The staff and volunteers of the Maine Coastal Island National Wildlife Refuge invite families and educators to their Visitor Center, 9 Water St., for the official opening of the Seabird Island Family Adventure Saturday July 9, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In this new outdoor interactive space, parents and children can learn together about seabirds and the science involved in protecting them. Through active exploration and imagination, families will become guest scientists and set sail to a replica coastal island where they will be able to use many of the real tools and techniques biologists use to learn about and protect migratory seabirds.

To celebrate the opening of the Seabird Island Family Adventure, there will be a lecture about the importance of nature in early childhood development and a Seabird Story Hour from 10 to 11 a.m. The lecture “Of Babies and Birds: How nurturing young children helps protect seabirds” will be presented by Dr. Adrian Cerezo, a world-renowned expert in child development and biodiversity conservation. While children enjoy a seabird story and activity, parents can participate in this program.

In this lecture, early childhood professionals will have an opportunity to learn more about the importance of nature in their work, and about the importance of their work in building healthy, resilient and sustainable communities. They also will discover practical approaches to make homes and child care centers more “nature like” in ways that improve social, cognitive and physical development. Certification hours may be available. Wildlife conservation professionals will learn about the human and social aspects of sustainable development and how investing in young children is a key piece of the conservation puzzle.

The seabird island replica also will be open for families to explore between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. For more information, call 594-0600, ext. 5.