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Sea of knowledge

Whale of a Day a memorable, highly attended community event

By Memorial University

With Sammy the Sea-Hawk’s dancing, a majestic blue whale skeleton keeping watch and more than 1,400 visitors of all ages absorbing ocean knowledge, Memorial’s new Core Science Facility (CSF) was awash with life on May 14.

At the Whale of a Day community event, 24 exhibitors from Grenfell Campus, Marine Institute and the St. John’s campus shared their wisdom about oceans — a vital part of Newfoundland and Labrador’s ecology and economy.

From the Department of Biology’s whale interpretation centre, which featured information about how the blue whale skeleton came to Memorial, to touch tanks from the Ocean Sciences Centre and Bonne Bay Marine Station, to the Centre for Innovation in Teaching and Learning’s green screen that allowed visitors to get a great photo of themselves in front of the whale, there was something for everyone.

“This event was the first flagship event of our year celebrating all things oceans at Memorial, called The Big Splash,” said Lisa Browne (BA’91, MBA’93), vice-president (advancement and external relations), at Memorial. “The event was consistent with our strategic pillars of commitment to communities, dynamic research and proactive programs. We welcomed our community into a new building, demonstrating research and programs in a hands-on, meaningful, fun way. In 10 years’ time, I hope new students walk through the CSF and remember their visit to Whale of a Day!”

1/ 3D vision

The scanning electron microscope exhibit required 3D glasses for an extra effect.

Photo: Kristine Breen

2/ Great space

The blue whale lobby had a number of exhibits and attractions to provide visitors with numerous different aspects of ocean-related research, teaching and learning and public engagement.

Photo: Kristine Breen

3/ Special FX

The Centre for Innovation and Teaching and Learning's green screen exhibit was a huge hit. A steady stream of visitors had their photos taken, which were then applied to a photo of the blue whale skeleton for a perfect "shot."

Photo: Kristine Breen

4/ Story of a whale

A time-lapse video of the blue whale skeleton being hoisted into the atrium played during the event.

Photo: Kristine Breen

5/ Starfish

This visitor (and future Memorial student?) wore a fitting hat for a Whale of a Day.

Photo: Kristine Breen

6/ Story of bone

Contemplating a skull.

Photo: Kristine Breen

7/ Memorial's mascot

Sammy the Sea-Hawk "flew" in for the event to the delight of many children.

Photo: Kristine Breen

8/ Ocean engineering

The Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science had three booths at the event, including information on how ocean engineers and naval architects are working to make safer ships and a cleaner marine environment.

Photo: Kristine Breen

9/ High tech

An exhibit of ocean gliders was popular with guests.

Photo: Kristine Breen

10/ Hands-on learning

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences' Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research Lab's exhibit offered people a chance to "fish" for micro-plastics with its baby legs device.

Photo: Kristine Breen

11/ Micro-view

A visitor checks out specimens.

Photo: Kristine Breen

12/ Wee one

A very young learner and her mom check out the blue whale skeleton from a mezzanine level in the Core Science Facility.

Photo: Kristine Breen

13/ Bravery on display

This visitor picked up a crab offered by a Department of Ocean Sciences' demonstrator.

Photo: Kristine Breen

14/ Local specimens

A Memorial diver collected objects from the ocean floor that had become host to a local algae.

Photo: Kristine Breen

15/ Invisible life

Community Health and Humanities Division with the Faculty of Medicine explored antimicrobial resistance in our marine ecosystem by using toys to demonstrate.

Photo: Kristine Breen

16/ Interpretation at work

Faculty of Science faculty were on hand to answer questions about the blue whale skeleton.

Photo: Kristine Breen

17/ Star of the show

The blue whale skeleton was the focus of countless photo ops on May 14.

Photo: Kristine Breen

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