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Marine Science Day gives nod to Jamestown

A parade is a perennial favorite event of Marine Science Day. Courtesy of VIMS.

A parade is a perennial favorite event of Marine Science Day. Courtesy of VIMS.

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science will open its doors on Saturday, May 19th, from 10 a.m until 3 p.m. for VIMS’ 5th Annual Marine Science Day, rain or shine. This day allows the public to visit one of the nation’s leading research and education facilities with a focus on estuaries and the coastal ocean. In honor of America’s 400th anniversary, there will be exhibits featuring research on centuries-old oyster shells and sturgeon.  John Smith will also join us to read letters from the past.  In addition, scientists will host exhibits and laboratory tours, and be on hand to speak with visitors of all ages about current projects in Chesapeake Bay and around the world.

Opportunities for hands-on, memorable learning experiences are plentiful for children attending this event.  Driving an unmanned underwater robot, collecting and observing aquatic animals from the York River, a Jr. Seafood Chef activity, “treasure hunting” with GPS units, and creating sea life prints and educational sturgeon crafts are all available for children of various ages.

 Art will take center stage at 11 a.m. when local groups and individuals march in the Paper Parade of Marine Life wearing costumes they’ve created from paper.  At 12:45 p.m. the Northern Neck Chantey Singers will bring to life traditional worksongs once sang by all-black fishing crews. Those with an interest in the culinary arts are invited to a cownose ray presentation that will include a cooking demonstration and tasting.

 Visitors may also choose to tour VIMS’ Teaching Marsh, a one-acre restored wetland that creates a wonderful setting for leaning the ecological importance of tidal and non-tidal marshes. A tour of the shellfish hatchery will introduce attendees to breeding and genetics research and the processes used in growing oysters.

 In one day, visitors can learn about sharks; water quality; real-time buoy data; critters that live in the mud, on oyster reefs, and seagrass; and critters that can’t be seen at all with the human eye. Information on the status of blue crabs, oysters, and diseases in striped bass will be available, along with information on the Bay’s food web, and juvenile fish survey. Visitors can speak with researchers just back from Antarctica or from a local tributary.

 There is no charge for admission or parking. VIMS Marine Science Day 2007 is sponsored by Chesapeake Bank, Dominion, The Owens Foundation, Wanchese Fish Company, John and Julie Dayton, Eastern Virginia Bankshares, Hogg Funeral Home, Ken Houtz Chevrolet-Buick, Tidewater Newspapers, and the York Chapter Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

 For additional information, visit or call 804-684-7846.

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