Thursday, June 1, 2017

Big Announcement! The Anne Murphy Ocean Stewards Scholarship Winner Is...

The Port Townsend Marine Science Center is pleased to present the Anne Murphy Ocean Stewards Scholarship to Tyler Sudlow.
Tyler did his senior project at the Marine Science Center, volunteering as a docent for a total of over 30 hours. He said in his application regarding environmental conservation, "There is a lot to be done and the world needs people working to protect it. I am particularly fond of the marine environment and the Salish Sea because I have lived near it my whole life and my dad is an avid fisherman so I know the benefits it has to offer."

This scholarship was created as a way to honor the legacy that Anne Murphy created at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center during her 24 years there as Executive Director. Anne's passion for learning and a deep love of the marine environment helped create the Marine Science Center. This scholarship supports these qualities in graduating high school seniors as a way of sending these qualities from the Marine Science Center out into the world. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Day of the Orca

Port Townsend Marine Science Center kicks off Orca Month and it’s 35th Anniversary year with The Day of the Orca, June 3rd.  

Port Townsend Marine Science Center, 11am-5pm
Free Admission to Fort Worden State Park; Free Admission to PTMSC
Come help celebrate with us and learn about the Southern Resident and Transient Orca populations that swim these local waters. For thirty-five years the Port Townsend Marine Science has been dedicated to inspiring conservation of the Salish Sea for a healthier environment for orcas and all marine creatures. The Marine Science Center is home to one of only 8 fully articulated orca skeletons which is featured in the exhibit, Learning from Orcas. The exhibit tells this orca’s story and how our community came together to have her remains inspire all of us to take action for a healthier Salish Sea.
“What better way to begin our 35th year and celebrate Orca Month, than to partner with Puget Sound Express and the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce to create Orca Fest, a month long learning opportunity of these remarkable animals.” said Janine Boire, Executive Director, Port Townsend Marine Science Center. For more information and other events celebrating Orca Month go to:
June 3rd activities at PTMSC will include:
  • Welcome – with Port Townsend Marine Science Center Executive Director Janine Boire, and Jamestown S’Kallam tribal member and Chief Chetzemoka descendent Marlin Holden
  • Introduction to Our Orcas – with Ken Balcomb, founder of the Center for Whale Research, PTMSC Executive Director Janine Boire, and photographer and Puget Sound Express Naturalist Bart Rulon (Seating is limited)
  • How to ID Orcas – with Puget Sound Express Naturalist Bart Rulon
  • Get To Know Your Orcas session for children and families
  • Tours of Hope – one of only 8 fully-articulated orca skeletons in the world
  • Free Boat Tours on Puget Sound Express whale watching vessels
  • Listen to Orcas – Learn how orcas communicate and listen in via the Hydrophone Listening Network
Family-Oriented Art Projects take place throughout the day

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Become a Member Today & Celebrate 35 Years with Us!

There is an African proverb, If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. And look how far we’ve come together over the last three and half decades.

In this our 35th anniversary year we celebrate all of you, our members through the years, who have helped the Port Townsend Marine Science Center flourish. With your ongoing support we can do so much more. Your membership, joined with 625 others, makes possible programs like the recent gray whale project, free science classes, and the new energy efficient lighting systems in the Marine Exhibit.

We want you with us this year as we revel in the stories and celebrate all of us coming together for a healthier Salish Sea. Please renew your membership today and join us for a year of celebrations both looking back 35 years and looking forward to PTMSC’s exciting new programs including Birding from the Pier and Tots Storytime.

Janine Boire
Executive Director

P.S. Renew or join now to help reach the goal of 700 members which is just 20 people for each of our 35 years! Take action now and you will get an invitation to our members-only Party-on- the Pier, August 5th.

P.P.S Here’s a fun challenge: find the hidden octopus logo in the above graphic and win a prize! Claim your prize in the gift shop during open hours before June 30th.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Thank You for Giving BIG!

Thank you for your generous donation during the recent GiveBig campaign. Because of you, the one-day campaign ended with a total of $24,794, exceeding our goal of $22,000.

Didn't get a chance to donate on the Big Day? You can Donate now and help support kids summer camps today! 

The funds are critical now as we receive camp scholarship requests for families with financial need and as we work toward increasing our capacity to offer camps to more kids. In this time of computer games and screens, getting kids out to the beach to get sandy and wet, is transformative. Your generous donation will change lives. Thank you!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Spring Migration Cruise May 26th

Just outside of Port Townsend is an amazing National Wildlife Refuge — Protection Island. Nearly 70 percent of the nesting seabird population of Puget Sound and the Straits nest on the island, which includes one of the largest nesting colonies of rhinoceros auklets in the world and the largest nesting colony of glaucous-winged gulls in Washington. The island contains one of the last two nesting colonies of tufted puffins in the Puget Sound area. About 1,000 harbor seals depend upon the island for a pupping and rest area.
This 364-acre island is covered by grass and low brush, with a small timbered area, high sandy bluffs for seabird nesting, and low sand spits on two ends of the island.
The Port Townsend Marine Science Center – in collaboration with Puget Sound Express – hosts special expeditions to Protection Island. Cruises are scheduled in spring and fall, timed to coincide with annual migrations, with special trips planned for Thanksgiving weekend and New Years Eve.

Puget Sound Express hosts this special 2 hour expedition to Protection Island aboard the Red Head, with an on-board naturalist sharing information of bird and wildlife sightings.  On a recent Marine Science Center cruise, participants sighted a few tufted puffins, rhinoceros auklets, and an elephant seal among the harbor seals on the island beach. 

PS Express welcomes Marine Science Center members, volunteers, and the public with a special rate for the May 26 cruise of $45 for PTMSC members and $65 for nonmembers. The cruise departs from the Point Hudson Marina.
Location: 2333 San Juan Ave, Port Townsend, WA
Date: 5-26-2017

TIME: 3-5 pm

Apply Now for PTMSC Anne Murphy Scholarship for HS Seniors

The Port Townsend Marine Science Center is pleased to announce the annual $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 homeschooled student who expects to complete high school level instruction by June 2017.  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.  The scholarship may be used for tuition, books, or living expenses while pursuing higher education. To apply for the scholarship, please answer the questions below.  Applications may be emailed to or sent to Liesl Slabaugh, Development Director, PTMSC, 582 Battery Way, Port Townsend, WA 98368. You may also apply through Washboard by creating an account here.

Applications are due by May 22, 2017.   If you have questions, please call 385-5582 x101.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Marine Mammal Stranding Network Training

Through global efforts, stranding data gathered by scientists and volunteers alike has changed how we as environmentalists respond to stranded and entangled marine animals.
The stranding network of the Port Townsend Marine Science Center is responsible for managing stranding reports and other animal calls year-long. The work and science we do benefits marine life and the global environment, as well as the local community. We can examine stranded animals to determine not only what may have caused their deaths, but also to complete valuable research. Whales and dolphin research on most species is limited due to the elusive nature of the animals and the funding for field research. Training for working with these animals is essential. As a volunteer or scientist, one needs to know what they’re up against and how to educate the public. Betsy and I have been working hard to prepare a wonderful and thorough training to prepare volunteers to work with these animals properly.

Mattie Stephens, Marine Mammal Stranding Network Coordinator AmeriCorps
I have been working with marine mammals for three years, starting in a lab with where I articulated a bottlenose dolphin skeleton to put on display at Galveston Island State Park. During my senior year at Texas A&M at Galveston, I traveled to New Zealand working with Professor Bernd W├╝rsig to take part in a dusky dolphin research team. While there, I worked with the Department of Conservation on the first response team to a stranded Cuvier’s beaked whale stranded half an hour from base camp. When we arrived, he had been dead 15 minutes. This whale is the deepest diving whale. In accordance with the Maori culture and their respect for these animals, you must ask Maori authority in order to collect more than basic samples due to the sacredness of the animal. Therefore, I only collected blubber and muscle tissue samples with a Maori-approved researcher.

Cuvier's Beaked Whale stranded in New Zealand
It is uplifting to see a culture with such appreciation of animals; a sentiment I brought back with me and hope to spread back in the U.S. Here at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, our stranding network has an upcoming training Saturday, May the 27. The network is important for the Salish Sea because it helps the animals, researchers, and legislators.
The EJC MMSN is looking forward to new volunteers at the upcoming training. Come by and receive a stranding kit that will allow you to respond to live and dead animal reports throughout the EJC area and learn about the mammals in the Salish Sea. If you have been a MMSN volunteer, please know that we need you to attend this training or speak with Mattie Stephens or Betsy Carlson to remain on our volunteer list.
A healthy seal pup on the shores of Fort Worden - Photo Credit: Michael Tarachow
Marine Mammals play an integral role in the Salish Sea ecosystem, and volunteers are an important part of the stranding network! Become a trained responder through PTMSC and join in collecting important scientific data, working with live animals, and educating the public on our local marine mammals. Training attendance is required to join the network. Betsy and I hope to see you there!