Wednesday, April 25, 2012

(Re)creating Our Marine Exhibits

Spring is here, the sun has been (somewhat) shining, and we had our season opening last weekend!  And while it would be great if we could just set up a little elevator off the pier that fish could board to get into our tanks, getting things running is actually a bit more difficult...

It takes a great deal of effort on the part of all of our staff members to get this place into operational order; from cleaning the floors, to blasting barnacles out of our lines, to "coaching" anemones into place, every staff member has played a very important role.
Claudia and Elise check and clean the exhibit signs

It all starts with cleaning...and boy, what a great deal of spring cleaning happens around here!  Jen, Jamie, Claudia, myself and one brave volunteer, Nathan, tackled the floors, windows, murals, signs, and stainless steel.


For the record, no mussels were harmed
or eaten during the setup of this tank...

Then came the tank setup.  With lots of glue, abdominal muscles, and power tools the big tanks were up!  Chrissy expertly helped us to assemble a woody habitat, collect and combine clumps of eelgrass, adhere mussels to our piling tank, and create a precariously balanced pile of rocks.

Rocky habitat collection
for crabs, sea stars, pricklebacks,
and more!

Once our habitat was in place we were ready for animals!  To accomplish this took six days of collection at five sites over one month, plus help from Washington Fish and Wildlife and some local divers.  With a total of over 45 different species collected, we spent a good deal of time identifying and recording animals, figuring out their feeding habits, and matching them to the most appropriate habitat tank.


More baby
silver spotted sculpins??
And would you believe it...there is still more to be done!  AND this happens every year!!  We are continually discovering animals under our dock and will be leading school groups in additional seining.  Like so many things in life the marine exhibit is a process more than a finished product.  So even if you had the opportunity to visit us this last weekend, come back in a few weeks to see what has changed!  By purchasing an annual membership you can visit as often as you'd like for FREE!  Visit our website for all the details.  And keep updated on our newest creatures by following us on Facebook!


Photobomb!  Claudia, Elise, and Chrissy sein for fish


Happy spring!
Elise



Come visit us!  Spring hours are Friday-Sunday, 12-4pm.  Adults/$5, children/$3, kids under 6 free!!


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