NEWPORT - Coastal visitors are invited to dive into an ocean of discovery this summer when Oregon State University's Hatfield Marine Science Center hosts H.M.S. SeaFest 2003, a free daylong event of fun and educational activities for the family set for Saturday, June 21, in Newport.

The event will give the public an opportunity to look behind the scenes of one of the state's leading research and educational facilities. The OSU marine science center occupies more than 200,000 square feet on 49 acres, with an adjacent 250 acres of estuary habitat. Only about 10 percent of the facility - the Visitor Center - is typically open to the public.

It's a popular, free stop for visitors to the coast. But the displays only whet the appetite for a closer look at what goes on in the rest of the facility, where 11 federal, state and other agencies share office and lab space with five OSU programs.

Researchers at the facility study the marine world in all its depth and diversity. Fisheries, undersea volcanoes, marine mammals and the delicate interplay between ocean currents and weather are just a few of the many subjects studied here.

To satisfy that curiosity, the center staff offers H.M.S. SeaFest. The event is part open house, part festival, with plenty to interest visitors of all ages. The free event begins at 10 a.m. This year's activities will include:

  • Tours of the center's labs, the surrounding estuary, a skimmer that responds to oil spills, and the system that circulates thousands of gallons of seawater throughout the facility;
  • Lectures by leading scientists: The keynote address this year will be delivered by Jane Lubchenco, one of Oregon's most prominent scientist and an expert in marine ecology;
  • Children's activities, including crab races, art and coloring, and games;
  • Seafood demonstrations, and displays by recreational fishing and boating groups, local geologists and other community groups and agencies, and an art display;
  • A demonstration of a hovercraft, presented by the Environmental Protection Agency.

More information about H.M.S. SeaFest is available online at For accommodations related to disabilities, contact Terri Nogler at 541-867-0271 or send e-mail to The OSU center can be reached by taking the first exit south of the Yaquina Bay bridge.


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Pam Rogers, 541-867-0212