Saturday, July 28, 2012

Acquiring an Orca Skeleton



            CA-189, the female transient orca that stranded and died near Dungeness Spit in January 2002, has been on quite a journey. The PTMSC has shared that journey with her. We helped dig up her buried bones in 2008, watched them leave for the Seattle NOAA facility for soaking, and then retrieved them again for further cleaning in 2009.
            Lee Post, aka “the bone man,” a skeleton specialist from Homer, Alaska, had been contacted long before and was offering detailed guidance since the start of the Orca Project. When he arrived to begin the articulation in January 2011, a group of more than 25 dedicated PTMSC volunteers, staff members and a large supporting cast of community members, was ready and eager to work with him. Thanks to their combined efforts, Hope’s skeleton was completed in less than four weeks.

            The preparation of Hope’s bones and their articulation represents a significant achievement for PTMSC and its community. In most museums, an articulation work space would have been closed to the public, with professionals assembling the skeleton. In contrast, PTMSC opened its doors and invited volunteers to join the project, regardless of their background. They brought their respective life skills as well as enthusiasm: artists, citizen scientists, writers, photographers, welders, boat riggers and more. Lee’s informal teaching and problem-solving style encouraged volunteers to join him in tackling the many challenges that arose during the work.

By Libby Palmer (an excerpt from the Fall 2011 Octopress)

            To learn more about Hope and the Orca Project click here.

This is one of 30 reasons to give $30 to celebrate 30 years. Or increase your impact and give more. All funds support the Future Fund to keep the PTMSC going strong. Donate online or call (360) 385-5582, ext. 104, or send a check to 532 Battery Way, Port Townsend, WA 98368.

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