Click image to launch slide showUp close and personal with a sand shark at the Milford Lab's touch tank. Photo Credit: NOAA Fisheries/Mark Dixon, NEFSC
Click image to enlargeA young visitor applies paint in preparation for making a fish print. The method is based on the Japanese art form Gyotaku, which originally was used by fishermen to record their catch. Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries/Mark Dixon, NEFSC
More than 600 Visit Milford Lab During Annual Open House
Hundreds of students and local citizens visited the Milford Laboratory on Friday and Saturday, October 14 and 15, during the Lab’s annual Open House. Their tour included 10 stations set up to help visitors learn about microalgal culture, probiotics and immunology to boost shellfish health, plankton and shellfish in the environment, shellfish aquaculture and breeding, and ocean acidification.
“We still hear comments from visitors like ‘I’ve lived here my whole life and never knew what you did’ and thanking us for the opportunity to visit our lab,” said Mark Dixon, the event coordinator. “The public support and staff dedication to outreach make this annual event a worthwhile venture.”
A touch tank and hatchery provided hands-on experience with some animals from Long Island Sound, and a habitat exhibit showed how plants and animals in the sound interact with their environment. Researchers at each station presented their work and answered questions.
Friday was set aside for students at regional middle and high schools and the University of New Haven. More than 300 students attended. Researchers at each station presented their work and engaged with students in question and answer sessions. A number of schools visit each year, but Dixon noted that there were several new schools in attendance this year.
On Saturday the lab opened its doors to the general public from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and hosted more than 300 more visitors. The layout of stations was the same as for the school groups, but visitors were free to tour the lab at their own pace. Popular stations, especially with young visitors, included the touch tank and fish printing. Other stations highlighted all aspects of shellfish aquaculture, habitat research, and ocean acidification projects.
Two new stations were added this year and were very well received. One brought attention to the issue of marine debris in coastal and ocean systems. The second was a display and presentation about the Fisheries Observer Program. These new stations illustrate the Milford Lab’s participation in the broader mission of NOAA Fisheries.
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