Free Tours of UD’s Lewes Campus Showcase Marine Research

by Dave on May 24, 2010

For anyone who’s intrigued by the ocean or interested in a marine science career, a free tour of the University of Delaware College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment’s (CEOE’s) Hugh R. Sharp research complex in Lewes is the perfect summer activity. The tours cover research on topics such as the use of marsh plants for biodiesel fuel, superheated geysers at the bottom of the ocean, and genetics in shellfish recovery.

The tours begin with a 15-minute video that showcases some of the many ways CEOE and Delaware Sea Grant College Program researchers and students explore the coastal environment in Delaware and beyond. Next, guides lead a walking tour of the research buildings, which includes a stop at the greenhouse and the tropical reef tank, as well as multiple posters and exhibits.

New this year is an interactive Google Earth display that will often be available to touring groups. The display shows how scientists are using satellite and other data to study the environment. Visitors also will have an opportunity to view the university’s new wind turbine as seen from Cannon Lab, the campus’ main building. They will learn all about the new addition, which will supply energy to the campus as well as the City of Lewes.

The full tour, which is led by one of UD’s volunteer guides, typically takes under two hours to complete. The guides, or docents, try to tailor their discussion specifically to the interests of each tour, which may include kids ages 10 and up.

One recent visitor was Rehoboth Beach resident Beverly Sanderson, who attended a tour with several visiting family members from out of state. Her 15-year-old granddaughter’s interest in marine biology was the initial motivating factor, she said, but it turned out to be educational for the whole group.

“We all found it extremely interesting,” she said. “The research is so varied.”

Tours take place from June until early September, at 10 a.m. on Fridays in June and on Tuesdays and Fridays in July and August. Individuals can call 302-645-4346, no later than noon the day before, to reserve a place.

In addition to these summer public tours, the college arranges year-round private tours for groups of five or more people 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Schedule by calling 302-645-4346 at least one week in advance. The Hugh R. Sharp Campus, located at 700 Pilottown Road in Lewes, is accessible to disabled visitors.

To learn more about Delaware Sea Grant, visit . For more about CEOE, visit

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