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Central Oregon Coast Fave: Hatfield's Marine Science Day Returns April 8

Published 03/15/23 at 6:13 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Central Oregon Coast Fave: Hatfield's Marine Science Day Returns April 8

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(Newport, Oregon) – One of the state's favorite events that showcases the deeper details of the ocean is ready to hit the Oregon coast again: the Hatfield Marine Science Center's Marine Science Day returns to the Newport facility with its annual science fair, open house and celebration on Saturday, April 8. (Photo Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

Running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Marine Science Day takes the everyday mechanics and numbers of the ocean and its lifeforms and turns them into a free event that is family-friendly with a large helping of fun. See the diverse marine research going on in this cutting-edge facility, which runs the gamut from whales, large volcanoes under the water and earthquake monitoring to sea stars and the lives of various fish.

Marine Science Day is back after going virtual for a couple of years. The Hatfield Marine Science Center – part of Oregon State University – was shut down for just about the entire pandemic.

This time around, the theme for the beloved Oregon coast event is “One Community: Above and Below.” Marine Science Day will include exhibits that boast dozens of Hatfield-based scientists. There are behind-the-scenes tours; hands-on, interactive activities and more. Plus, there's always that octopus in the lobby – a tradition that goes back decades and is remembered by generations of visitors to the Oregon coast.

The keynote speaker is Sarah Gravem, a marine ecologist who will talk about the kelp forests of the Oregon coast and how they and the rocky intertidal ecosystems are changing – a hot button issue right now in the science world of the Pacific Northwest. Gravem is a research associate with the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO) group at Oregon State. The talk will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. in the auditorium of the Gladys Valley Marine Studies Building.

Other scheduled activities include:

11 a.m.: Meet Ann Vileisis, author of “Abalone: The Remarkable History and Uncertain Future of California’s Iconic Shellfish.” Visitor Center Auditorium.
10:30 and 11 a.m.: Tour Hatfield’s seawater system. Limited to 15 people for each tour.
11 a.m.: Tour the Yaquina Estuary Trail. Limited to 20 people.
11 a.m. Tour the vertical tsunami evacuation system at the Gladys Valley Marine Studies Building. Limited to 20 people.

All tours are first-come, first-served; tickets are available at the tour desk in the Hatfield Visitor Center lobby.

There will be various OSU labs open for visiting, where you can check out the workings of some the most revered research in the U.S. The Marine Mammal Institute gets much attention on the Oregon coast, and you'll get to visit that and look in-depth into its world of whales and other creatures washing up. Other groups or labs open will be the Big Fish Lab, the Molluscan Broodstock Program, the Small Boats program, and the Scientific Diving program.

Exhibits from the expansive weather and ocean wildlife research from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will be on hand, as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Visitor Center will also be free and open to visitors all day. Hatfield Marine Science Center is at 2030 SE Marine Science Drive, Newport. MORE PHOTOS BELOW

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Aboard a NOAA research vessel knocked near the Hatfield

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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