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woman points to drone poster at display as man and woman look on Jennifer Johnson talks about the use of unmanned aerial systems, or drones, in marine research at the NEFSC. Photo Credit: Thomas Kleindinst for NOAA Fisheries/NEFSC
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man explains instrument at cooperative research exhibit Calvin Alexander explains the temperature and depth loggers put on partnering commercial vessel's fishing gear at the Cooperative Research Program exhibit. Photo Credit: Thomas Kleindinst for NOAA Fisheries/NEFSC
Coast Guard vessel gave tours at the NOAA dock A U.S. Coast Guard 45-foot response vessel drew a crowd at the NOAA Fisheries dock, where several Coast Guard displays focused on pollution recovery, search and rescue, and boating safety. Photo credit: Thomas Kleindinst for NOAA Fisheries/NEFSC

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August 18, 2017
Contact: Shelley Dawicki

Local residents, summer visitors attend Woods Hole Science Stroll

On an overcast and misty August 12, nearly 2,000 turned out for the third Woods Hole Science Stroll, a free, family-oriented opportunity to learn about the research and educational programs conducted by 18 participating science organizations in the village.

“I had no idea NOAA Fisheries did all that” and “It was terrific!” were familiar comments heard during the day as visitors to the NOAA Fisheries Woods Hole Laboratory spoke with scientists about how scientists age fish, seals, marine turtles and Atlantic salmon, and the use of mini-sailboats and surface drifters equipped with sensors to track ocean currents.

Researchers displayed a variety of fish species and spoke about fish biology, showed plankton specimens under a microscope, and explained how environmental data is collected at sea. Other staff talked about sharks and shark tagging programs, sea scallop surveys, how drones are used in marine research, cooperative research programs with the fishing industry, the roles of port agents and observers, and career opportunities in the NOAA Corps.

Many of the exhibits included hands-on activities and demonstrations. Several had microscopes set-up to look at fish earbones and plankton. Shells from marine turtle species and shark jaws were popular, as was the shark Photo Op stand. Equipment used in research was also on display, from colorful ocean surface drifters made and decorated by students to Niskin bottles used to collect water samples at various depths in the ocean.

NEFSC had 18 research displays under three large tents set up on the Woods Hole Laboratory parking lot, plus exhibits at the Woods Hole Science Aquarium and at an adjacent parking lot, where the “All About Whales” exhibit featuring a life-size inflatable humpback whale named Salt kept visitors entertained well after the 3:00 p.m. stroll closing time. Greeters at the welcome tent were kept busy providing information and answering questions; 1,734 visitors were recorded at NOAA’s Woods Hole Science Aquarium.

Other NOAA organizations, including the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, National Weather Service’s Boston/Taunton Office and the National Satellite Service also had exhibits at the Woods Hole Lab site. The US Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England, Air Station Cape Cod and Station Woods Hole brought several displays to the NOAA dock as well; visitors toured a 45-foot response vessel, and learned about damage control and other Coast Guard operations.

The opportunity to tour the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's 275-foot research vessel Atlantis was also popular. The human-occupied submersible Alvin was also aboard. The ship was at the institution's dock and 986 people visited the ship during the five-hour event. Nearly 1,900 visited nearby exhibits related to underwater research and exploration at WHOI and strolled down the street to view other exhibits along Water Street and the waterdfront.

Organizations participating in the 2017 Woods Hole Science Stroll were the Marine Biological Laboratory; NOAA Fisheries; NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations; NOAA National Weather Service and National Center for Environmental Information Regional Climate Services; Sea Education Association; United States Geological Survey; Woods Hole Research Center; Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; Buzzards Bay Coalition; Woods Hole Historical Museum; U.S. Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England, Air Station Cape Cod, and Station Woods Hole; Zephyr Education Foundation; Woods Hole Film Festival; 500 Women Scientists; Falmouth STEM Boosters; Falmouth Water Stewards; Woods Hole Science and Technology Education Partnership; and WCAI (the Cape, Coast and Islands NPR Station).

Poor visibility prevented the US Coast Guard from demonstrating a helicopter rescue with a swimmer in Great Harbor, but everyone had plenty to see and do at their displays on the NOAA dock. "We were able to effectively showcase a little bit of science behind what the Coast Guard does, demonstrating our efforts in pollution recovery, search and rescue, and boating safety," said Ensign Nathan Mendes. "We all had a great time participating."

Falmouth STEM Boosters also had a successful stroll. "We gave away 450 solar eclipse glasses along with information on safe eclipse viewing," said president Deborah Coulombe. A solar eclipse will occur on August 21.

Feedback from other village organizations participating in the event was also very positive despite the soggy start to the day. All reported plenty of foot traffic at their booths on Waterfront Park and at other village locations.

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The Northeast Fisheries Science Center conducts ecosystem-based science supporting stewardship of living marine resources under changing climatic conditions. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

NOAA Fisheries Service is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation's living marine resources and their habitat through scientific research, management and enforcement. NOAA Fisheries Service provides effective stewardship of these resources for the benefit of the nation, supporting coastal communities that depend upon them, and helping to provide safe and healthy seafood to consumers and recreational opportunities for the American public. Join NOAA Fisheries on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels.

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