities and out of state alike flock to Coast Day, the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE) and Delaware Sea Grant’s premier celebration of the sea.
This year’s theme, “Discoveries on land, in the air and at sea,” highlights the many varied ways scientists explore coastal environments and encourages Delawareans to make discoveries of their own.
“People of all ages can be explorers every day,” said Joe Farrell, event chair and Marine Advisory Service specialist with Delaware Sea Grant. “Our students and faculty members are conducting research using advanced robotics and environmental monitoring systems. At Coast Day, exhibits and demonstrations show how this high-tech research can give people a stronger understanding of the everyday discoveries they can make hiking, walking on the beach or just enjoying Delaware’s coastal environments.”
Fun for all ages
A feature of this year’s event is a special exhibit in UD’s Robotic Discovery Laboratory (RDL). The RDL is home to advanced robotic technologies such as autonomous underwater gliders and aerial vehicles used for cutting edge environmental research. RDL scientists study Arctic environments, map shark habitats and discover lost World War II planes in the Pacific Ocean, among other research studies.
Back by popular demand, TEACH FLEET (Technology’s Effects and Contributions Highlighted for Learning Ecological Environmental Topics) returns to Coast Day this year. Created by former ship designer Wilbert McKinley, TEACH FLEET presents a diverse collection of LEGO model ships that range in size from small tug boats to oil tankers that can be six feet in length.
McKinley designed and assembled the ships, including model research vessels, to educate and engage students interested in pursuing a future in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
“We are very excited to welcome Commodore McKinley and his fleet back to Coast Day,” said Chris Petrone, Delaware Sea Grant marine education specialist. “Attendees of all ages learned about the vessels that researchers use to explore our ocean when TEACH FLEET was part of Coast Day 2013, and we’re happy to give visitors that opportunity again this year.”
Commodore McKinley will present a model of UD’s state-of-the-art research vessel, the R/V Hugh R. Sharp—the model will remain on campus for further display during and after Coast Day. The addition of the Sharp model and the return of the exhibit are made possible by a generous sponsorship from the Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation (DEMEC).
Another perennial crowd favorite is the touch tank exhibit, where kids and families can get up close to sea creatures like horseshoe crabs and fish. UD students and volunteers will be on hand to provide information about the critters that call the coast home.
Participants can wander through tents featuring educational exhibits, tour research vessels, sample the region’s best seafood and develop a deeper appreciation for the sea. Adults will enjoy presentations by CEOE faculty conducting research on a variety of environmentally relevant topics, as well as informational displays by local partners.
Coast Day also offers a series of contests for community members to strut their culinary and artistic sea‑smarts, including a photo contest, a trivia contest, an oyster shucking contest and the famous Crab Cake Cook-Off.
Eight contestants will prepare their coveted crab cake recipes for a panel of judges in this Coast Day tradition. Recipes are being accepted now through Aug. 7 from those interested in vying for the title of Delaware’s Best Crab Cakes. To enter, visit the contests page.
Admission and parking are free. For the safety of our visitors, please leave your pets at home.
For more information, visit the Coast Day website.
Article by Caren Fitzgerald
Published on UDaily July 2, 2015