Estuarium open house mixes fun and learning

Published 2:42 pm Monday, April 10, 2017

Who says you cannot mix science lessons and fun? That’s what the North Carolina Estuarium did Friday and Saturday as it hosted events connected with the statewide North Carolina Science Festival.

“The North Carolina Science Festival and others like it offer an opportunity to celebrate science in fun and welcoming settings. This festival provides the opportunity to cultivate a positive environment that encourages children to pursue science-related careers and encourages businesses to invest in North Carolina,” reads the festival’s website. The festival is the initiative of the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center.

“We like coming to the waterfront. We love the waterfront,” said Liz Miesnik, a Greenville resident, who was accompanied by 4-year-old Amelia Matis. “She’s (Amelia) never been here before.” With the festival events taking place at the Estuarium, Miesnik decided to bring Amelia so she could experience the combination of the festival and waterfront at one time.

“It’s great that they have this to help spread the word about what’s going on with the water, the estuary. It’s an opportunity for families to come out on a day it’s free,” Miesnik said.

The Estuarium waived its usual admission fees for the Saturday “open house” that featured exhibits by Sound Rivers, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, Aurora Fossil Museum, N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, Love a Sea Turtle River Guardians Project and others. Activities included programs presented by two East Carolina University professors, videos about sharks and other sea life, trips aboard the Estuarium’s River Rover pontoon boat and booths with live waterfowl, fossils and sharks’ teeth.

Friday, students from Grifton Middle School. They participated in water monitoring of the Tar-Pamlico River through the Love a Sea Turtle River Guardians Project. Their four activities included water monitoring from the Belle of Washington cruise ship, learning how contaminated wastewater travels through treatment systems, the creative art of Gyotake (fish-printing) and exploring the Estuarium.

“It’s just great opportunity for us a museum to join in with all the other museums in the state that are part of the North Carolina Science Festival. It enables us to host an event where we get host an event to celebrate and educate about the Estuarium,” said Russ Chesson, the Estuarium’s operations and programming specialist, about why the Estuarium is involved with the festival.

The organizations with a presence at the Estuarium on Saturday view the festival as a way to educate people about what they do and why they do it.

“It’s a great opportunity to not only reach out to kids, but their parents as well. We talk about the importance of science, the important of nature, the important of the river. It’s an opportunity to connect with folks one-on-one and do it through some fun activities where they can learn a little about our river and the environment and just have some fun hands-on activities,” said Heather Deck, deputy director of Sound Rivers, an organization working to protect rivers in eastern North Carolina.


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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