A good investment

Published 10:16 pm Thursday, April 26, 2007

By Staff
As much fun as they are to interact with, the new exhibits at the North Carolina Estuarium in Washington are much more than just high-tech toys.
They are educational, but they are educational in a way that means — or should mean — something to people who live, work and play on the Albemarle-Pamlico peninsula. The six new exhibits focus on global warming, the rise in sea level, estuarine habitats, sustainable development, North Carolina’s hurricanes and water quality. Those are all items that affect our lives and our livelihoods in this region.
As Washington Mayor Judy Meier Jennette said in her remarks at the unveiling of the new exhibits this week, the exhibits address the causes and effects of the exhibits’ subject matters. That’s what’s important about the new exhibits. They let people know why things are happening and how those things will affect life in Washington, Swan Quarter, Plymouth and Williamston.
The new exhibits are not about attracting more visitors and tourists to Washington, even though that’s a good thing. The exhibits will educate people, especially young people, about the effects of global warming and development on their lives. The exhibits will help people realize the need to protect wildlife habitat and water quality.
The Estuarium and Partnership for the Sounds are providing a valuable service to the region. That service is, and should be, recognized by people such as Larry Hodgkins, assistant head of the Washington Montessori Public Charter School, which had 25 students on hand to interact with the new exhibits on Wednesday.
There’s no doubt that Partnership for the Sounds staff and the Estuarium staff deserve applause and the community’s gratitude for finding a way to educate people about the pressures faced by the region’s delicate estuarine system and doing so in an entertaining way.
And if just one of the 25 students who interacted with the new exhibits puts into practice what he or she learned about protecting the environment, the $100,000 price tag for the new exhibits will have been well spent.