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Marine Science Day in St. Petersburg Sparks Children's Interest

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James Kostka of The Canterbury School of Florida organized Marine Science Day on March 1 for the school's youngsters from kindergarten through second grade and invited the USGS to participate in the day's activities. About 120 children in groups of 10 to 12 visited various science displays set up in the school's courtyard in St. Petersburg, FL.

Georgia De Stoppelaire and Noreen Buster (USGS, St. Petersburg) took part in the outreach event. They presented Georgia's research project, which uses NASA lidar (light detection and ranging) surveys to study the effects of nonnative horse grazing on American beachgrass and the resulting impact on coastal geomorphology at Assateague Island, USA.

Noreen Buster and Georgia De Stoppelaire educate young students
Noreen Buster (left) and Georgia De Stoppelaire (right) educate young students about coastal processes, NASA lidar technology, and the effects of horse grazing on Assateague Island.
Georgia De Stoppelaire demonstrates NASA lidar technology
Georgia De Stoppelaire demonstrates NASA lidar technology and how it is used to detect horse-grazing effects on coastal geomorphology at Assateague Island.

Assateague Island is a barrier island approximately 57 km long. The south third of the island is in Virginia, and the north two-thirds in Maryland. Wild horses roam the island in two main herds, one on the Virginia side and one on the Maryland side. Once a year, the horses are rounded up, and most of the foals are auctioned off to control the size of each herd and lessen their impact on island ecology.

Georgia and Noreen's presentation included posters and a miniature barrier-island display with fenced experimental plots, toy horses, sand, and turfgrass. Georgia used a toy helicopter and laser pointer to help the youngsters understand the concept of lidar surveying, which uses laser light shot from an aircraft to make detailed measurements of topography. The children were intrigued, and the presentation sparked interest and many questions. To end the presentation, Noreen and Georgia gave a coloring book to each child, compliments of the Southwest Florida Water Management District. As the afternoon's naptime approached, we don't know who was more exhausted—the children or Noreen and Georgia! All in all, the big event was quite a success for the little ones.

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in this issue: Fieldwork cover story:
Gas-Hydrate Research Wells Completed

Moloka'i Coral Reef Sediment

Research Role of Parasites in Ecosystems

Outreach Public Art Project

Prairie Restoration

Marine Science Day

Marine Environmental Careers Symposium

Students Visit Woods Hole

Congressional Briefing on Wetlands

Woods Hole Science Fairs

Talks—DOE and College of William and Mary

Meetings Netherlands Sediment-Transport Collaboration

Sediment-Transport Modeling

Tampa Bay Estuary Tour

Awards Monterey Bay Research Award

Staff & Center News Japanese Land-Management Team Visits St. Pete

Western Region Retirements

Woods Hole Visitor

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