Take Your Child to Earth Day
On Apr. 27, under a vivid spring sky, NIH celebrated Earth Day, dovetailing
it with Take Your Child to Work Day, an annual event designed to
introduce employees' children to science and biomedical research.
Strolling through tented booths on the lawn of Bldg. 1, employees
along with their kids explored displays on creek protection and restoration,
energy conservation, alternative fuel vehicles, radiation safety,
waste management, the NIH Bicycle Commuter Club, the Mercury-Free
NIH campaign and other environmental protectives. The synergy of
the two spring festivals expanded the biomedical focus to include
environmental education for kids — and their grownups.
|Stream restoration project tours were standing
It was a blast.
Dressed in blue scrubs, stethoscope looped around his neck, Kevin
Cole accompanied 8-year-old Briahna to the events. A respiratory
therapist in critical care, Cole explained why he brought his daughter
along: "Other than her begging me to take her? She counted down
the days!" he said. She looks up to dad in his work, of course;
but his patients in the CC don't include the toads and other critters
Briahna examined in the Urban Forest Conservation Plan display,
which segued into a tour of the NIH watershed and stream. It's
all part of a proactive environmental management system designed
to make the agency more Earth-friendly, said Kenny Floyd, director,
Division of Environmental Protection, ORF.
|Connor (l) and Evan Granrud
learn how some bugs are used as water-quality indicators.
||Briahna Cole (l), Chanel Allen (c) and Shakia
Day make new friends, including toads, tadpoles, mayflies and
other pals from the pond.
NIAID's Tom McCarty brought daughter Hannah, age 9, to tour the
booths, which included Geiger counters, kids' artwork made from
discarded objects, and tips on recycling. "We're going to a presentation,
and then I'm taking her up to my lab," he said, noting that while
the lab may not always be the safest place for kids, the lawn offered
a great place for them to hang out and learn.
|Using Geiger counters, kids
listen to the pigments in vintage-’50s dinnerware.
||A youngster learns how mom
can get to work in ways that are Earth-friendly.
||The Mad Hatter (a.k.a. Capt.
Ed Rau) presents a sticker for NIH’s mercury elimination
campaign to Raiquon Coates and mom Regina.
Meanwhile, Ben Franklin, celebrating his 300th birthday, fielded
kids' questions on electricity, while the Mad Hatter, desperately
seeking mercury as part of NIH's Hg elimination campaign, paused
to offer a cool sticker to 9-year-old Raiquon Coates. His mom,
Regina Coates, an administrative assistant in the CC, said: "Raiquon
was interested in seeing what I do, what other people do and what
methods he could use to deal with pollution, to take care of Earth.
And I wanted to give him some insight for a career that he might
|Katie Williams and dad Richard
show off sculpture she created from recycled materials.
||Enjoying Earth Day at NIH are (from l) Kenny
Floyd with “IT” contest winners Stacey L. Brown,
Kelvin Wilson and Charlie Wainscott; “Mad Hatter” Rau
and “IT” (a.k.a. the hoodia) with NIH deputy director
Dr. Raynard Kington; NIH Deputy Director for Management Colleen
Barros; Juanita Mildenberg, acting director of the Office of
Research Facilities; and Ben Franklin (a.k.a. Barry Stevens).
High noon saw the presentation of awards to those who had ID'd
the mysterious plant "IT" and why IT makes an important statement
about protecting our environment (see sidebar). "I want to know
how anyone knew [the contest answer]," joked NIH deputy director
Dr. Raynard Kington. He then turned to accept an honor on behalf
of the entire NIH community as Emily Pickren of Montgomery County's
Office of Recycling presented an award for outstanding achievement
|Earth Day Contest Results: What ‘IT’ Is
By Ed Rau
On Apr. 7, the NIH Record published a strange-looking
picture and asked readers to identify what "IT" was and explain
how IT related to NIH's mission and Earth Day.
L. Brown, a research assistant in the unit on sensory coding
and neural ensembles, NICHD, gave the first correct and complete
answer: "This is a close-up picture of a Hoodia flower that
attracts flesh flies, which the plant uses as pollinators.
This plant is a succulent found in Namibia and South Africa
and is well known for being a natural appetite suppressant.
The San tribesmen have used this plant to stop hunger and
thirst. This plant is very rare and highly protected. It
is very important to save as this plant may be a key to helping
fight the world's rising obesity problem. This alone makes
a huge statement about the importance of protecting the environment
and saving species of plants (and animals) that may hold
other secrets to help fight disease."
The only contest entrant to give the correct species name — Hoodia
juttae — was Merel Schollnberger, supervisory
metabolic dietitian at the Clinical Center.
Additional winners who gave complete and correct answers
are: Keith Ball, ORS; Jennifer Dickey, NCI; Christine Enders,
ORS; Lissette Capri, Columbia University; Lisa Harper, ORS;
Star Kline, OD; Alexander Peterson, NCI; Weston Ricks, OD;
Kelvin Wilson, ORF; Shantadurga Rajaram, NINDS; Charlie Wainscott,
NLM; and Xiuli Xi, NHLBI.
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