skip navigation nih record
Vol. LXI, No. 10
May 15, 2009
cover

previous story

next story



NIH’ers Take Kids to Work, Earth Day

  Sisters Ashley (l) and Danielle Rizak, both 8, show off their newly painted faces, an Earth Day perk that drew many children. Their mother, Katie Rizak, works at NINR.  
  Sisters Ashley (l) and Danielle Rizak, both 8, show off their newly painted faces, an Earth Day perk that drew many children. Their mother, Katie Rizak, works at NINR.  

Both the planet and parents/guardians were most obliging during the 15th annual NIH Take Your Child to Work Day, which was paired Apr. 23 with Earth Day events on the lawn of Bldg. 1. The campus hosted some 2,827 children who registered on a sunny, breezy day. This year, for the first time, every institute and center held activities. Goody bags burst with souvenirs, including science education information.

A record 85 activities were planned by the ICs and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management, which sponsors the observance. The activities covered a range of science and administrative work. Some of the most popular provided hands-on demonstrations and interactive participation, including Fantastic Voyage Through the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Searching for the Allergen and Air Supply, both sponsored by the Clinical Center.

Enjoying a day at NIH is Grayer Warren, 4, with mom Shamay Knox of NIAID.

Enjoying a day at NIH is Grayer Warren, 4, with mom Shamay Knox of NIAID.

Cpl. Brian Sims of the NIH Police allowed kids to sit in a squad car.

Above, Cpl. Brian Sims of the NIH Police allowed kids to sit in a squad car. Below, playing at the hands-on watershed model are Daniel Zhong (l) and Veronika Polushina (second from l). At right is Mary Hash of the NIH Library.

Playing at the hands-on watershed model are Daniel Zhong (l) and Veronika Polushina (second from l). At right is Mary Hash of the NIH Library.

Also drawing crowds were Bldg. 49 Animal Resources in Action!, sponsored by NEI, and two NIDCR offerings: 3-D Facial Images and Bones and Teeth.

Some favorites from last year were repeated, including NLM’s Kids on the Grid and I Want to Build a Rocket!—How to Get Your Ideas Off the Ground at NIH, sponsored by CSR.

New this year was Spectacular Science, sponsored by the NIH Federal Credit Union. It included indoor fireworks, bubbling potions and amazing chemical reactions. One workshop, The Mysteries of Pathology, by NCI, took children beyond the forensic activity of the popular television CSI crime shows. The children examined normal human lung, kidney and brain tissues along with their diseased counterparts.

There were also workshops to get the kids moving such as Zumba Fitness Dance and Salsa Dance, sponsored by the R&W.

Three large tents erected on the lawn of Bldg. 1 introduced youngsters to environmental issues and information, presented by the Office of Research Facilities. Green options in food, travel, commuting and household purchasing were presented and kids could walk through a Wetlands on Wheels trailer or tour a portion of the NIH stream. Giveaways here included plants and tree seedlings.

Two days earlier, on Apr. 21, NIH inaugurated the Earth Day observance by inviting NBC-TV reporter Wendy Rieger to talk about issues that have arisen during the 4 years she has been the station’s “Going Green” reporter. For an hour in Lipsett Amphitheater she regaled the audience with findings ranging from her vegetarian diet of the past 2 years (“The greatest thing I ever did”), to advice on eco-friendly paint, carpet, shopping bags and where to find the city’s best bulgogi sandwiches (“Java Green, at 19th and L”).

After her talk, Rieger led attendees to a ribbon-cutting for the new NIH Library Green Terrace, adjacent to the South Lobby of the Clinical Center. The sun-beaten old patio has been completely redone. Its old paving stones were recycled and the space has been transformed into a nearly self-sustaining oasis of calm and quiet. New features include shade structures, seating, plantings on both the ground (the patio is actually a roof over the NIH Library’s journal collection, and the “green roof” is modeled on the one that debuted last summer at NIH’s Gateway Center) and walls; plants will climb wires running up the brick sides of the patio.

Other green features include solar panels that will power the lanterns along the patio’s footpath and provide electricity to run pumps that will propel rainwater collected in cisterns into an irrigation system. ORF planners also hope to capture wind power at that particularly breezy part of Bldg. 10, and to incorporate a water feature of some kind.

NBC-TV local anchor Wendy Rieger (c) cuts ribbon to open the new NIH Library Green Terrace on Apr. 21. Also on hand are (from l) Dr. Alfred Johnson, ORS director; Ed Pfister, formerly of ORS but now at HHS; Howard Kelsey, HHS deputy assistant secretary for facilities management and policy; Shirl Eller, ORS associate director for program and employee services; and Dan Wheeland, ORF director. NIH Library Green Terrace is actually a roof over the NIH Library’s journals collection and was modeled after the green roof at the Gateway Center near Metro. The terrace has shade structures, benches and “living walls” that plants will climb. Nearby solar panels will power both the walkway lanterns on the terrace and an irrigation system that recycles rainwater.
NBC-TV local anchor Wendy Rieger (c) cuts ribbon to open the new NIH Library Green Terrace on Apr. 21. Also on hand are (from l) Dr. Alfred Johnson, ORS director; Ed Pfister, formerly of ORS but now at HHS; Howard Kelsey, HHS deputy assistant secretary for facilities management and policy; Shirl Eller, ORS associate director for program and employee services; and Dan Wheeland, ORF director. The NIH Library Green Terrace is actually a roof over the NIH Library’s journals collection and was modeled after the green roof at the Gateway Center near Metro. The terrace has shade structures, benches and “living walls” that plants will climb. Nearby solar panels will power both the walkway lanterns on the terrace and an irrigation system that recycles rainwater.
Enjoying a seedling giveaway manned by ORF’s Jim Carscadden (l) are youngsters Reynard Davis and Nadia Hines. With them are Edith Davis of NIDA and Robert Hines (r) of ORS.

Enjoying a seedling giveaway manned by ORF’s Jim Carscadden (l) are youngsters Reynard Davis and Nadia Hines. With them are Edith Davis of NIDA and Robert Hines (r) of ORS.

Below:
Helping dish up dirt to nourish a seedling is ORF’s Joseph Musa (r).

Helping dish up dirt to nourish a seedling is ORF’s Joseph Musa (r).

What Was IT?

Justin Bellizzi of Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo Children visiting the IT contest booth were fascinated by the Gila monsters

At left, Justin Bellizzi of Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo displays a Gila monster. Children visiting the IT contest booth (shown above, r) were fascinated by the Gila monsters.

No, the two venomous lizards sighted in front of Bldg. 1 during NIH’s Earth Day event weren’t escapees from Jurassic Park. They were live specimens of the mystery organism described in the Division of Environmental Protection’s annual “Name IT” contest, which was established to improve awareness of the importance to NIH’’s research mission of protecting biodiversity. Clues to the identity of IT were published in the Apr. 3 issue of the NIH Record.

It’s been traditional to have the real mystery plant or animal from the “Name IT” contest present at Earth Day. This year, our special guests were a pair of adult Gila monsters (Heloderma suspectum) on loan from the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo in Thurmont, Md.

One of the most important drugs used for treatment of type 2 diabetes was derived from the saliva of the Gila monster. Dr. Kristina Rother of NIDDK visited the Gila monster Earth Day display and provided information about a research project she is working on involving a potential application for treatment of type 1 diabetes.

Gila monsters are found in northwestern Mexico, and in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. They are not currently listed under the Endangered Species Act but are protected by state laws in all areas where they are found. They were the first venomous reptile to be protected under any law, back in 1952. Wild populations are thought to be small and declining, largely as a result of habitat destruction from overgrazing, truck farming and cotton planting.

This year, 34 correct answers to the “Name IT” contest were submitted. Three winners were randomly selected from the correct entries and will receive prizes courtesy of R&W. This year’s winners are: Magdalen Stevenson, NIMH; Brandon Stone, CC; and Rick Troxel, CIT.—

back to top of page