Friday, October 24, 2014

Be A Toxic Free Zone in the Natural History Exhibit

Come see what's new in our Natural History Exhibit! Just in time for our currently running workshop series "Be A Toxic Free Zone," we've completed the installation of a new exhibit panel. The interactive display invites you to explore how the choices you make in your own home can positively affect the health of the ocean. 
Allison, Phil and Jean hard at work installing the new panel.
We have already had great conversations with visitors about changes they can make to ensure their homes and waterways are free of toxics. Stop by and see the latest addition to our exhibit!

The panel is a hit!
If you're interested in attending our free Be A Toxic Free Zone workshop series, you can find the schedule and other information here: Be A Toxic Free Zone

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Tides and Eddies of Puget Sound

the second installment of The Future of Oceans Lecture Series

with generous support by the Darrow Family

Sunday, November 2 @ 3pm
Fort Worden Chapel

$10 admission ($5 PTMSC members)

November’s lecturer, Parker MacCready, is Professor of Oceanography in the University of Washington’s College of the Environment. He has worked for the past 15 years studying tidal currents and general circulation of Pacific Ocean waters, including a number of projects in Puget Sound and the San Juans. His work combines detailed field studies with realistic computer models, trying to discover the processes that turn the energy of tides, winds, and rivers into the circulation patterns that control the biological productivity of the Puget Sound estuary.

In this talk he will explore the tides in Puget Sound, from their astronomical origin to the the extraordinary fronts and eddies so apparent to boaters. This then leads to consideration of the turbulent mixing these eddies cause, and how they drive a large, persistent current of deep Pacific water though the Sound. It is this circulation, many times greater than that of all our rivers, that brings nutrients which feed the abundant growth of phytoplankton in our waters.

MacCready began his exploration of moving fluids with human-powered vehicles. His research career was stimulated when his father, Paul MacCready, created the first human powered aircraft, the Gossamer Condor. As a teenager, Parker MacCready was one of its first cyclist/test pilots. Their second aircraft, the 70 lb. Gossamer Albatross, hangs in Boeing’s Museum of Flight, in Seattle: this was the first human powered vehicle to cross the 22-mile wide English Channel, on June 12, 1979. At California Institute of Technology, the younger MacCready built a human powered hydrofoil craft, the ‘Pogofoil’, for his Master of Science degree. He then completed his Ph.D. research at University of Washington, producing a new theory of the circulation of the deepest layers of the ocean, which overturned traditional ideas about the way the ocean interacts with its coasts and bottom.

The Future of Oceans Lecture Series: With more than seven-tenths of the planet’s surface covered in salt water, the future health of our oceans is critical. Join the PTMSC for a series of five lectures on The Future of Oceans the first Sunday of every month, from October through March, (except January due to holidays) to learn about topics such as El Niño, the tides and eddies in Puget Sound, what’s beneath the Salish Sea, Arctic images, and ocean acidification. All lectures are at Fort Worden and the series is provided by the generous support of the Darrow family.

see the poster here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

If You Give An Octopus a Camera...

Octopus Handling 101: As fun as it might seem at the time, it's probably not the best idea to entrust a wiggly octopus with your underwater camera. Although we thought it would be fascinating to have Inky film the inside of her tank and get her perspective on life at the Marine Science Center, it turned out that she was more interested in playing with the camera than filming with it! 

First we attempted to retrieve the camera with grabbers, but Inky was having far too much fun to let go just yet. We were worried she would try to open the camera to see if there was some food hidden inside!

We finally managed to retrieve the camera (while still filming!) with the skillful use of several nets. We offered her a treat in return for the camera, but Inky seemed put out at losing her favorite new toy. 

You can view the footage Inky shot (with appearances by Shannon, Carolyn and Rae) on our YouTube channel: 

DO WELL BY DOING GOOD - Estate Planning for You, Your Family and Your Community

photo by Jamie Montague

November 5th, 2014 
3 – 5 p.m.
Natural History Exhibit at Fort Worden State Park       

You are invited to join three knowledgeable professionals for a free seminar on estate planning. Learn how to make an estate plan that will benefit you, your loved ones, and the organizations you support. You will learn what to include in your will, how to avoid probate, which gifts to leave to heirs and which to charitable causes to get the best tax advantages, how to receive income while making a gift during your lifetime, and other strategic giving options. An estate plan can help you provide for your family, as well as leave a lasting legacy through the non-profit organization(s) of your choice. Planned gifts offer people of all income levels a way to make a difference for future generations.

The seminar will be conducted by:
  • Stephen C. Moriarty, Attorney at Law, specialist in estate planning  with the firm of Platt, Irwin and Taylor;
  • Betty A. Abersold, Investment Advisory Associate, Girard Securities, Inc.
  • John Mackey, Certified Public Accountant with the firm of Gooding, O’Hara and Mackey

You will not be solicited in any way, nor will any particular investment products or methods be promoted.  The seminar is free and open to everyone. Please call 385-5582, ext 101 with questions or to RSVP.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Be A Toxic Free Zone Workshops

This workshop is FREE and open to the public. 

Every Wednesday 2-4 pm
Start Date: Wednesday Oct 15
End Date: Wednesday Nov 19

Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
2333 San Juan Ave, Port Townsend

Port Townsend Marine Science Center staff offer a six-week class to help you reduce your personal daily exposure to toxic chemicals, and to share how toxics are regulated, how they move through the environment and how to take action to address this issue in our society. This workshop is funded by the WA Dept. of Ecology and the Foss and Horizon Foundations. All materials will be provided.

Sign up ONLINE HERE. or call Megan Veley at 607-319-9344.

Monday, September 8, 2014

el Niño-The Boy Wonder of World Weather

the first installment of The Future of Oceans lecture series

with generous support by the Darrow Family

Sunday, October 5 @ 4pm
Fort Worden Chapel

The Port Townsend Marine Science Center (PTMSC) is offering the first lecture in a series titled The Future of Oceans on Sunday, October 5, 2014 at 4 p.m. in the Chapel at Fort Worden.

El Niño—the Boy Wonder of World Weather is being presented by noted ocean researcher, Michael McPhaden, senior scientist at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle. Admission is $10 and $5 for PTMSC members. Students and teachers with ID will be admitted free of charge.

“We’re honored to welcome a speaker and scientist of Dr. McPhaden’s caliber to launch our The Future of Oceans lecture series,” said Janine Boire, executive director for the PTMSC. “He is the driving force behind the world’s largest scientific detector, NOAA’s ‘TAO’ array of deep-sea instrument moorings that span one quarter of the Earth’s circumference.”

The October 5 lecture will focus on El Niño, the year-to-year seasonal differences often reflect the chaotic nature of the atmosphere. But variations in the climate system, the most prominent of which is El Niño, can also influence seasonal weather patterns in the Northwest. Together with its companion La Niña, characterized by periods of unusually cold tropical Pacific waters, these two phenomena comprise the strong year-to-year fluctuation of the climate system on the planet.

This lecture will describe what causes El Niño and La Niña, how they affect our weather, how we measure and predict them, and how they may change in the future as concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere increase.

McPhaden is also an affiliate professor at the University of Washington. He is an author of some 300 scientific papers, and has mentored many successful graduate Ph.D. students. He recently served as president of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), a 62,000 member body which represents many facets of oceanography and earth sciences. Visit him at

The Future of Oceans Lecture Series: With more than seven-tenths of the planet’s surface covered in salt water, the future health of our oceans is critical. Join the PTMSC for a series of five lectures on The Future of Oceans the first Sunday of every month, from October through March, (except January due to holidays) to learn about topics such as El Niño, the tides and eddies in Puget Sound, what’s beneath the Salish Sea, Arctic images, and ocean acidification. All lectures are at Fort Worden and the series is provided by the generous support of the Darrow family.

see the poster here.

view the slideshow presentation here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Marine Biology Camp

Marine Biology camp started off this year with two fun activities- campers printed their t-shirts using an actual fish, and out on the dock we collected plankton samples to look at in the lab under a microscope.  We ended the day with a scavenger hunt on the beach, where campers looked for signs of animal and plant life, as well as elusive nurdles!

On Tuesday we started the morning in our Marine Exhibit, learning about the animals in our touch tanks- some of which we’d see later that day on the beach! One focus was the identifying characteristics of four major marine phyla- Cnidaria, Echinodermata, Arthropoda and Mollusca!

Before we headed out to the tidepools, everyone gathered together to feed Maddie the Giant Pacific Octopus. More than one camper shouted “release the kraken” when we gave Maddie a couple herring on a toy boat which she gleefully capsized for our entertainment.

After hunting for animals in the tidepools, we took a walk down the beach collecting trash as we went. Everyone got very eager to find some garbage when they heard there would be a prize!

We left the Marine Science Center on Wednesday for a field trip to some nearby mudflats, where campers rotated between digging up clams, sieving for worms, netting fish, and illustrating the animals they’d seen so far in their journals. One group dug up 92 clams! 

On Thursday our campers got to participate in a model of a marine food chain with plankton, herring, salmon, harbor seals and orcas. Of course, everyone wanted to be an orca! This set up our class on biomagnification, and we all learned that life at the top isn’t always so great when there are toxics in the water accumulating up the food chain.

The highlight of the day was using a 150-foot seine net to catch and examine animals living in an eelgrass bed just off shore. Everyone worked together to haul the net on to the beach. We collected the animals into a pool and examined juvenile salmon, fried-egg jellyfish, silverspot sculpins, and many more! All of the fish were then released back into the water.

On our last day together our campers got a chance to take an up-close look inside a fish during the herring dissection- although not everyone wanted to get that close! We learned how a herring’s organ systems work together to help the herring survive. We also worked as a team to reassemble the skeleton of a juvenile gray whale, comparing his bones to our own.

For our final activity together, everyone got to vote and pick a whale for our life-size sand sculpture on the beach! The winner was a 16 foot beluga whale, and our campers worked together to build it with buckets of wet sand. It was a great way to conclude the camp, and an example of how everyone worked together all week to help make camp fun and interesting!

A big thank-you to all our wonderful campers for a great week, we hope to see you next year!
-Carolyn Woods (Intern & Camp Counselor)