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Environmental Factor, July 2013

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Records set on family day at NIEHS

By Eddy Ball

boy playing with bubbles

For most of the temperate June morning, kids, little and not so little, played on the grass beside the lake. Some visitors entertained themselves with making bubbles. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

More than 100 youngsters, ranging from toddlers to teens, enjoyed fun, exercise, and creative learning June 20 at the 2013 NIEHS Bring Your Family to Work Day. Organized by the NIEHS Administrative Services and Analysis Branch Employee Services (ES) Group and Health and Safety Branch (HSB), the event mobilized scientists, administrators, and other employees from across the Institute as volunteers, to make the event a resounding success that set new records for the annual program.

Nature did its part as well, with one of the most pleasant summer days imaginable, encouraging NIEHS parents and their children to play on the lakeside patio — throwing Frisbees, frolicking at the Be Active Kids Playmobile, strolling along the lake as part of a scavenger hunt and nature walk, and competing in the annual cakewalk.

Just before lunch, younger visitors moved inside for the first in a series of fun science-learning activities with the Science of Sound, as teens explored Career Options in the Biomedical Sciences. Following a lunch break that featured a welcome from NIEHS and NTP Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., the learning fun continued.

Along with tours of NIEHS, the afternoon highlighted science with a hands-on and humorous twist, with sessions on Who Ate the Cake, Fun With Histology, Waters the Matter Here, Allergies and the Family, MRI and Magnets, and U N ME N UV (You and Me and Ultraviolet).

Jessica Williams, Ph.D. pitching a disk

The playful mood was infectious, as normally serious-minded scientists hit the turf to show off their athletic skills. Research fellow Jessica Williams, Ph.D., above, tried her hand at pitching a disk. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Jenn Evans and Cynthia Radford

For ES staffers Jenn Evans, left, and Cynthia Radford, the hard work paid off handsomely, with an opportunity to get in touch with their inner child. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Vee Vee Shropshire

HSB industrial hygienist Vee Vee Shropshire was on the job to make sure everyone played safely — and to enjoy some quality time herself outdoors with the kids. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Dick Sloane during the Science of Music presentation

Meanwhile, the fun continued indoors, as ES staffer Dick Sloane, right, and a team of volunteers introduced concepts of sound in their Science of Music presentations. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Mike Humble, Ph.D. help children with a science activity

Program administrator Mike Humble, Ph.D., was one of many NIEHS volunteers who left their computers and experiments behind, as they jumped in to help the kids with science activities. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

girl painting

Others enjoyed activities closer to the ground. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Mike Fessler, M.D.

Lead researcher Mike Fessler, M.D., enjoyed the opportunity for some quality time with his children, during normally busy working hours. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Linda Birnbaum welcomes the families

Like many family and employee events at NIEHS, this one featured a welcome from Birnbaum, who reminisced about bringing her daughter Lisa to work, as part of the same program 25 years earlier. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)


The cakewalk is always a big draw, and this year was no exception. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

children playing on an oscilloscope

As soon as the little ones learned they could even see sound on the oscilloscope, a line formed of kids waiting their turn to play. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Ed Kang and son Ian

As Bring Your Child to Work Day came to a close, ES manager Ed Kang and son Ian showed just how much fun everyone had playing and learning. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

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