Cambridge Science Festival Attracts Record Number
The University of Massachusetts School of Marine Sciences (SMS) participated in the 5th Annual Cambridge Science Festival the first week of May 2011. The festival was a week-long series of events and exhibits around Cambridge, MA, culminating in a Science Carnival at the Cambridge Public Library on May 7th.
SMS was one of dozens of other booths and exhibits geared towards making science accessible for people of all ages. Visitors to the SMS booth had a variety of activities to choose from. One station focused on the importance of fins, both in their function for fish and their usefulness to scientists in identifying different species. Children were given fish bodies cut from construction paper, and asked to pair them with their correct fins. They were also allowed to color and decorate their fish when completed.
Visitors of all ages were fascinated by the touch tank at the SMS booth.
Booth participants also had the opportunity to learn about the purpose of tagging fish, with the choice of tagging either a wooden fish or a frozen flounder. The different types of tags used were on display, including DST's, circle tags, and floy tags, and the strengths and uses of the various types were highlighted. The booth staff included SMS students studying fisheries oceanography, and they helped ensure that those tagging fish followed correct protocol, including measurement prior to tagging.
A tagging demonstration.
The most popular part of the exhibit was the touch tank, where visitors had the chance to view local Massachusetts' marine life species. The creatures on display included different mollusks and crustaceans, including crabs, lobster, and whelk. Urchins and starfish were also on hand, and visitors could also touch examples of cunner, a type of saltwater fish.
A young visitor sees a starfish for the first time.
Pouring rain and thunderstorms could not keep people away from this amazing event, and the Science Carnival broke all previous attendance records. Fiona Hogan, SMS student and booth staff, said she had "a great time. It was a lot of fun to share the world of marine science with all the participants." For students interested in learning more, visit the SMS Science Education page. To see pictures of the Science Carnival and other festival events, visit the festival's photo page.