Monday, June 1, 2020

Orca Skeleton ARTiculation!

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the Port Townsend Marine Science Center created Orca ARTiculation. The community-oriented project allowed supporters to use their artistic skills to recreate the skeleton of “Hope,” the transient orca whose articulated bones are suspended from the ceiling of the PTMSC Museum. 

Notably, the project was undertaken during the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, which closed the Museum and Aquarium and imposed strict social-distancing measures.

Orca ARTiculation was spearheaded by AmeriCorps Natural History Educator Ellie Kravets. 

"I love looking for opportunities for people to take some aspect of the greater Salish Sea ecosystem and make it their own,” Ellie said. “At the PTMSC, we have this incredible resource in the Orca Bone Atlas to bring one part of our unique ecosystem right into our homes.” 

Starting on April 20, Ellie began sending emails to registrants with line art files of specific orca bones. 

“We encourage you to get creative with your bones!” Ellie wrote. “Feel free to print out our image files and color them, paint them digitally, or recreate your bones in the real world using found or recycled materials. The possibilities are endless - we can’t wait to see what you create!”

The instructions explained that completed bone art should be placed in front of a solid, contrasting background – such as a floor, wall, or curtain – and one or more photos should be taken at roughly the same angle as depicted in the original line art. Participants were asked to make sure all the images were well lit and in focus, without any dramatic shadows or moody ambiance. 

Following these steps allowed Ellie to compile the completed images and rearticulate the orca digitally for all to enjoy.

“I hope this project sparks curiosity in our participants, and I’m so excited to see the results," Ellie said as the May 31 deadline approached. 

Now completed, the Orca ARTiculation project is featured on the PTMSC website to further educate viewers about the story of Hope: her life, her stranding and how her skeleton came to the Museum.  

Friday, May 22, 2020

Seeking Environmental Educators for 2020-2021 AmeriCorps Term!

Seeking Environmental Educators for 2020-2021 AmeriCorps Term!
Join our fast-paced, fun organization and support our mission:
Inspiring Conservation of the Salish Sea

The Port Townsend Marine Science Center (PTMSC) is seeking four Environmental Educator AmeriCorps Members to join our team dedicated to conserving the Salish Sea. These are full-time 10 ½ month positions starting October 1, 2020. These stipend-supported positions are sponsored by the Washington Service Corps AmeriCorps program. These positions are contingent upon funding. 

See the Recruitment Flyer for more information including position descriptions and application instructions. 

PRIORITY DEADLINE: June 12th, 2020

Virtual Low Tide Walk Events

Join us (remotely) for a series of online streaming Low Tide Walk events! Instead of our usual public programs, we’re going to be hosting a social-distancing friendly version. You can participate from home via social media during the scheduled event time, or visit a local tide pooling spot near you (while following current social distancing and recreation safety guidelines) for a self-guided experience. 

  • Tuesday May 26th:
    Low of -1.8 ft @ 1:09pm (posting time: ~12:30pm - 1:30pm)
  • Sunday June 7th:
    Low of -2.9 ft @ 11:40am (posting time: ~11:15am - 12:15pm)
  • Sunday July 5th:
    Low of -2.7 ft @ 10:40am (posting time: ~10:00am - 11:00am)

Staying home? Tune in to the Stories on our Instagram page @ptmarinescictr during the scheduled program time for broadcasts from local tidepools. Stories are visible from your mobile device or web browser if you’re logged in to Instagram; stories are visible for 24 hours after being posted, and will be saved as Highlights after that. 

Going out? Here’s a list of some local beach access/tide pooling spots - choose one close to you and make sure to follow current social distancing guidelines if you do go out. Have a back-up location in mind in case you arrive to a full or crowded parking lot (even better, walk or bike in). Remember to Leave No Trace! Take only pictures, pack out your trash if receptacles are full or unavailable. Keep in mind that in many places, restrooms are closed.   
State parks are currently open to local day-use only.  
Jefferson county parks and trails are open except: campgrounds, playgrounds, sport courts, and restrooms. 
-Fort Worden State Park (Discover Pass required)
-North Beach County Park (head either direction from parking lot)
-Boat Haven beach (limited parking at Larry Scott trailhead)
-Fort Townsend State Park (Discover Pass required)
-Fort Flagler State Park (Discover Pass required)
-Indian Island County Park (limited parking)
-Point Hudson (limited parking)

Here’s a guide on Tidepool Etiquette so you can observe good manners while you’re in the home of intertidal animals and keep them (and yourself) safe. If you find something interesting while you’re tidepooling, you can share it and tag us if you have any questions (@ptmarinescictr on Instagram). You can also post photos of animals, plants, or unknown living things to iNaturalist for identification from the community.

If you have children in your household, here’s a Tidepooling Scavenger Hunt activity to try while you’re out! 

Tide pooling at Kinzie Beach in Fort Worden State Park

Monday, May 4, 2020

LIVE From The Aquarium

In our aquarium, spring is in the air: there's new creatures in our tanks. Our aquarium curator Ali Redman will guide you through the tanks on a personalized tour!
Even though our aquarium is closed to the public, we can still bring the aquarium happenings to you with Facebook Live!
Part of our GiveBIG 2020 Fundraising Campaign to raise $20K to support our mission to inspire conservation of the Salish Sea.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Anne Murphy Ocean Stewardship Scholarship

Accepting applications for the annual Anne Murphy Ocean Stewardship Scholarship
Please share this information!

The Port Townsend Marine Science Center is pleased to announce the annual $1,500 Anne Murphy Ocean Stewardship scholarship for a graduating East Jefferson county senior.
Applicants should be graduating seniors from a public or private school, or a home-schooled student who expects to complete high school level instruction by June 2020.  The person who wins this scholarship will be selected on the basis of his or her demonstrated interest in science and the environment. Having volunteered on behalf of education about or conservation of the Salish Sea is especially desirable, particularly at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center. The scholarship may be used for tuition, books, or living expenses while pursuing higher education.

To apply for the scholarship, please go to and search for "Anne Murphy Ocean Stewards Scholarship". Questions, please contact Liesl Slabaugh, Development and Marketing Director, at or 385-5582 x101.

Applications are due by May 22, 2020. The winner will be selected and notified by May 30.  The award will be given at the school’s award ceremony or another event TBD.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Nature Break: Sound Mapping

If you’re looking for a reason to get outside (and learn something new at the same time) nature journaling is a great way to get started! We’re going to be posting prompts and ideas for journaling each week and encourage you to follow along and share what you create.  

Everyone’s heard the advice to stop and smell the roses but what about stopping and listening to the sounds of nature and your neighborhood? You might be surprised at what you hear when you focus on just one sense! Making a sound map can be a great way to keep track of what’s in the environment around you. What might be something nearby that you can hear, but not see?

Try this: divide your page into four equal sections, with yourself at the middle. You can label your quadrants like a compass if you know which way is North; or mark your orientation with landmarks you choose. Set a timer for a brief listening period (try one minute) while you close your eyes and focus on listening. Then, mark down what you heard!

Sound Map of Fort Worden beach, June 22nd 2018

  • How do the sounds you hear change depending on the time of day? What about changes depending on the day of the week, or the change of seasons? Make a series of sound maps to find out.  
  • How does what you hear compare with someone else? Create a sound map in the same time and place with someone else in your household, and compare/contrast!
  • Want a resource to identify the bird sounds you’re hearing? The Audubon Bird ID app is a great field guide for North American birds - and it’s free! 

If you choose to go outside for nature journaling, be sure to stay safe and follow public health guidelines for social distancing and local closure notices. Nature journaling can be done safely from home in your backyard, porch, balcony, or even a window! Tag us on Instagram @ptmarinescictr to share your journal. 

Friday, April 10, 2020

Take A (Nature) Break!

You can find things to journal about in your own backyard!

If you’re looking for a reason to get outside (and learn something new about the natural world at the same time) nature journaling is a great way to get started! It's a practice we often use in education programs and can easily be done at home. We’re going to be posting prompts and ideas for journaling and encourage you to follow along and share what you create by tagging us on Instagram: @ptmarinescictr

Not sure where to start? Here’s a previous post with some ideas on what tools might help you get started.

If you don’t have a journal or sketchbook handy, you can make your own! Here’s one method for a DIY journal; for an even easier version, you can find instructions on how to fold an 8-page mini zine online.

You can also use a stapler in Step 3 instead of a needle and thread. 

While taking breaks in nature is a great way to learn, it’s important to follow current public health guidelines to keep yourself and others safe. Keep trips local (ideally walking distance within your own neighborhood!) and avoid any unnecessary stops.

Happy journaling!