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Annual event shows how to 'Make the Most of Our Coast'

Annual event shows how to 'Make the Most of Our Coast'

Not even a rainy, gusty day could keep crowds from celebrating the University of Delaware's 34th annual Coast Day. The event, sponsored by UD's College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE) and the Delaware Sea Grant College Program, was held Sunday, Oct. 3.

“This is our opportunity to share what we do with you in a way that brings everything together in a single day,” CEOE Dean and Delaware Sea Grant Director Nancy Targett told visitors at the event's opening ceremony.

The kickoff ceremony, like the rest of the day, was packed with activity. The Sierra Club presented CEOE with a check to support educational signs about UD's new 2-megawatt wind turbine at the Hugh R. Sharp Campus, the City of Lewes celebrated its involvement in the Sierra Club's Cool Cities initiative, and Targett honored the winners of the Coast Day video and essay contests for school kids.

The ceremony also recognized CEOE's 40th anniversary. Additionally, more than 150 alumni and friends attended a special Coast Day reception marking the occasion.

“Forty years of science -- basic science, applied science -- and outreach to the community,” said UD President Patrick Harker. “We at the university, and I think the whole state and the region, are extremely proud of this college.”

While Coast Day attendance was less than 2009's record-breaking 13,000 visitors, it was robust considering the day's weather.

Across the event, held at UD's Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes, visitors braved the rain to do things such as tour UD's Research Vessel Hugh R. Sharp, interact with marine critters at the touch tanks, and attend lectures on everything from wildlife photography to climate change.

Fitting with this year's theme “Making the Most of Our Coast,” guests also had several opportunities -- from lectures to interactive displays -- to learn all about the new wind turbine, which operated at maximum power in the day's strong winds and supplied all the energy for the event.

Throughout the day, hungry visitors stopped by the Chowder Challenge and Crab Cake Cook-Off competitions for a chance to taste contestants' creations. Seafood lovers attended cooking demonstrations that taught them delicious recipes for fish, shrimp, and sea scallops. They also had the opportunity to see two ice sculpture demonstrations of marine animal figures provided by the First State Chefs Association.

Over at the Halophyte Biotechnology Center, Gene and Debbie Daffern of Lewes, Del., learned about alternative uses for the salt-tolerant plant seashore mallow. Together with their son Jarrett and attending their first Coast Day, the couple had also seen the composting demonstration, learned all about horseshoe crabs, and much more.

They said they came to the event hoping to learn about the coast -- and that's what they'd done.

“There are some really interesting things going on here,” Debbie said. “We'll be looking for it next year.”

For more information about Coast Day, which will take place in 2011 on Sunday, Oct. 2, visit the website or call (302) 831-8083.

Article by Elizabeth Boyle