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Vol. LXII, No. 10
May 14, 2010
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Event Keeps Getting Better
Earth Day-Take Your Child to Work Day Sets Records

On the front page...

It was nearly impossible to miss the droves of children scampering about on Apr. 22, the fourth year in a row that NIH has combined its Earth Day and Take Your Child to Work Day celebrations. It was also hard to miss the smiles on painted faces, the joy of youngsters as they took hold of their very own tree seedlings or the squeals of delight as children experimented with a Geiger counter or tried on police uniforms.

And while children were surely impressed by any one of the 90 activities available on that day, what’s truly remarkable is the day in numbers. For starters, the NIH community, including the Bethesda campus and all its satellite locations, welcomed more than 3,300 children. That’s almost 500 more than attended last year.

Continued...


  Savannah Kreider (daughter of Stephanie Kreider, NIAMS) and Cpl. Brian Sims share a laugh.  
  Savannah Kreider (daughter of Stephanie Kreider, NIAMS) and Cpl. Brian Sims share a laugh.  

Combined with all the Earth Day events designed to promote recycling, teach responsible disposal of common household items and encourage children and families to plant trees and vegetables in their own environments, the day set records across the board.

The R&W reports that it collected nearly 200 old VHS tapes, 10 boxes of spent batteries, 8 boxes of old cell phones, 5 trash bags full of tennis shoes (the soles can be recycled to make athletic track surfaces) and about 100 pairs of eyeglasses.

The Office of Research Facilities reports that in addition to collecting extraordinary amounts of plastic, aluminum and paper products as part of Earth Day events in front of Bldg. 1, about 5 pounds of food compost were collected that ordinarily would have ended up in the trash. Pleasantly surprised families discovered how much of their lunches’ packaging really could be recycled. Additionally, more than 1,200 NIH employees pledged to use reusable water bottles more regularly instead of plastic bottles to reduce recycling costs.

The “face painting lady” Michelle Johnson pals around with a young visitor before picking up her brushes. A group of children and parents learn how contaminant runoff affects the environment.
Above, l: The “face painting lady” Michelle Johnson pals around with a young visitor before picking up her brushes. Above, r: A group of children and parents learn how contaminant runoff affects the environment.

ORF’s tree seedling giveaway was a tremendous success, with 1,800 trees—ranging from dogwoods and redbuds to pines and indigo—going to new homes. Preparing that many seedlings was a team effort, said Danita Broadnax of the Environmental Quality Branch, and she extended an open invitation to anyone who wants to help prepare or hand out trees at future events.

Below, l: Heidi Leung (daughter of Kwanyee Leung, NIAID) and Alexander Moore (son of Ann Puderbaugh, FIC) play in the grass in front of Bldg. 1. The two have been friends since they attended NIH preschool together. Below, r: Wensen Liu (son of Xueqiao Liu, NIAID) enjoys his balloon hat, replete with a fish on a fishing pole.
Heidi Leung (daughter of Kwanyee Leung, NIAID) and Alexander Moore (son of Ann Puderbaugh, FIC) play in the grass in front of Bldg. 1. The two have been friends since they attended NIH preschool together. Wensen Liu (son of Xueqiao Liu, NIAID) enjoys his balloon hat, replete with a fish on a fishing pole.
Jeremy Sha experiments with a Geiger counter while his mom, Wenqin Xu (NIMH), and Lawrence Koenig (OD) look on.
Above: Jeremy Sha experiments with a Geiger counter while his mom, Wenqin Xu (NIMH), and Lawrence Koenig (OD) look on.
Janet Mfon (OD) and her daughter, Ekaeto, pose on the Bldg. 31 patio.

Above: Janet Mfon (OD) and her daughter, Ekaeto, pose on the Bldg. 31 patio. Below: The Klukosky family, Frank (NEI) with daughters Sarah and Katelyn, visits with Ben Franklin (aka Barry Stevens).

The Klukosky family, Frank (NEI) with daughters Sarah and Katelyn, visits with Ben Franklin (aka Barry Stevens).
  A cluster of six unripe pawpaw fruits hang from a branch. There are green oval leaves behind the fruit.
  A pawpaw plant in bloom
 

Top:
A cluster of six unripe pawpaw fruits hangs from a branch. There are green oval leaves behind the fruit.

Bottom:
A pawpaw plant in bloom

What Was IT?

Here are the clues and answers to this year’s IT contest. We told you that IT’s in the neighborhood. Pawpaws are native to much of the eastern U.S. including Maryland.

We said that development and the clearing of mature trees have eliminated IT from many urban areas. Development activities have removed native pawpaws and mature trees of other species that provide needed shade for pawpaws, which are part of the understory vegetation.

IT is so well known that it has a town named after IT—you can get there by driving exactly 104.40 miles from the NIH campus. That would be the town of Pawpaw located in Morgan County, W.Va.

Leaves, bark, twigs and seeds contain acetogenins— compounds that can be used to make organic insecticides. Acetogenins in extracts from pawpaws have also been shown in laboratory studies to have effectiveness against multi-drug resistant cells.

Among those who guessed correctly in this year’s IT contest were: Chanteshea Bulluck, NIAMS; Dr. Vernon Anderson, NIGMS; Cynthia Moore, NHLBI; Dr. W. Ernest Lyons, NINDS; Judith Swan, NCI; and Jeff Forbes, NIAMS.

 

Many people put their young seedlings in one of thousands of yellow and orange bags distributed by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management, which organized the Take Your Child to Work events. Some of the most popular activities provided hands-on demonstrations and interactive participation for children, including the long-standing “Fantastic Voyage through the Department of Laboratory Medicine” exhibit, which has been hosted by the Clinical Center for the past 5 years.

Between learning what their parents do at work every day and learning about the environment we all live in, children went home with brains brimming with new information.

“We’re all becoming more aware of living environmentally conscious, and this event was a big step in that direction,” Broadnax said.

Jermain Cooper Jr. and his father, Jermain Cooper Sr. (OD), plant some vegetable seeds. Jermain Cooper Jr. with his cup of planted seeds. John Hartinger (NCI) watches as his grandson, Jack, receives a tree.
Jermain Cooper Jr. and his father, Jermain Cooper Sr. (OD), plant some vegetable seeds. Jermain Cooper Jr. with his cup of planted seeds. John Hartinger (NCI) watches as his grandson, Jack, receives a tree.
Don Wilson of the Division of Environmental Protection helps a young visitor recycle his lunch packaging. Ricardo Roberts III, (son of Jada Roberts, OD), tries on some police gear. Laramie, an NIH police dog, gives Jiro Kato (son of Rintaro Kato, NHLBI) a sniff.
Don Wilson of the Division of Environmental Protection helps a young visitor recycle his lunch packaging. Ricardo Roberts III, (son of Jada Roberts, OD), tries on some police gear. Laramie, an NIH police dog, gives Jiro Kato (son of Rintaro Kato, NHLBI) a sniff.

 

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