Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lecture on biking the West Coast to end the age of disposable plastics!

"The man, who in the summer of 2008 sailed from California to Hawaii on a raft made of recycled and 'junk' materials, including 15,000 plastic bottles for flotation, is making another type of journey this spring.

Dr. Marcus Eriksen and his fiancée Anna Cummins are pedaling from Vancouver, BC to Tijuana, Mexico, with their first US stop at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center (PTMSC) for a presentation on Monday, April 6th at 7 p.m. at the Natural History Exhibit in Fort Worden State Park. Admission is $5 for PTMSC members and $7 for non-members.

Their goal is to further deliver their plea to end the age of disposable plastics by handing out Pacific Ocean gyre samples, giving presentations and talking with legislators during their 15 city tour."
-C. Pivarnik

BE THE CHANGE: Join us on this exciting evening to learn more about ending the age of disposable plastics!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Docent Training

Have you been dreaming about being a docent in the Marine Exhibit? Well now is your chance! We will be having docent trainings on Thursday evenings in April. The trainings will be from 5:45pm-8pm starting on Thursday, April 2nd and will run through Thursday, April 30th. Come join the PTMSC team and enhance your knowledge of marine life (plus we could use extra docents for shifts in the exhibits year round)!

If you are interested in becoming a docent please contact:
Jean Walat at (360) 385-5582 ext. 112 or

Friday, March 27, 2009

Seine Collection

google images

Today volunteers geared up in waders and hip boots to help us collect animals for our tanks. We used a seine net to help catch fish, crabs, shrimp and any other animals living in or near the eel grass beds.

UNFORTUNATELY we could only do 1.25 collections. At this moment you may be asking yourself how it is possible to do a .25 collection? Well folks this is where the adventurous part of being a PTMSC volunteer comes in: While Chrissy was rowing one of the oars became dislodged from the boat and she could no longer deposit the net in the ocean....let alone row into shore! Luckily some of our volunteers with waders on were able to wade out into the water and pull her in with her oar.

The fun didn't stop here though. Then, as we were hauling in the net, we discovered that the net was caught on something in the water! Chrissy and our new intern Lilly jumped back in the boat and pulled themselves along the line to free up the net. Luckily they were able to free the net without tearing it.

We did manage to catch a few animals today, despite the rough circumstances! We caught a few juvenile English Soles (Flat Fish) a Graceful Crab and a Dungeness Crab. All of our tanks are up and running beautifully and we are excited to re-open in April.

Our volunteers did a great job working together as a team (especially when it came time to carry the boat back to the dock)! Thank you to all of our volunteers who helped us out today.

Photos courtesy of Larry Osterman

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thank You!

This is one big thank you to all of the community members, sponsors, donors, supporters, volunteers, restaurants, and staff that made our annual Tides of March auction a success! We grossed $60,000, which is quite a number, especially in these times. We couldn't have done it without the generosity of so many people and, if you were helping in any way, now's the time to pat yourself on the back. It's wonderful to know that our community supports the efforts and goals of PTMSC, and we look forward to the next year with much excitement!

If you couldn't make it, Larry Kilburn was on the scene taking photos, which are now up on his site. If you did make it, maybe you can find yourself in some of his photos.

Here's to another year of excellent marine education in our communities and beyond!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Did You Hear?

Where were you on the evening of Thursday, March 19th? If you weren't listening to the PTMSC hydrophone then you were missing out! J Pod snuck by around midnight and, luckily, Scott Veirs of Beam Reach and the Salish Sea Hydrophone Network recorded their vocalizations and posted it on the Port Townsend Hydrophone site. To listen, go to the archived sounds section and scroll all the way down. The most recent recording is on the bottom. Live audio from any of the Salish Sea hydrophone nodes can also be played on iTunes, Real Player, or Winamp.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Letter of Reflection from a Board Member

Camile Speck, one of our board members who works for the Department of Fish and Wildlife, sent this email in response to her visit to the Marine Exhibit two weeks ago:

"I was lucky enough to get away from the office and participate in a shrimp test fishery in Discovery Bay yesterday. It was beautiful, mountains showing in all directions, and we had several glimpses of harbor porpoise. The whip cream on top of the layer cake of a day was seeing a female elephant seal dawdling about 10 feet off shore on the north side of Protection Island. On the way back to port we stopped at PTMSC’s marine exhibit to deliver some shrimp and graceful crab for displays….but what REALLY blew me away was learning that the people that take care of the critters have managed to maintain quite a few shrimp, rock scallops and a couple native clams from the WDFW display at the 2008 Wooden Boat Festival. (These animals were “retired” to PTMSC after they entertained 30,000 people who passed through the Festival.) These can be temperamental creatures to maintain in aquaria, making this another example of the amazingly good work by the staff and volunteers at PTMSC. (Keep in mind that shrimp are naturally diurnal migrators who go to great depths during the day and come to the shallows at night, and the clams are being maintained despite tank conditions that naturally lean toward anaerobic substrate….I’m impressed!)"

We were pleased to hear such a positive reflection in response to all the hard work we do here and wanted to share it with our readers!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

20 Tubes of Super Glue = Success

Photos courtesy of Chrissy McLean

Yesterday Brenda and I spent hours in our piling tank delicately super gluing mussels to the pilings! Who knew we would use so much super glue? Perhaps PTMSC should buy stock in it?

After a successful and creative day we turned the flow back on to the tank and watched all the creatures open up. It's wonderful to see the tank so full of life again! Come check out our giant tube worms and beautiful new mussels when the exhibit re-opens in April!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Muscles needed for gathering Mussels!

Chrissy (front) and Brenda (yellow pants) searching for mussels.
Photo by Allison Gravis

Today Chrissy, Brenda and I gathered mussels at the Port Townsend boat haven. The warm weather made it quite enjoyable...almost as fun as wearing the rubber pants! We found a variety of beautiful mussels to attach to the pilings in one of our tanks. We also gathered some giant tube worms and a variety of chitons and limpets. I hope you are as excited as I am to see the Marine Exhibit re-open this April!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Collection Day

We spent the later part of Wednesday at North Beach collecting beautiful rocks and searching for interesting critters to put in our tanks before re-opening in April. Chrissy and Keith volunteered to snorkel despite the cold temperatures and low visibility. Liza, Cheqa (our high school intern) and I hobbled along the rocky shoreline as the tide slowly came back in. While assisting our snorkeling team we searched for crabs, limpets, chitons, unique snails, nudibranchs and other small animals under rocks.

Cheqa found a feather boa attached to a rock that will be a great addition to one of our tanks. The snorkeling team also found a Sea Lemon Nudibranch and some rocks encrusted with sponge for it to feed on! We will collect again before we re-open in April and could use 1 or 2 volunteers to help carry the heavy buckets!

The other animals we collected will remain a mystery until you visit on opening weekend in April!

Allie and Liza collecting chitons.

Cheqa our wonderful high school intern.

Cheqa holding a feather boa!

All pictures were taken by Jason Green.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sunflower Star Treat

Last Tuesday, during Home Crew, we were lucky enough to see a sunflower star eating! Those of you who know sunflower stars know that it is rare to see these many-legged critters feeding, as they don't often show their underside to an audience. Luckily I had my camera, and took this video for all to see. Enjoy!

Press play button to view video.