skip navigation nih record
Vol. LXIII, No. 11
May 27, 2011
cover

previous story

next story



NIH Celebrates Earth Day/Take Your Child To Work Day in Record Numbers

Gowned youngsters learn from Tor Moore (l) of the Clinical Center. Others enjoy an exercise in robotic surgery. At right, a participant gets cozy with a hissing cockroach. Others enjoy an exercise in robotic surgery Participant gets cozy with a hissing cockroach.
Gowned youngsters learn from Tor Moore (l) of the Clinical Center. Others enjoy an exercise in robotic surgery. Participant gets cozy with a hissing cockroach.

Stormy weather could not dampen the spirits of the packs of children seen roaming the halls of NIH on Apr. 28 for the combined NIH Earth Day and Take Your Child to Work Day festivities. Despite the threat of rain, a record 3,450 children were registered for this year’s celebration. There were over 100 activities for children to learn more about what their parents do every day at work and for people of all ages to discover new ways to “go green.”

The chance to gown up figured in several Clinical Center-sponsored activities
The chance to gown up figured in several Clinical Center-sponsored activities

Yelps of equal parts fright and glee could be heard as kids entered Bldg. 10, the rain site for Earth Day activities, and encountered the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases’s bug display. There, children got the chance to pick up and interact with a live praying mantis, hissing cockroach and other insects. The nearby “Scales and Tales” event, presented by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, captured the attention of children and adults alike with its wildlife and natural resources display that included owls, a falcon, a turtle and a snake.

The Office of Research Facilities presented more than 30 Earth Day activities and events designed to encourage environmentally conscious living and teach everyone more about nature and the world around them. Participants came across a recycling pledge tree, temporary tattoos, numerous games, a book swap and a huge display on greening accomplishments in the NIH cafeterias. The annual Nature Walk, however, was canceled due to the forecast of severe weather.

Gowned youngsters learn from Tor Moore (l) of the Clinical Center Others enjoy an exercise in robotic surgery
Youngster enjoys exhibit on robotic surgery.


Operating room tools were on display for guests to see.

The Recreation & Welfare Association recycling program was again a success, collecting 350 pairs of tennis shoes, 125 sets of eyeglasses, 125 cell phones and over 1,500 batteries. NIH employees cleared their offices of “techno trash” and collectively dropped off five large boxes full of CDs, floppy disks, power cords, keyboards, speakers and mice. Earth Day was a zero-waste event, meaning all waste from the day’s activities was either recycled or composted.

ORF held its annual tree seedling giveaway program that distributed 2,000 seedlings including maples, white dogwoods, river birches and white pines. ORF also divulged the answer to its annual “What Is IT?” contest: the purple sea whip (Pseudopterogorgia elizabethae), a soft coral also known as a sea plume. It grows in warm, shallow areas of the Caribbean and hosts algae that contain bacteria that may produce useful drug compounds.

Mary S. Hash, a business specialist at the NIH Library, mans an exhibit for Earth Day A staffer from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources/Patapsco State Park brought a raptor with him as part of the “Scales & Tales” Earth Day exhibit
Mary S. Hash, a business specialist at the NIH Library, presents an exhibit for Earth Day. Threatening weather on Apr. 28 moved Earth Day activities off the lawn of Bldg. 1 and into the Clinical Center’s South Lobby, which is rarely home to raptors. A staffer from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources/Patapsco State Park brought a raptor with him as part of the “Scales & Tales” Earth Day exhibit.


Near Masur Auditorium, children plunged their hands into soil as they learned how to plant seeds and participated in a composting demonstration, complete with worms. This chance to get their hands dirty was set up by the NICHD’s Green Team, one of several IC “Green Teams” devoted to greening daily business practices around NIH. Pepco was also present with a booth that highlighted the benefits of the NIH campus’s cogeneration system and energy conservation efforts.  

The wow factor was easy to generate with technology
The wow factor was easy to generate with technology.

Elsewhere in Bldg. 10 and around the rest of NIH, children learned about the wide variety of careers that make up the NIH community as part of Take Your Child to Work Day. This marked the fifth year in a row the event was combined with Earth Day. Thousands of goody bags were filled and distributed, bursting with science education information and materials donated by several ICs as mementos of the day’s events.

Over 70 activities were planned by the ICs and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management to teach children about a slew of skills and topics that are part of NIH’s work. Children learned about the parts and functions of the brain, the science behind popular television crime shows and the duties of a police officer, to name just a few. Children and their parents were also encouraged to get up and move with hip hop and line dancing classes and an “NIH Idol” video shoot.

oungsters’ faces demonstrated curiosity oungsters’ faces demonstrated curiosity Participant gets cozy with a hissing cockroach.

Some 3,450 children—a record number—accompanied their parents and guardians on Take Your Child to Work Day/Earth Day. The youngsters’ faces demonstrated curiosity, pride, attentiveness and, most importantly, enjoyment of the annual affair.

Photos: Bill and Ernie Branson

Youngsters jumped into hands-on activities around NIH. They got behind the lens in a professional photography studio, teamed up for the “Who Wants to be a Bioengineer?” quiz show and built take-home models of DNA. The Clinical Center offered several interactive workshops including “Robotic Surgery” and “Fantastic Voyage through the Department of Laboratory Medicine.”

Earth Day and Take Your Child to Work Day created an exciting time for all at NIH. Between learning about protecting the environment and finding out what a day in the life of a scientist is like, there was never a dull moment.NIHRecord Icon


back to top of page