By: Keith Cialino
On October 5, I represented the NOAA Marine Debris Program at Submerge!: NYC Marine Science Festival, hosted by the Hudson River Park Trust and New York Hall of Science. The event took place on Pier 26 in Manhattan, a beautiful location on the Hudson River with stunning views of the NYC skyline, including the new One World Trade Center skyscraper. More than 4,500 people came to the event to enjoy interactive marine science booths, free kayaking on the Hudson, informative talks, and tasty food. Even the live music was marine-themed and solar powered! One really neat thing about the event was the level of crowd engagement. Almost every table had a fun, educational, hands-on activity for kids and adults alike, and it seemed like visitors spent a lot of time at each booth.
At the event, I gave a talk about small changes New Yorkers can make to prevent marine debris- things like drinking New York City’s great tap water instead of buying bottled water, checking their toiletries for microbeads, and not releasing balloons into the environment.NYC tap water instead of bottled water -http://marinedebrisblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/this-4th-of-july-dont-feed-the-animals-your-plastic/ Check toiletries for microbeads – http://marinedebrisblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/20/illinois-bans-plastic-microbeads-from-personal-care-products/ Don’t release balloons – http://marinedebrisblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/not-just-hot-air-celebrate-july-4-without-balloon-releases/
I also had a table with the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s interactive wheel of knowledge. It was a lot of fun talking with attendees about marine debris and hearing their answers to the marine debris questions from the wheel. The kids had creative answers to my “Name the 3 R’s” prompt. I heard great responses like respect, renew, and recharge, but we were able to get to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle by the time they walked away. One very young visitor to my booth told me, “I can’t even read yet!”, but, with me reading the question, he did know that we should not put our trash in the ocean. 100 people left our booth with the 2015 marine debris calendar, and many more left with new knowledge of marine debris in the NYC area.
More event photos: Flickr Account (Photos Credit: David Handschuh)