MDI Biological Laboratory scientist Robert Morris on the "Science That Matters" set at WABI with morning hosts Wayne Harvey and Joy Hollowell. PHOTO COURTESY OF MDIBL

MDI Biological Lab hosts Family Science Night

BAR HARBOR — Children of all ages and their families will have an opportunity to experience science in a way that stimulates children’s interest and encourages parental involvement in science education at the MDI Biological Laboratory’s annual Family Science Night on Thursday, July 13, from 5-7 p.m.

Family Science Night provides a fun setting and structure in which families can explore, experiment and talk about science. Activities will include more than a dozen hands-on science stations guided by scientists and students. The program is developed and produced by the laboratory’s summer fellows under the direction of faculty mentors.

MDI Biological Laboratory science outreach coordinator, Robert L. Morris, who leads the Family Science Night program, is an example of the interest in science the event can inspire. He owes his career in science to an MDI Biological Laboratory family science night he attended as a 12-year-old in 1976 – more than 40 years ago.

“My mother could see how excited I was by it,” he said. He recalls her telling him, in a statement that would prove prescient: “You know Bobby, if you like it here, maybe you could become a scientist here some day.”

The revelation that it was possible to make a career out of examining life in tide pools – Morris’ favorite summertime activity – eventually led him to pursue a doctorate in biology at Harvard University. In addition to his outreach activities, he is a professor at Wheaton College in Norton, Mass., and a visiting scientist at the MDI Biological Laboratory.

Family Science Night also is an important part of the curriculum for the more than 40 high school and undergraduate participants in the MDI Biological Laboratory’s summer fellowship programs. Participation enhances their skills in communicating and presenting scientific ideas and helps them gain a greater appreciation for the value of building scientific literacy.

Preregister at Healthy snacks will be available. There is no admission charge.

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