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Woods Hole Field Center Hosts Second Annual Open House in Celebration of Earth Science Week

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photo of sandy baldwin helping out a geofest participant
(Above) Future scientist: Sandy Baldwin helps a GeoFest participant make a paper nautiloid model.
photo of seth ackerman helping out kids
(Above) Seth Ackerman helps kids explore different seafloor-habitat types at the Habitat Mapping exhibit.
photo of john bratton assisting kids
(Above) John Bratton and kids delve deep into the glacier model.
In celebration of Earth Science Week, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)'s Woods Hole Field Center hosted its second annual open house, "GeoFest: Earth Adventures," for kindergarten through eighth-grade students on Saturday, October 26, in the hopes of getting students excited about Earth science. Students, parents, and teachers from the surrounding communities of Falmouth, Bourne, and Mashpee, MA, participated in the festivities. The Carriage House of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) was packed with hands-on exhibits staffed by USGS scientists:

  • Two sediment cores from a local cranberry bog and a freshwater marsh, each containing many different layers and relics, allowed kids to examine past depositional environments.
  • A coring activity enabled kids to collect their own sediment cores using short, pushup-style corers.
  • A scaled-down glacier, layered with rocks, sand, and clay, helped kids to understand the formation of Cape Cod.
  • An interactive display described the formation of Cape Cod and its associated features and noted conservation issues critical to the cape.
  • A gas-hydrate exhibit encouraged kids to explore sediment behavior in the natural environment through activities that included making gas-hydrate models, handling montmorillonite of different moisture contents, examining a particle-suspension/sedimentation model, and watching a video of gas-hydrate "ice cubes" burning.
  • A three-dimensional poster of a submarine canyon helped kids learn how 3D glasses work; they also had the opportunity to make their own three-dimensional drawings.
  • Fish habitats were created with different bottom-sediment types and vegetation, and kids were invited to stick their hands into a "mystery box" to discover what type of habitat lay within.
  • An exhibit of the different types of beach sand in Falmouth showed kids that the sand types look and feel different, and made them think about why.
  • Visitors were invited to inspect a collection of rocks and sand from around the world.

Two geology walks through the WHOI campus and along Trunk River Beach taught participants about the geology and formation of Cape Cod, as a nor'easter battered both the beach and the participants. In preparation for the beach walks, Bob Oldale gave interested USGS employees a vivid and detailed lesson about the glacial, deglacial, and present-day history of the area.

GeoFest participants included Seth Ackerman, Sandy Baldwin, Brian Buczkowski, John Bratton, Sarah Kelsey, Dirk Koopmans, Tammie Middleton, Dave Mason, Joanne Sedlock, Kate Visser, Bill Waite, Glynn Williams, and Bill Winters. The activities, bountiful information, ask-a-geologist service, and free raffle were enthusiastically received by all who attended, and everyone walked away from GeoFest excited about geology and science!

photo of Dirk Koopmans answering questions
Dirk Koopmans answers questions about the different layers of the wetland cores.
photo of Bill Waite encouraging kids
Bill Waite encourages kids to investigate the details of a gas-hydrate molecule.
photo of kids washing montmorillonite off their hands
Kids wash montmorillonite off their hands, thanks to the gas-hydrate group.

Related Web Sites
Woods Hole Field Center
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Woods Hole, MA
Earth Science Week
American Geological Institute

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USS Arizona

Adriatic Sea Sediment-Transport Cruise

Bear Lake Sea-Floor Mapping

Assateague Island Vegetation Mapping

Field-Testing New Portable Drilling System

Research Diamondback Terrapin

Outreach Transoceanic Dust Impacts

Woods Hole Field Center Open House

St. Petersburg Field Center Open House

Great American Teach-In

Fourth-Graders Tour St. Petersburg Field Center

Girl Scouts 90th Anniversary


Meetings Effects of Fishing Activities on Benthic Habitats

Planning Gas-Hydrates Research

Science and Politics in Ecosystem Decisions

Sea-Floor Mapping Techniques

Staff & Center News GHASTLI Lab Visitors

Science Museum Board

Two New Scientists

Louisiana Coastal-Restoration Advisory Board

Air Medical Transport Center Tour

MRIB Programmer

New Webmistress

Publications Dec./Jan. Publications List

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