Friday, January 23, 2015

2015 Wildlife Cruise Dates Now Available!

 Our cruises are hosted by seasoned naturalist Roger Risley, who provides excellent commentary on the natural history of the island and the wildlife sighted. Join us a 2015 cruise!


photos provided courtesy of Casey Gluckman

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Reflection on Communicating Conservation

Communication is not usually something we think about past grade school. We learn to read, write, converse, but once we've learned we just start using these skills without much additional thought. Words have a huge impact on people, and I've noticed that when I am trying to communicate environmental issues to the public I now think more carefully about how my words will mold their experience.

The Port Townsend Marine Science Center is going through many changes this year as we are designing and building new exhibits (made possible by a Public Participation Grant from the WA Department of Ecology). New exhibits also give us an opportunity to re-think how we communicate tough environmental issues. One of the first exhibits to get a face lift was a panel that was previously titled “Am I Contaminated Too?”  A picture of a little girl stared down at visitors surrounded by paragraphs about toxic chemicals that have been leaching from our industrialized lives into the environment and our own bodies. It was very grim. Our volunteer docents even avoided talking about the panel with visitors because of its negative tone and wordiness. We spent many hours designing the old exhibit, but it just wasn't an image that inspired people into action.

Change came in the form of our “Be A Toxic Free Zone” workshop, a free program that the Science Center has been providing for members of the Port Townsend community. My role was to help the design team translate the workshop’s emphasis on personal and community actions into a new interactive panel (briefly mentioned in an October Blog post).  Many design and text iterations later we came up with a magnetic panel that invited visitors to replace toxic household items with non-toxic alternatives. Lo and behold, the panel has been a success! Volunteers and visitors now engage with the new panel and try their hand at making their world a “toxic free zone.” 

AmeriCorps Member Allison Kellum installs “Be a Toxic Free Zone” interpretive panel 
in the Natural History Exhibit with PTMSC staff Phil Dinsmore and Jean Walat.

There has also been a large amount of crossover between workshop participants and exhibit docents. People have been so impacted by what they learned about toxics in the workshop that they are now sharing what they learned with others. To help them communicate these ideas, they are using the new display to illustrate actions that we can all take to help the Salish Sea.

I hone my communication skills every day when I type up an e-mail or catch up with a volunteer, but it’s been incredible to learn how strategic framing can take a conversation from negative to positive, from apathy to action.

by Allison Kellum, AmeriCorps - Natural History and Volunteer Educator

This Blog post is from a "Story of Service" submission to AmeriCorps and the Corporation for National and Community Service. We have four AmeriCorps Members serving for the '14-'15 term at the Science Center and they are deeply involved in almost every aspect of the organization. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Film Screening and Lecture: Beneath the Salish Sea and new productions

the third installment of The Future of Oceans Lecture Series

with generous support by the Darrow Family

December 7 @ 3pm

Fort Worden Chapel

$10 admission ($5 PTMSC members)

The Port Townsend Marine Science Center is excited to have underwater videographer Florian 
Granar. Granar will be showing sequences from Beneath the Salish Sea as well as footage from recent projects here and in Europe. 

    Florian Granar holds  a Ph.D. Marine Biology with specialization in marine mammals and works full-time as a freelance marine cinematographer. Being a qualified marine biologist, he brings professionalism and extensive subject knowledge to his films.  

    Granar’s cinematography assignments have taken him around the planet. He has worked on many film assignments for the BBC including PACIFIC ABYSS, AMAZON ABYSS and THE BLUE PLANET; the UK documentary company Icon Films; the German television company NDR Naturfilm.  He is currently completing a presentation for National Geographic Channel. 

    Florian grew up diving in Germany, and became a certified research diver with the Biological Institution Helgoland (B.A.H.). He has since lived (and dived) in Norway, along spectacular Sognefjord, Norway's longest and deepest fjord; and in the US, in quaint Pacific Grove, on California's scenic Monterey peninsula. Florian and his family now live on Whidbey Island, where he dives and  films in the waters of the Salish Sea.

    His production company, Sea-life Productions, films and produces wildlife documentaries. Florian is constantly pushing forward the boundaries, in terms of diving methods and camera technology, to bring unique images back to the surface. He hopes that this provides a resource for promoting the conservation of a truly global domain...the oceans.

    Visit him at, and for a trailer showing his work for a German film on the North Sea, view the video below.

View the event poster here.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Join us for a Winter Wildlife Cruise!

Our cruises are hosted by seasoned naturalist Roger Risley, who provides excellent commentary on the natural history of the island and the wildlife sighted. Join us on a cruise!

November 29

December 31

1-4 PM

For reservations and information: 
or book online at
Offered in partnership with and generous support from
Puget Sound Express

Since 1994, when the PTMSC started collaborating with PS Express, guests have been enjoying this great opportunity right in our own back yard. The cruises not only feature a comfortable boat, but also expert onboard commentary and the chance to better understand our local environment.

(DISCLAIMER: Depending on weather conditions, the cruise may go to either Protection Island or Oak Bay/Port Ludlow area.)

Friday, November 14, 2014

PTMSC Receives Grant For TEENS Projects

On Nov. 11th, the Jefferson County Community Foundation's Fund for Women and Girls awarded the Port Townsend Marine Science Center a $4000.00 grant for a project Titled "The TEENS project: Teens Envisioning & Engineering New Solutions." 

The project seeks to prepare and empower young women to be the next generation of change makers. Teen girls from middle and high school will explore public health and environmental challenges facing their communities and work together to create solutions utilizing the fields of science, technology, and math (STEM).

Friday, November 7, 2014

Octopus Sign Restoration

Restoration of the octopus sign on the Marine Exhibit is now complete (pretty much)! After many years weathering the elements the big blue octopus needed more than a little TLC.

Carolyn and Rae worked hard over the past month to sand and repaint the octopus sign. Working on tall ladders in the wind and rain was a fun challenge! 




Come stop by the Marine Exhibit to see the newly repainted sign in all its glorious detail!