Thursday, February 2, 2023

Library to host ‘touch tank’ for Chesapeake Bay Day

A Blue Catfish, an invasive species in the Chesapeake Bay. (Courtesy Williamsburg Regional Library)

The Chesapeake Bay touches many aspects of life in Tidewater Virginia, from the food its residents eat to the pastimes they enjoy.

Now the Williamsburg Regional Library is offering the community the chance to reach out and touch the Bay and learn about its ecosystem.

The library is hosting Chesapeake Bay Day July 18, according to a press release from WRL.

The day will offer programs that highlight the aquatic creatures that inhabit the Bay — both indigenous and invasive.

Chesapeake Bay Day begins with the arrival of the Virginia Aquarium’s Touch Tank at the James City County Library between 1 and 2 p.m. The program will allow children and adults to gently handle Chesapeake Bay wildlife such as spider crabs, the eastern murex and whelks.

Educators from the Virginia Aquarium will be present to answer questions and explain the role these invertebrate creatures play in the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. Marine artifacts from the bay will also be on display.

Library-goers will have the chance to learn more about the Bay’s fragile ecosystem between 3 and 4 p.m. The Virginia Institute of Marine Science will present the history of the Blue Catfish, which were introduced into the Bay in the 1960s.  

Vaskar Nepal, a Ph.D. student with VIMS, will explain efforts to mitigate the impact these invasive fish have on the Bay’s ecosystem.

“The health and vibrancy of the Chespeake Bay is a topic that’s of great interest to anyone who lives in this area,” said Melissa Simpson, WRL’s adult services division director. “We are excited to have scientists from the Virginia Aquarium and VIMS out here to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with our users of all ages.”

The James City County Library is located at 7770 Croaker Road, Williamsburg, VA 23188.

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