Exploration Zone

Exploration Zone

October 08, 2014. School visits in the Race Village
Foto: Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race

The “Exploration Zone,” officially opening May 9, features more than 20 interactive exhibits on marine life, sailing, ocean conservation, wind, water and weather experiences, and marine technology.

Encourage your children’s teacher(s) to schedule a field trip to the race village and the educational Exploration Zone. Contact at Sail Newport: kim.hapgood@sailnewport.org.

1.  URI / University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System – “Oceanographic Research, People and Platforms”

UNOLS helps to coordinate oceanographic research worldwide. The exhibit showcase’s the research equipment, vessels, and people that make this exciting research and exploration possible. Images and movies of different research vessels, including ships from the early days of UNOLS to the two newest vessels under construction, and the efforts being made to make the vessels operate more sustainably.  Engaging activities and games will help to educate the public about these important assets.  

2.  RI Sea Grant/ Coastal Resources Center – “Coastal Flooding, Sea Level Rise and What You Can Do”

3.  URIs Graduate School of Oceanography – “Climate Change - Eyes on the Storm: Hurricanes and Society”

This exhibit is to look at recent hurricane disasters, exemplifying the need for education and awareness about these large tropical cyclones. The exhibit will engage visitors to learn more about hurricanes and how they are forecasted (and the research happening at URI that feeds into these forecasts.)  Visitors will also learn how climate change is impacting tropical systems, and why it is critical to be prepared for the upcoming hurricane season.

4.  URI Graduate School of Oceanography - “Life in the Bay - What is in a Drop of Water?”

Our exhibit will introduce visitors to the many beautiful and fascinating ocean plants and animals which are too small to notice with the naked eye –the plankton. We propose to have one table with 5 microscopes: 2 hands-on microscopes for looking at the very small plant plankton (phytoplankton), 2 hands-on microscopes for looking at the slightly bigger animal plankton (zooplankton) and one microscope connected to a large computer display. We will catch the plankton each morning right in the water outside Fort Adams –making this science tangible to our visitors. We will bring nets to catch the plankton, and hang these nets in our booth. We also propose to have a second table with plankton related activities, which will vary over the week and include activities like building and testing model plankton, drawing plankton, learning about monitoring the plankton in the bay, and learning about conserving plankton.

5. URI Graduate School of Oceanography - “Carbon, Oxygen and Our Breathing Ocean”

The ocean is responsible for more than 50% of oxygen production on the planet. This exhibit demonstrates how aquatic plants produce oxygen in the presence of sunlight, and carbon dioxide in when the sun goes down.   The deep ocean is also a huge reservoir for carbon dioxide, absorbing 70 times more CO2 than the atmosphere.  The exhibit will demonstrate how seawater can hold the CO2 and the circulation between the oceans and the atmosphere.  Understanding the Greenhouse effect: using terraria and aquaria with aquatic plants and circulating water the exhibit will demonstrate this phenomena. There will be periodic "respiration contests" where contestants can breathe into a carbon dioxide analyzer and see who can make the concentration go highest. Prizes will be awarded.

6. URI Graduate School of Oceanography Inner Space Center – “Ocean Exploration with the Inner Space Center”

Video presentations of Inner Space Center underwater marine research projects.

7. NOAA NMFS Narragansett Lab – “Nautical Charts”

Understanding nautical charts – road maps on the water – including charts of Narragansett Bay.  Information on how NOAA creates these charts, and the history of hydrographic surveying.

8. NOAA Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries – “Ship Strikes and Right Whales”

Exhibit addressing their work to reduce unintended ship strikes and vessel collisions with critically endangered right whales and other whale species.  Rocky the 20’ Right Whale will also be on display.

9. NOAA Office for Coastal Management – “Resilient Coastal Communities”

NOAA’s Sea Level Rise Viewer enables the public to select a geography and use the slider bar to simulate various sea level rise scenarios (from one to six feet above the average highest tides) and the corresponding areas that would be impacted by flooding. Visitors can also click the camera icons for pictures that depict how local landmarks could be affected, making the visualization more meaningful. Additional tabs provide information about marsh impacts, nuisance flood frequency, and social and economic data.

10. Community Sailing – “This is Sailing!”

Gutter boat racing, knot tying, and understanding how it all works, plus how to get involved.

11. US Sailing Reach Program – “Simple Machines”

Simple machines scavenger hunt.

12. IYRS School of Technology and Trades - “Process and Possibilities”   

Working with carbon fiber and other composite boat building materials and processes, and how composites are being used in a variety of non-marine applications as well.

13. SCA Americas – “Plant a Seedling”

Educational video presentations on the role and importance of forests in the environment. Backdrop with forest facts and an area where students can plant seedlings. Saplings will be donated to the City of Newport for planting.

14. SCA Americas – “Making Paper”

Participants will learn how to make paper from recycled fiber board using a blender, some screens and a hot plate.

15. SCA Americas – “Water Filtration”

Understanding how water is filtered by taking the water used from the papermaking activities and filtering it through different mediums.

16. Newport Renewables – “Solar Energy”

Discover the many uses and benefits of solar energy on land and at sea.

17.  E2SOL LLC – “Solar Micro-Grid Facility for Self Resilient Renewable Power”

A micro-grid will demonstrate how solar power can be harnessed to provide an alternative source of power.  How it all works, the benefits, and its growing application across a broad spectrum of industry.

18.  Sailors for the Sea – “Ocean Acidification”

Every year one third of carbon dioxide emissions are absorbed by the ocean, rapidly changing its chemistry. It is called ocean acidification. Interactive videos will teach what ocean acidification is, how it is impacting coral reefs and what can be done to stop it. Get up close and personal by crawling through a coral reef, viewing a detailed coral reef diorama and even trying on SCUBA gear.  

19.  Clean Ocean Access - “Habitat Conservation, Water Conservation and Marine Debris Solutions”

Exhibit demonstrating through tangible and quantifiable means, the results of shoreline clean-ups conducted in the weeks prior to the Stopover. Educational materials that explain and provide a stimulus for discussing and understanding the effects of marine debris and storm runoff on the environment.  

20. 5 Gyres Institute – “Plastic Pollution Solutions and Citizen Science Engagement Opportunities”

21. Newport Stopover Sustainability Committee – “Sustainability Efforts at the Race Village”

22.  Tall Ship Oliver Hazard Perry – “Rhode Island’s official Sailing Education Vessel”

The SSV Oliver Hazard Perry will be tied alongside the pier at the Race Village, and open to the public for tours.  Additional activities include a “signal flag conversation game”, “how square riggers sail”, “using charts to navigate”, a “saltiest sailor contest” and “sea shanty sing along”.