NEWPORT - When spring comes, school field trips can't be far behind. The remodeled public wing at Oregon State University's Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport has all-new displays, teaching labs and learning programs for school groups of all ages.
New this year for younger students is Neptune's Kitchen. Children can learn about feeding strategies used by marine creatures, observe feeding behavior and help feed a balanced diet to some of the many animals kept in the public wing laboratories. Students also learn about nutrition problems HMSC scientists must solve to conduct research on the live sea creatures.
The Crab Lab introduces students to the many species of crabs and other arthropods found on the Oregon coast. One species, the green crab, has been introduced to the west coast from other parts of the world, and a few have been found in Oregon waters. Students can learn to identify this exotic crab by viewing live specimens, and learn about the problems such "invader" species cause for native marine life.
For high school students, a new Classification Lab will take them through the many groups of marine creatures. By direct observation they will be able to identify the common characteristics scientists use to place groups into the various phyla and families.
The Sounds in the Sea laboratory guides secondary students with actual data and techniques used by researchers at the science center to determine and locate distinct groups of blue whales. Recordings taken by researchers of blue whale songs are used in this lab.
These and many other labs and outdoor investigations are offered through the center's Sea School program. For more information about programs for students and summer day camp programs at the center contact Terri Nogler at OSU's Hatfield Marine Science Center Center, 541-867-0271.
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Vicki Osis, 541-867-0257