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Local Girl Digs Science at Discovery Day at AT&T Park

Ten-year-old Skyler Bakken-French of Mill Valley is among tens of thousands of children and their parents who crowded around booths throughout the ballpark to participate in more than 170 interactive science exhibits to cap off the first annual Bay Area S

Ten-year-old Skyler Bakken-French of Mill Valley handled a human brain on Sunday at "Discovery Day," a super-sized science fair that took over AT&T Park for a day of hands-on science activities and performances to cap off the first annual Bay Area Science Festival.

Bakken-French visited various booths lining the park's field and hallways this afternoon, including one exhibit in which she handled a human brain.

"It was gross -- it felt slimy," she said. When asked what drew her to the Discovery Days event, the Mill Valley resident said, "I love science."

Bakken-French was among tens of thousands of children and their parents crowded around booths throughout the ballpark to participate in more than 170 interactive science exhibits - from squid dissections and DNA experiments to booths allowing visitors to handle an array of human organs.

The University of California at San Francisco and Chevron teamed up to present today's free event -- which a festival spokesman said drew more than 21,000 people – bringing together scientists from Bay Area universities, non-profits and biotechnology companies to promote science education.

"The more we can develop, create and educate about the importance of technology and science...the more impact we'll have on health care...and on our society," said Jeffrey Bluestone, executive vice provost at UCSF today during a morning reception at AT&T Park to kick off today's event.

Bluestone said UCSF wanted to sponsor the regional science festival, which ran from Oct. 26 through this afternoon, to help highlight the Bay Area as a hub for scientific and technological innovation and to spur children's interest in science.

Out on the field, thousands of kids and adults lined up to get their hands on over a dozen different exhibits within the "Young Explorers' Area" this afternoon.

Cedar Falk, 9, learned about electro-magnetism after trying to lift one at the Tech Museum's booth along the field's end zone today. The San Francisco resident said he also learned a lot about sharks today after getting to touch sets of sharks' teeth at one exhibit.

"They have a lot of teeth in their mouth and they're all very sharp," he noted.

Today's science festival attendees added to the roughly 50,000 people who attended related events throughout the Bay Area earlier over the past two weeks, taking part in everything from health seminars and science equipment giveaways for educators to stargazing sessions.

Perry said the festival would likely take place again next year.

--Bay City News Service

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