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Book a goldmine of sound information
February 9, 1998

Long Island Sound contains more than $2 million worth of gold. But it is so widely dispersed, a gold digger would go broke trying to collect it! And if you place the Statue of Liberty on the floor of the Sound, it would make a very good lighthouse because it stands 86 feet higher than the water's surface.

These facts and many others can be found in Sound Facts: Fun Facts about Long Island Sound, a new booklet from the Connecticut Sea Grant College Program at the Avery Point campus in Groton. The 72-page booklet's text and illustrations demonstrating the unique qualities of the Sound originally appeared as a weekly feature in the science section of The Day newspaper in New London, from 1992 to 1993. The booklet also contains four previously unpublished Sound facts.

"It wasn't difficult at all to come up with fascinating trivia about Long Island Sound and its inhabitants because there were so many examples to choose from," says Peg Van Patten, communications director for Connecticut Sea Grant and one of the booklet's authors. "The beauty of the booklet is its appeal for all ages. We want people of all ages to discover the treasure at our feet that is Long Island Sound."

The booklet was co-authored by Milton Moore, arts editor of The Day, and Eamon O'Muin, the nom de plume of Ed Monahan, director of Connecticut Sea Grant. Monahan also is a professor of marine sciences. Sound Facts was produced through grants from the Environmental Protection Agency's Long Island Sound Study and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Sea Grant program.

Van Patten says she and her co-authors decided to publish the booklet because of the weekly feature's popularity.

"We knew we had a winner when some of us walked into area public schools and noticed they had all tacked Sound Facts on their bulletin boards," she says. "High school teachers and college professors began asking permission to copy them. It even got to the point where people stopped us on the street to say how much they liked them."

The concept has been adopted by the University of North Carolina, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and Kansas State Universiyt.

About 5,000 copies of the booklet have been printed so far, with orders coming in from middle and high schools, Connecticut College, The Maritime Aquarium, Eastern Connecticut State University and Three Rivers Community Technical College. Proceeds from sales will be used to provide copies to schools who cannot afford to purchase them and to reprint the booklet when supplies run out.

The booklet is available at the UConn Coop for $4.99.

Renu Aldrich