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Traveling Touch Tank Takes a Tony

The Marine Biology Club’s Traveling Touch Tank recently received a Tony Diggs award for its outreach efforts.

Marine Biology Club students pose with critters

The Marine Biology Club recently received a Tony Diggs Excellence Award in the “Outstanding Program or Event” category for their Traveling Touch Tank program. The group brings marine invertebrates such as sea stars and horseshoe crabs to events and venues with an eye to providing K-12 students and the public with a hands-on opportunity to learn about ocean life.

“I’m so proud of them and the work they’ve done to receive this award,” said Dr. Sehoya Cotner, the group’s faculty supervisor. “In under two years, they’ve visited dozens of schools, environmental science fairs and clubs, and the Science Museum of Minnesota. I’m glad their hard work could be rewarded.”

The Tony Diggs Awards honor Tony Diggs, the former director of the Student Activities Office, and is designed to recognize student groups from the University of Minnesota that do outstanding work.

Linda Xiong, president of the Marine Biology club, appreciates the accolades, but also the opportunities to do outreach efforts with the larger Twin Cities community.

“My favorite experience is going out to the fairs and seeing parents bring their kids to our touch tank stations,” says Xiong. “Usually the kids are fascinated by the animals and want to touch everything. The parents, on the other hand, are even more interested in our critters. Their facial expressions and excitement at learning small facts about the animals always make me happy.”

April, 2016