A young loggerhead sea turtle will make its public debut at the University of Georgia Aquarium on Saturday, Oct. 25, as part of Skidaway Marine Science Day. The campus-wide open house will be held from noon to 4 p.m. on the campus of the UGA Skidaway Institute of Oceanography on the north end of Skidaway Island. (A full list of events and activities is below.)
The juvenile sea turtle, named Rider, was hatched on August 29, 2013 on Wassaw Island. Rider was a straggler, meaning he did not successfully get out of his nest when he was hatched. He was brought to the aquarium by the Caretta Research Project after being approved by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The staff at the aquarium has been caring for Rider for the past year, allowing him to grow large enough for public display. Rider will replace another sea turtle, named Ossabaw, who has lived at the aquarium for the past three years. Ossabaw outgrew its tank and will be released Sept. 8.
Rider’s debut is just one feature of a lengthy program of activities, displays and tours making the annual event a popular family event that attracts thousands of visitors each year.
The UGA Aquarium, operated by the UGA Marine Extension Service, will be open to visitors with no admission fee. In addition to Rider’s debut, the Aquarium will unveil a new gray whale exhibit and an expanded touch-tank activity. The aquarium education staff will also offer visitors a full afternoon of activities including science talks, a reptile show, touch tanks and behind-the-scene tours of the aquarium.
The UGA Skidaway Institute of Oceanography’s Research Vessel Savannah is another popular attraction. The 92-foot ocean-going research vessel will be open for tours and will exhibit science displays, including a display on the developing field of underwater robots. Elsewhere on campus, Skidaway Institute will present a variety of marine science exhibits and hands-on science activities.
The UGA Shellfish Laboratory will provide visitors with displays and information on marine life on the Georgia Coast. Children will have an opportunity to help protect the marine environment by bagging oyster shells used for oyster reef restoration projects.
The staff of Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary will show visitors how to operate a remotely-operated-vehicle in a swimming pool and pick up objects from the bottom. The Gray’s Reef activity will include some of the participating student-teams from the annual MATE ROV competition. The high school and middle school teams will demonstrate the ROVs they designed and operated in this year’s MATE contest.
Along with the campus organizations, Skidaway Marine Science Day will also include displays, demonstrations and activities from a wide range of science, environmental and education groups, such as The Dolphin Project, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center and The Nature Conservancy.
All activities at Skidaway Marine Science Day are free. For additional information, call 912-598-2325, or see www.skio.uga.edu.
SCHEDULE AND EVENTS
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2014
NOON TO 4 PM
CONTINUOUS ACTIVITIES (Noon-4 pm)
Jay Wolf Nature Trail, Interpretive Cabin, Learning Gardens (Open at 10 am)
University of Georgia Aquarium Open – Free Admission
Behind the Scenes peeks at the UGA Aquarium. Every 20 minutes (12-4 pm) – pick up your FREE ticket in the aquarium lobby and meet at the back door of the aquarium at your specified time! (Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. No strollers, please.)
Touch Tanks (Aquarium)
Touch Tanks (Aquarium Day Group Room)
Phytoplankton Lab Demo (Aquarium Plankton Lab)
Invertebrate Explorations: A Floating Dock Study (Aquarium Invertebrate Lab)
“Choose Your Own Adventure” – Interactive AUV Game (Bluff behind the UGA Aquarium)
New Gray Whale Exhibit (Aquarium)
Rider the Loggerhead Sea Turtle on display (Aquarium)
Interactive reptile exhibit – Meet and greet some common reptiles of the Georgia coast (Screened porch near Aquarium)
Environmental Group Exhibits (Skidaway Institute Quad)
Tours of Research Vessel Savannah (Skidaway Institute Dock)
Plankton World (McGowan Library overhang)
Build a Plankton (Tent outside the McGowan Library)
Plankton Sink-Off (Tent outside the McGowan Library) A Sink-Off round every 30 minutes
Create your personal marine life postcard – McGowan Library
Boats & Science Exhibits (Skidaway Institute Quad & R/V Savannah)
Microbe Hunt – Grab a swab and find the microbes in the world around you. (Skidaway Institute Quad)
Gray’s Reef ROV Activity (Skidaway Institute Quad)
Oyster Reef Restoration Displays and Activities (Shellfish Parking Lot)
Aquaculture and oyster farming exhibit (Field next to Shellfish Lab)
12:15 pm -- Fish Feeding (Aquarium)
12:45 pm – Fish Feeding (Aquarium)
1:00 pm – “Bridges and Bulls: A history of Skidaway Island” A talk and walking tour by Dr. Bill Savidge (MCSRIC Conference Room, behind library)
1:15 pm – Fish Feeding (Aquarium)
1:45 pm – Fish Feeding (Aquarium)
2:15 pm – Fish Feeding (Aquarium)
2:45 pm – Fish Feeding (Aquarium)
Participating Environmental and Educational Groups
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
The Dolphin Project
Savannah National Wildlife Refuge
Georgia Sea Turtle Center
Tybee Marine Science Center
Skidaway Island State Park
Georgia DNR - Law Enforcement
Savannah State University Marine Sciences Department
Armstrong Atlantic State University Diamondback Terrepin Project
Youth for a Cleaner Environment
LTER Research Project
Friends of the Wildlife Refuge
The Nature Conservancy
Friends of the Wildlife Refuge