Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My First Teaching Adventure!

I am standing beneath the prickly branches of a pine tree near the Natural History Exhibit as the rain comes down. I gaze up at the hoard of squealing children tromping down the hill to meet me and I wonder, “What have I gotten myself into?” I am excited, but my enthusiasm is interlaced with nervous fear. Can I really teach 50 rowdy 5th graders? Yes I can, I tell myself as the first soggy kid reaches me and says, “I’m taller than you.” And so begins my very first teaching adventure at PTMSC.

Thankfully, standing beside me is Heather Jones, AmeriCorps alumni turned professional youth educator, who will be splitting the teaching load with me. Once all have gathered under the prickly pine tree, we introduce ourselves and break the group in half, one class follows at the heels of Heather, the other class swarms me.

The name of this particular eduction program is called Whales of the Salish Sea, or WOSS for short. It consists of eight marine science classes and spans over three days. Here’s a peak at what we do during these three glorious days!

We make observations about marine mammal skulls! This one is a harbor seal, notice the sharp teeth for holding slippery fish.

We become orcas and have to find our pod by using signature calls.

After learning about the diferent kinds of whales and talking about the life hisorty of gray whales, we put together Sprit, the young gray whale!

We become orca detectives and try to solve the mytery of Hope's death.

Everyone grabs a microscope and examines plankton- the base of the marine pyramid!

We hold a Town Hall meeting and vote on tidal turbines.
I am proud to say that my first teaching adventure was a success! We only broke one thing! All jokes aside, it was a truly fun and rewarding experience. These kids are our future. The health of the planet will one day be at their mercy, as it is at ours now. Perhaps the best thing we can do for our planet is to encourage our children to cherish nature, to love our oceans, and to play outside. Because once you love something, you want to protect it.


Danae Presler
Marine Mammal Stranding Network Educator

*Check out our website to see what other programs and camps we offer! http://ptmsc.org/ 


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

PTMSC noxious weed pull on MLK Day

Natural History Exhibit
Fort Worden State Park
Monday, January 21st
Noon to 3PM 

The AmeriCorps staff at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center invites you to join their Martin Luther King Day of Service for a noxious weed pull on the beach dunes at Fort Worden State Park, January 21st. The event will run from noon to 3pm, meeting in the portico of the Port Townsend Marine Science Center's Natural History Exhibit. Tools and limited gloves will be provided. Dress warmly and be prepared to work outside. For more information contact Amber Heasley at AHeasley@PTMSC.org or 385-5582 ext. 110. Photo courtesy of the PTMSC.  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Summer Camps 2013

At the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, our Summer Camps are great for kids exploring beaches, uncovering treasures hidden in our exhibits, playing games, making crafts and hiking through beautiful Fort Worden State Park. Our science campers come back year after year, and many of our past campers return again as camp counselors. Join us for a wet, sandy, adventurous, fun-filled week!
2013 Summer Camp dates:

New! Marine Science Under Sail 
July 6-7: overnight camp
(for ages 11-15 years)
Explore the marine science of Port Townsend Bay under sail on this
overnight adventure. Use hands-on science equipment aboard a 26 foot
Thunderbird sailboat and investigate intertidal marine life ashore. Join the
ranks of scientific explorers; explore, navigate, sail and experiment. Check
out this fun and exciting new program in collaboration with the Northwest
Maritime Center! To sign up: Contact NWMC, 360.385.3628 ext. 103 or

Junior Explorers (now offering two week-long sessions!)
June 24 – 28: AM session available
August 5 - 9: AM & PM camp sessions available 
(for ages 5-7 years)
Kids spend a week exploring and discovering marine and coastal life - animals, plants and secret spots. This half-day summer science camp is all about fun, hands-on activities in and around the Marine Science Center. This science camp is a great program for the younger camper who loves marine animals and exploring on the coast! Choose between a morning or afternoon camp.
Coastal Explorers
July 8 – 12: all day camp sessions (for ages 8-12 years)
Ready, set, explore by foot and by boat! Examine the varied coastal
environments of beach, glacial bluff, forest, pond and meadow. This is
the perfect camp for nature-loving kids who want to explore it all! Using
observation skills, campers discover how these places support life in the
coastal ecosystem. This is the perfect camp for nature-loving kids who
want to explore it all!

Marine Biology Day Camp
July 22 – 26: all day camp sessions (for ages 9-13 years) 
Immerse yourself in Marine Biology! Campers engage in exciting classes,
labs and field programs. A few of the many captivating activities include:
sieving through goopy sediments looking for brittle stars, pulling a seine
net through eelgrass beds to learn where young fish hide and using
microscopes to observe the plankton that supports all life in the sea.

Online Registration
To sign up your child for a PTMSC Summer Camp, please click on one of the links below. 
You will be directed to the online form. Fill out this form, then complete payment of the deposit or the full amount by sending in a check or completing a PayPal payment.

Junior Explorers PM (1 – 4PM) Aug 5-9

To register for Marine Science Under Sail, please proceed to http://www.nwmaritime.org/programs/ 

If you prefer a print registration form to print out and send in, click here

Please contact us at 360-385-5582 x104 or email info@ptmsc.org if you have questions regarding our summer science camps. Register online here. Download the 2013 PTMSC summer camp flier here. Scholarships are available to those who qualify.

We're looking forward to a great summer season!

Find us on Facebook and Twitter - get the latest updates and information on how you can inspire conservation of the Salish Sea.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

PTMSC Sponsors Ikkatsu: The Roadless Coast Olympic Peninsula Premier Showing

The Port Townsend Marine Science Center (PTMSC) will sponsor the film’s Olympic Peninsula premier on Tuesday, January 15th at Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 2333 San Juan Ave., in Port Townsend at 7 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for PTMSC members and $3 for youth.

With the debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami drifting on ocean currents toward the coast of North America, a small group of skilled sea-kayakers set out to document the flotsam as it began to come ashore along the remote and roadless Washington coast. Over the course of the summer, the team filmed their paddling adventures as well as the beach survey processes and the result is a 45-minute documentary that details every aspect of the project, from inception to completion.                                                         

This film is important, especially for Northwest residents, because it details an area that most people never see,” said Ken Campbell, one of the film’s producers and a kayaker and author. “Even those who hike portions of the coast aren't able to access many of the areas that this film explores. Beyond this, the roadless coast is part of a National Marine Sanctuary and a National Park. I think people will be surprised by how much debris there is out there and how difficult it will be to clean it up.”

The team is comprised of experienced paddling guides, each having a multi-year resume including multiple trips and expeditions to remote coastal environments. Ken Campbell has authored several books on Pacific Northwest kayaking and is a frequent contributor to print and online magazines on subjects relating to the outdoors and the environment. Steve Weileman is a documentary film-maker and photographer, with previous experience in Newfoundland and Alaska, as well as numerous locations throughout the Northwest. Jason Goldstein, the third member of the crew, began his kayaking career in Christchurch, New Zealand, and works as a cartographer and GIS specialist.
Pollution, specifically plastic and other floating debris, is a very real threat to our oceans and to untouched ecosystems like the wild Olympic coast. The film details the issue of marine debris as well as highlights the portion of the problem that can be directly attributed to the tsunami. Pieces of a Japanese house were found at one northern peninsula beach and a soccer ball that came from a small village called Otsuchi was found on another. These personal items bring the tragedy home in a way that nothing else can, and the story of the Ikkatsu Project includes the human interest side of the tale as well as emphasizing the scientific and ecological elements that drive the discussion.
Ikkatsu is a Japanese word that means “united as one,” which is a concept that the tsunami debris illustrates in a powerful way. This project is an attempt to understand how we are connected and how no matter how distant and separate something may seem at first glance, we are all riding on the same planet. The vast expanse of the oceans doesn’t keep us apart; it is what joins us together.