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Grace Simpkins sits on floor with two children looking at whale poster Grace Simpkins talks about whales with some young visitors at the Woods Hole Endangered Species Day event May 20. Photo Credit: NOAA Fisheries/Shelley Dawicki, NEFSC
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students maneuver sand under special lights that show how the ocean floor changes Students maneuver sand to see how ocean floor topography changes at the Sandy Hook Open House May 21. Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries/Thomas Noji, NEFSC
boy with net by stream Brady Grange scoops alewives to move them to a fishway where they can reach the head of Blackman's Stream in Bradley, Maine to breed during an Endangered Species Day event May 20 co-sponsored by the Maine Field Station in Orono. Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries/Sarah Bailey

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May 26, 2017
Contact: Shelley Dawicki

Live Fish, Hands-on Exhibits and Endangered Marine Species Attract Public to NEFSC Outreach Events

Several thousand members of the general public had an opportunity to see live fish, participate in hands-on activities and learn about coastal ecology, fisheries in the Northeast, habitat restoration, endangered marine species and much more at three public events held May 20 and 21 at the NEFSC’s laboratories in New Jersey, Massachusetts and Maine.

Sandy Hook Lab Open House

The annual Open House at the James J. Howard Laboratory at Sandy Hook, New Jersey attracted more than 2,000 visitors on May 21. The event, held in conjunction with Ocean Fun Days, attracted many families with young children and adults interested in learning more about the lab’s research.

Exhibits and displays focused on deep-water habitats and bathymetry, the impacts of ocean acidification, fish migration and how scientists study fish behavior and metabolism to support sustainable fisheries. Scientists also spoke about environmental effects and climate change on fisheries and contaminant risks to young fish.

“Every year we have visitors tell us how much they enjoy coming and that they had no idea we conduct such varied research,” said Amanda Plantamura, coordinator of the planning committee for the Open House. “Many wish we had an Open House more often!”

Visitors enjoyed learning about local fish, crabs and other sea creatures in the touch tanks and other hands-on interactive displays. Staff from the Northeast Fisheries Observer Program and local port agents from the Great Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office (GARFO) were present to answer questions at their exhibits.

Monmouth University provided a remotely operated vehicle that maneuvered among the live striped bass in the lab’s 32,000-gallon aquarium. Students from the nearby Marine Academy of Science and Technology staffed the touch tank at the lab, and the NOAA Restoration Center provided an eel ladder. There was plenty to see and do.

Thousands of visitors to the former Fort Hancock on Sandy Hook also had the opportunity to learn about the work of other organizations located near the Howard Laboratory. Those groups also had exhibits, displays and activities set up as part of Ocean Fun Days, including the American Littoral Society, Rutgers University, Monmouth University, Clean Ocean Action, and New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium and Extension. Scientists from the Howard Lab collaborate with many of these and other local organizations on research projects and education programs.

The science of the shoreline, coastal environment and energy-related themed activities were also offered on Saturday, May 20, during Ocean Fun Day activities at Island Beach State Park in Seaside Park, New Jersey. Representatives from the Sandy Hook Laboratory, NEFSC Observer Program and GARFO Port Agents attended, as did many other organizations. That event also attracted several thousand visitors.

Ocean Fun Days is sponsored by New Jersey Natural Gas in partnership with New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, NOAA, New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection Division of Parks and Forestry, and the Asbury Park Press.

Learning about Whales, Turtles and Atlantic Salmon at Woods Hole Endangered Species Day

An estimated 200 visitors from 11 states learned about endangered whales, sea turtles and Atlantic salmon May 20 at Endangered Species Day at the Woods Hole Science Aquarium. The two-hour event offered hands-on activities, exhibits and the opportunity to talk with NEFSC researchers who study these animals in the laboratory and at sea. An arts and crafts table for young visitors was a popular spot to color, decorate paper turtle shells, and make a hanging jellyfish or Atlantic salmon wind sock.

Reconnecting Habitat for Sea-run Fish in Maine

NOAA Fisheries staff from the NEFSC’s Maine Field Station in Orono were on the banks of Blackman’s Stream May 20 to teach children about reconnecting habitat for sea-run fish such as endangered Atlantic salmon and the spring run of alewives that are abundant in the stream.

About 30 people turned out on a beautiful day to net alewives and move them over to the fishway to help them reach the head pond at the stream. The event was part of Endangered Species Day May 20 and Children’s Days May 24-26 at the Maine Forest and Logging Museum in Bradley, Maine.

Blackman’s Stream is a recent restoration site where a nature-like fishway was constructed to help pass alewives up stream to access the ponds where they breed.

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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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