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Florida Caribbean Science Center's First Open House

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Dennis Krohn explains a display about helicopters, hurricanes, and ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) at the Florida Caribbean Science Center's open house.
The Florida Caribbean Science Center (FCSC) in Gainesville, FL, held its first open house on April 22 and 23. The event was tied in with Earth Day and was modeled after the open house held last fall at the St. Petersburg Center for Coastal and Regional Marine Studies (CCRMS).

The first day (8 a.m. to 1 p.m.) was geared toward 4th-grade students, more than 500 of whom attended from local elementary schools. The second day (3 p.m. to 7 p.m.) was open to the general public, and nearly 300 people attended.

Bonnie McGregor (Associate Director, USGS, Reston, VA) was present, along with Suzette Kimball (Eastern Regional Executive for Biology) and Dave Bornholdt (Eastern Regional Associate Executive for Biology). Lisa Robbins (Chief, CCRMS) and Carl Goodwin (District Chief, Water Resources, Tallahassee, FL) joined Russ Hall (Director, FCSC) to represent the major USGS research centers in Florida. Gayle Sisler and Michelle Barrett (both from the Eastern Region Office, Reston, VA) combined their visit to the open house with a tour of different offices.

Jane Eggleston and Kathy Beck demonstrate the ground-water-contamination model
Jane Eggleston (left, Water Resources, Tallahassee) and Kathy Beck (Florida Caribbean Science Center, Gainesville) demonstrate the ground-water-contamination model often used for open houses at the St. Petersburg Center for Coastal and Regional Marine Studies.
Thank you notes from 4th-graders at Shell Elementary School
Thank you notes from 4th-graders at Shell Elementary School. [larger version - 75KB jpeg]
Last year, Hannah Hamilton, the FCSC's public-affairs specialist, arranged for three highly popular exhibits to be brought to St. Petersburg. We were happy to respond in kind. Jim Flocks, Dennis Krohn, Russ Peterson, and Chris Reich (CCRMS) spent 3 days in Gainesville setting up and displaying exhibits on different coastal projects and themes. Dennis and Russ showed the effects of hurricanes on the coast and the different techniques used by USGS scientists to measure the changes. Chris' display on corals and viewing sediment through a microscope was a popular hands-on demonstration. A huge hit was Jim's operation of the vibracorer.

Ken Dodd, Jennifer Staiger, and Kristina Sorensen seated at the herpetology table.
Ken Dodd, Jennifer Staiger, and Kristina Sorensen (FCSC) seated at the herpetology table. On display are a variety of turtle shells and a toy alligator. The turtle shells are, from right to left, two box turtle (Terrapene carolina) carapaces, a yellow-bellied slider (Trachemys scripta scripta) shell, and a cooter (Pseudemys sp.) shell. The tanks contain, from right to left, greater siren (Siren lacertina, an eel-shaped tailed amphibian), gopher frog tadpoles (Rana capito), and leopard frog tadpoles (Rana sphenocephala).
In addition, eight staffers from the USGS Water Resources District Office in Tallahasee and Subdistrict office in Altamonte Springs/Orlando took part in the open house. They exhibited a ground-water model and presented displays on water quality, karst and sinkholes, and major programs, publications, and Web sites, including the SOFIA Web site, developed largely at CCRMS.

Several biologists located at CCRMS also had displays, among them sediment-elevation tables (SETs). They posed the questions: Who cares about dirt? Especially if it's dirt in a wetland?

Then they offered some answers: Wetlands support a great variety of wildlife. Wetlands also support plant life and cleanse the water that flows through them. The "dirt" or sediment in wetlands is key to providing habitat for the plants that in turn support the animals, so understanding the processes that affect the sediment is important. The biologists showed visitors how SETs help scientists measure the rate at which soil and sediment either build up or are lost from wetlands. This information is used by environmental managers concerned with wetlands conservation.

Related Sound Waves Stories
Open Houses Held in St. Petersburg Celebrate Earth Science Week
November 2001

Related Web Sites
Florida Caribbean Science Center (FCSC)
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Gainesville, FL
Center for Coastal and Regional Marine Studies (CCRMS)
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), St. Petersburg, FL
South Florida Information Access (SOFIA)
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Water Resources of Florida
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Tallahassee, FL

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in this issue: Fieldwork cover story:
Mapping Lake Mohave

Research Delmarva Coastal Bays

Glen Canyon Dam

Outreach Career Options for Jr. High School Girls

Coastal Hazards Lecture

Earth Day at Lowry Park Zoo

Practical Applications of GIS

Gulf of Maine GIS Workshop for Teachers

MarineQuest 2002

Florida Caribbean Science Center Open House

Meetings CMGP Knowledge Bank

Communicating Science in a Virtual World

Continental-Shelf Territory Rights

Awards Kvenvolden Honored

Staff & Center News Student Employees

New Woods Hole Chief Scientist

Two New Employees at WHFC

University of Minnesota Visitor

Publications Special Issue of Marine Geology on USGS Monterey Bay Research

Timely Publication for Gulf of Mexico Mercury Concerns

June Publications List

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