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St. Petersburg Hosts Second Annual Earth Science Week Open House

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Gene Shinn explains corals
Gene Shinn has the whole world in his hands while explaining about the growth of corals.
The second annual USGS Open House held at the SPFC to celebrate Earth Science week was a great successor to last year's groundbreaking event. The event followed the two-day format established last year of a public Open House the first day, October 10th from 3:30 to 7 p.m., followed by scheduled group tours for 4th graders from around Pinellas County on the second day. This year we estimate over 300 people came to the public evening event. In addition to advertisements in local newspapers, a special e-mail effort was undertaken to include home-schoolers.

Grade-school tours were scheduled in half-hour increments from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and were expected to last about an hour and a half for each group. Over 460 students came from seven different schools. Thanks to the fantastic organization by Lisa Robbins, Sandy Coffman, and a staff of enthusiastic tour guides, students were ushered around the exhibits seamlessly, avoiding some of the bottlenecks from last year.

Kim Yates explains the SHARQ
Kim Yates explains how being trapped by a SHARQ can help us understand coral growth.
The October weather cooperated, making it a nice cool day to be outside. Scientists had set up 24 informative exhibits and stations around the St. Pete Field Center to explain research conducted by the USGS.

New displays featured biology, welcoming our BRD biologists into the Coastal Center ranks, and our neighbors from the Florida Marine Research Institute also contributed again. Exhibits included native fishes, microbial dust, reef acoustics, coastal erosion, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanoes, measuring salinity, radioactivity, geology of the Florida Keys, corals, sand, wetlands, sand bars, sediment cores, marine vibra-coring, research vessels, seafloor mapping, groundwater pollutants, coral reef metabolism, science on the web, and making computer maps.

This year's format gave the scientists more opportunities to talk with and answer questions from the students and members of the community. As far as we know, no one stumped the "Ask-a-Geologist!"

Pete Swarzenski explains groundwater pollution
Pete Swarzenski captivates the young audience with his demonstration of groundwater pollution.
  Dale Griffin in the lab
Dale Griffin has the magic touch as he gets the students to clamor for more of that "Microbial Dust."

Goodie bags containing a variety of outreach materials were handed out to each student at the end of their tour. We again received many positive comments from the teachers and members of the community, as well as numerous thank-you notes with drawings by the students that reinforced to the scientists what a positive event this is for the children.

Abby Sallenger discusses hurricanes
Abby Sallenger halts students in their tracks as he warns about the dangers of hurricanes.
  Dennis Krohn and the volcano model
Dennis Krohn spouts off (again) about volcanoes. Dave Wegener created the realistic 4-ft. working model.

Thanks to all for two very prosperous days of celebrating Earth Science Week. An enormous amount of work went into making the effort as successful as it was. Everyone from the St. Pete office worked as a team and it really showed to the public.

Related Web Sites
Center for Coastal & Regional Marine Studies
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

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in this issue: Fieldwork Delmarva Coastal Bays—Hoverprobe

Outreach cover story:
St. Pete Open House

Cub Scouts

JC Students Visit St. Pete

Teachers Learn About Rocks

Chesapeake Bay—Dartmouth College

Meetings Seafloor Mapping

Leadership in Scientific Research

British Antarctic Survey

Awards FWS, USGS Honored for Restoring Refuge

Student Achievement Awards

ECO Photo Contest

ESRI 2000 Conference

Staff & Center News Expert Witnesses at Environmental Trial

Two Long-Time Geologists Retire

Publications November Publications List

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Updated December 02, 2016 @ 12:09 PM (THF)