Monday, July 6, 2015

Training Triumph for Stranding Responders

With numerous calls coming into PTMSC's Marine Mammal Stranding Network Hotline, it was about time to have our annual Stranding Responder Training. On June 16th, volunteers, new and old, came to learn the skills needed to respond to stranded marine mammals.

First, volunteers enjoyed talks on the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the history of stranding networks, and safety concerns while out on a response. They learned about the marine mammals native to the Salish Sea and aced their quiz on how to identify them!

PTMSC's stranding network team, from left, Jamie Montague, Citizen Science Coordinator, Erika Winner, Marine Mammal Stranding Educator, and Chrissy McLean, Marine Program Coordinator. 

Erika discusses the importance of stranding networks. 

Next, new volunteers received their own stranding response kits. Among the many contents of the kit are "Share the Shore" caution tape to close off a section of beach for resting seals, signs to educate the public, chalk slates with scale bars to take excellent photographs, and the all important Level A form to record data from a stranding.

Brand new responder kits complete with everything from our handy dandy Stranding reference packet to 40 feet of yellow "Share the Shore" caution tape. Special thanks to Casey Gluckman, Merce Dostale, and Michael Tarachow for helping put them together. 

Last, the training headed outside to get hands-on experience with previously frozen harbor seals. There were three seals to check out: a lanugo (prematurely born) pup, an emaciated pup, and a small adult. Volunteers got to see up close the anatomy of each seal. Volunteers then got to practice recording their observations on a Level A form, the main reporting form for marine mammal strandings.
Chrissy shows volunteers the anatomy of a harbor seal pup carcass. 

Volunteers learn to inspect a harbor seal pup and fill out a Level A reporting form. 

Thank you to everyone that could make it to the training, and as always to all of our hardworking stranding network volunteers. Here's to a great and exciting summer!

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