Woods Hole Science Stroll

August 6, 2016 by Beth Colt

August 6, 2016 • 11am – 3pm

Water Street, Woods Hole

A FREE public event

  1. Woods Hole Science Aquarium

Marine animals, touch tanks, harbor seals in an outdoor pool.

  1. NOAA Dock

NOAA Fisheries
Displays related to research on whales, sea turtles and other protected marine species, fish, water chemistry and plankton, and tracking ocean currents. Learn how to identify whales; identify sea turtles; step inside a life-size (43-foot) inflatable humpback whale (weather permitting).

US Coast Guard (USCG)
Tour the USCG 45-foot response boat;* see a shipboard damage control demonstration and techniques to control flooding; watch a search and rescue demonstration with a USCG helicopter and rescue swimmer. Time of demonstration will be communicated on the day of event. *Availability of activities is subject to change based on USCG operations.

US Geological Survey
See the SeaBoss vehicle, which collects seabed images and sediment samples in coastal regions, and participate in interactive demonstrations of underwater video capabilities by the SeaBoss.

  1. Waterfront Park

Buzzards Bay Coalition
Learn all about the 10th annual Watershed Ride to help save Buzzards Bay. Get details, ask questions and sign-up for this fall tradition.

Sea Education Association/SEA Semester
From Plastics to Plankton! Conduct simple experiments to better understand plastic pollution in the ocean, a serious problem that affects birds, fish, and ocean mammals; use a microscope to get up-close and personal with the ocean’s wanderers: plankton!

US Geological Survey
Meet the authors of a new book on the Cape Cod National Seashore. Check out the interactive displays on shoreline change, 3-D sea-floor mapping, and predicting hurricanes. Try your hand at a demo about how scientists sample gas from the Earth.

Woods Hole Historical Museum
Check out reprints of historical photographs and publications about the long history of science in Woods Hole. Kids will enjoy a number of games including a “fishing game” with cod of various sizes in a bucket.

Woods Hole Research Center
Learn about Climate research conducted around the world by the Woods Hole Research Center. Measure the amount of CO2 absorbed by plants, using a CO2 Analyzer.

WCAI – the Cape, Coast, and Islands NPR Station
Play “Guess That Sound,” a children’s activity involving ocean life and ocean environment sounds. Meet the host of “Living Lab,” Heather Goldstone.

  1. Marine Biological Laboratory Pierce Visitor Center and Gift Shop

Colorful exhibits tell the story of the MBL and its impact on life sciences.

  1. Marine Biological Laboratory Marine Resources Center

Tour the facilities and see live animals in the touch tanks. Space is limited; sign up on-site.

  1. Zephyr Education Foundation

See the effects of sea level rise, storm surge waves, and tsunamis as you model coastal processes using “augmented reality sandboxes.” The activities are suitable for ages 9 and up. Younger children benefit from adult supervision.

  1. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) Dock

NOAA Ship Bigelow
Reserve a space for your tour* of the NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow. Learn about the research conducted aboard the ship and see what it’s like to live onboard. *Reservations required. Visitors to the ship must have a valid photo ID. Tours require the ability to climb several flights of stairs. Please wear sensible shoes; no backpacks, no strollers. For free ticket visit

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution displays
Get up close with some working oceanographic instruments and research vehicles used in oceans around the world. Check out Splash Lab science demos and make your own Science Stroll souvenirs at the kids activities table.

  1. WHOI Redfield Auditorium

Come see a kid-friendly film for free at 2 pm sponsored by the Woods Hole
Film Festival

  1. Buzzards Bay Coalition Discovery Center

Explore a marine touch tank full of animals from Buzzards Bay and hands-on family friendly activities.

  1. WHOI Ocean Science Exhibit Center

Videos, displays, and exhibits include marine mammals, Titanic, hydrothermal vents, polar research and many more.

James Cameron comes to Woods Hole

July 2, 2013 by Beth Colt

James Cameron loves Woods Hole.  He has been coming here for decades, first to meet with Bob Ballard and the team that discovered the Titanic for his hit film of the same title, later to research the underwater sequences for the international blockbuster Avatar.
When Cameron crossed the line from film-maker to explorer to built his own deep-sea submersible called the Deepsea Challenger, he became one with the scientists and engineers here, and his visits increased culminating in the donation of his incredible vessel to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

In Woods Hole last month with his whole team, Cameron talked about the team of engineers and his solo dive to the Mariana Trench, one at 11,000 meters one of the deepest places in the ocean.  His exciting journey to the bottom of the sea (think Abyss, literally)  gathered video and samples allowing for the identification of over 60 new species!

Cameron’s vessel Deepsea Challenger will live next door to us here in Woods Hole, where WHOI scientists can make the most of this incredible vehicle.   Here are a few photos of the donation ceremony, as well as a link to more information on the WHOI website.

We hope Cameron returns to Woods Hole to visit Deepsea Challenger, and that the legacy of this extraordinary gift to humankind continues it’s reach.  Woods Hole — a picture postcard village, postmarked around the world.

James Cameron and Susan Avery at WHOI Woods Hole, Cape Cod James Cameron donates vessel to WHOI, Cape Cod

Science, Meet Art.

May 25, 2012 by Beth Colt

Where the clay for Joan Lederman's pottery glaze comes from.

They come from all around the world in buckets and ziplock bags, tagged with masking tape and a sharpie, from places with exotic and unfamiliar names like the Kane Megamullion, Galleon’s Passage and the East Pacific Rise.   Sea muds, magmas, cores dredged up from the bottom of the ocean — some from as far away as Antarctica and others as close as Martha’s Vineyard — are the cornerstone of a 35-year experimental journey by local potter, artist and scientist Joan Lederman.

I was fortunate this week to be invited to a tour of Joan’s studio, tucked away in a lovely spot right here in Woods Hole.  Here she receives the bounty of the sea (most of it from curious and helpful science friends back from research trips in marine biology).  This rare collection from all corners of the earth does not look like much sitting in plastic buckets and dried bags draped all around her kiln.

But what dazzling things happen when it is fired onto hand-thrown pottery!  Joan stumbled upon this wonderful confluence as a young artist here in the midst of a serious science community, and she has been perfecting the use of these glazes ever since.

Pottery studio in Woods Hole

As you will see yourself when you tour her place, or look at these photos, she is a master craftsman. Blues and browns crisscross with her delicate calligraphy, marking the seven seas or the latitude of the source of her glaze.  Her work is the confluence of science and art.  She likens the patterns that emerge from these ocean glazes to the DNA of the earth’s core itself, almost like an X-Ray of the origins of life.  Under her careful tutelage, ghostly images emerge from these muds, some like prehistoric seaweeds reaching for the sun.

Glazes made from ocean sediment and magma

You may recall from sixth grade science, or in my case helping with the homework of a sixth grade scientist, that the earth’s magma or core comes bubbling up where the plates are shifting, mostly at the deepest and darkest spots in the sea.  Modern machinery and robotics now allows us to see  glimmers of these dark unknown corners, like Robert Ballard did when first exploring the wreck of the Titanic (adjacent sea-mud has been used in Joan’s work!) with a submersible robot called the “Alvin.”  Later explorers have identified “hydro-vents” in which the most primitive forms of life are being studied as we speak, ground breaking work that is re-shaping textbooks, both challenging creationists and hinting at the mysterious hand of God.

Woods Hole is ground zero for this sort of cutting-edge conversation.  Come here to visit the retired “Alvin” (on display along with all sorts of other data about the exploration at the WHOI Exhibit Center on School Street), then stroll out onto Juniper Point and see Joan’s work (by appointment only).

You will especially enjoy the ocean vista from her potters wheel, and imagine her on warm spring days with the french doors flung open, mud in her hair and the wheel whirring along with the bumblebees in her garden just outside.

A wheel with a view

Woods Hole — where science and art meet at the edge of the sea.