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Hatfield Marine Science Center's Marine Science Day Returns to Newport, Oregon Coast

Published 3/27/24 at 5:35 a.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

(Newport, Oregon) – A much-loved annual event returns again to the central coast, as Oregon State University's Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport brings back its science fair and open house on Saturday, April 13 with Marine Science Day.

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It goes from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the center, found in South Beach over the Yaquina Bay Bridge.

Of course, there's always that famous octopus in the front lobby to gawk at as well.

“More than three dozen hands-on exhibits will feature Hatfield-based scientists who work with state and federal programs,” the center said. “These exhibits showcase research on marine birds and mammals, aquaculture, ocean noise and fisheries.”

Noise? That's right: things off the Oregon coast make intriguing noises.

You and the kiddies can learn about ocean engineering, touch crabs and sea stars, look at plankton under microscopes, explore the Hatfield Visitor Center and climb aboard the R/V Kalipi, a 29’ aluminum vessel used in nearshore research.

This year's keynote speakers are K.C Bierlich and Clara Bird from the Marine Mammal Institute's Geospatial Ecology of Marine Megafauna (GEMM) Lab. In their work, they're using drones to study whales, specifically the health and morphology of baleen whales. It's a non-invasive means of checking out the great cetaceans, and a form of study that often yields incredible videos even from just an aesthetic viewpoint.

“Both speakers have extensive experience using drone technology to study Antarctic minke whales, humpback whales, and Adelie penguins,” the Center said.

This talk will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Carem Ford Phillips Auditorium in the Gladys Valley Marine Studies Building.

Last year, there was overwhelming interest in the behind-the-scenes tours, resulting in expanded tours this time around.

The tour schedule includes:

10:30 and 11:30 a.m.: Hatfield's Seawater System Tours. Limit 15 people per tour, 45 minutes.
11 a.m.: Yaquina Estuary Trail Tour. Two groups simultaneously touring. Limit 20 people per group, 1 hour.
10:30 & 11:45 a.m. Vertical Tsunami Evacuation Tours. Limit 20 people per tour, 45 minutes.
11 a.m.: Aquaculture Tour, 20 people per tour, 1 hour.

All tours are free, and tickets are given on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets are available in the courtyard area in the Welcome Tent.

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

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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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