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Eckerd College returns to St. Petersburg Science Festival

By Tom Scherberger
Published October 7, 2014
Categories: Academics, Community Engagement, Public Events

Eckerd College returns to the 4th Annual St. Petersburg Science Festival on Saturday, Oct. 18, with a tent full of hands-on activities for all ages.

Last year’s exhibit was the biggest at the festival and was rated the most popular by festival-goers. This year, visitors can build small molecular models, interact with marine life in a touch-tank, create silvered flasks, build and take home vortex cannons and — the most popular of all — create slime out of ordinary household products.

The exhibit is intended to get kids excited about the wonders of science. The festival draws thousands of elementary, middle and high school students and their parents. It has grown each year, with last year’s attendance estimated at 25,000 people.

“I like to watch kids get excited about doing science,’’ said Professor of Chemistry, David Grove, Ph.D., who oversees the Eckerd exhibit. “It really is fun for me. That’s how I got excited–taking stuff and making useful stuff out of it.”

Other Eckerd faculty involved in the festival are  Physics Professor Anne Cox, Marine Science Professor Laura Wetzel, Chemistry Professor R. Chris Schnabel and Biology Professor Denise Flaherty.

Held in conjunction with Marine Quest, the Science Festival is free and open to the public. It takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the waterfront campus of USF St. Petersburg. The Eckerd exhibit will be in a large white tent in Poynter Park along 3rd Street. Marine Quest is held next door on the grounds of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.

Other Science Festival participants include Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, Coaster Modeling Enthusiasts of Florida, the Dali Museum, Mad Science, the Museum of Science and Industry, Robotics & Technology and Shark Angels.

Once again this year, the public day will be preceded by a Sneak Peek School Day for teachers and students in the 4th and 5th grades on Friday, Oct. 17th. Students begin the two and a half hour field trip with an interactive science presentation. Then students break up into groups of 10-15 students with a docent and experience 6 different 15-minute science activities.