Graham Lab participates in AAAS Family Days science outreach

At the recent American Association for the Advancement of Science meetings in Boston, volunteer members of the Graham lab operated an activity booth at Family Days, a free annual AAAS science outreach event. Jennifer Knack, Izak Smith, Michael Piotrowski, and Chris Cardona-Correa worked for 6-hour stretches on each of the two event days. Our booth was sponsored by the Phycological Society of America, for which Linda Graham serves as the current President. At our booth children learned that seaweeds are the only source of alginate that is used in a wide variety of everyday products, including ice cream and toothpaste. The children used syringes to squirt colorful alginate solutions into seawater, which caused the alginate to solidify and make squiggly algae pets to take home. We handed out thousands of attractive and informative bookmarks to kids and grownups, including officials of the AAAS and NSF who visited our booth. We greatly appreciated help from Botany major Kate Berry and Botany imaging specialist Sarah Friedrich in producing an evolution-based poster explaining why seaweeds produce alginate.  

Izak Smith of the Graham Lab helps a child to make a "squiggly algae pet" at AAAS Family Days