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Ocean Day makes a splash at UNH

By Adam Cook

Staff Writer

White tents lined the walkway around the Chase Ocean Engineering Laboratory as students and locals looked at all of the exhibits of UNH’s Ocean Discovery Day.

On Oct. 17, UNH held its annual Ocean Discovery Day at the Chase Ocean Engineering Laboratory. The lab teamed up with various other organizations such as the Seacoast Science Center and the Blue Ocean Society to educate students and local residents about the oceanography program at the school, as well as opportunities within the field.

“I’ve learned a lot today, I feel very smart,” said Sam Pollari, a student volunteer teaching people about the ocean and fresh water.

Outside of the Chase Ocean Engineering Laboratory there were many tents lined with different activities for people to engage in. Some of these tents included a touch tank with various sea creatures inside, a craft booth where kids could paint fish and print them on a piece of paper, a squid dissection booth and a seaweed smoothie station, among many others.

The Blue Ocean Society had their own booth to give onlookers an insight to their organization. The nonprofit group from Portsmouth is on a mission to protect marine life. The Blue Ocean Society’s display incorporated different whale artifacts including a big blow-up whale in which guests could climb inside and see a replica of a whale’s anatomy.

“We try to find the best ways to protect marine life,” said Kayla MacDonald, a naturalist and educator for Blue Ocean Society. “We do beach clean-ups too, those are really important.”

When guests walked inside the Chase Ocean Engineering Laboratory, they were able to see the deep pool. The deep pool had divers going to different depths showing the effects of pressure, as well as what happens when a diver loses his/her mask while being underwater.

Guests could then walk through the laboratory itself and visit other exhibits that professors and students had put on, such as ocean mapping, autonomous surface vehicles or remote controlled boats, and a talk about tagging humpback whales in the western Antarctic Peninsula.

Each exhibit had multiple people who worked on the project and could talk about it, as well as pictures and displays of their work.

“I had two choices today, either mow the lawn or take these two interested in what’s out there,” said Shawn Harressey, a Hooksett resident who brought his two children to Ocean Discovery Day.

“These two are starry eyed,” Harressey said, alluding to the children. “They’re all over the place.”

Ocean Discovery Day is held annually to educate the public and the student body about the ocean engineering and marine biology resources that UNH has to offer.

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