Thursday, December 21, 2017

Winter Solstice 2017

December 21st marks the shortest day of the year and the official first day of winter. This also means that starting Friday, December 22, the sun will be out a few seconds longer each day.

The winter solstice, due to the way the earth rotates on a tilted axis, happens the moment the sun’s rays reach their southernmost point over the Tropic of Capricorn. Here in Washington, we will get just over 8 hours of daylight on December 21.

This day marks the changing of the seasons and is an important Pagan festival where many people gather at the Stonehenge in England to celebrate re-birth.

Here at PTMSC, the AmeriCorps and staff are celebrating the coming new year by making marine-themed snowflakes and creating New Year’s resolutions focused on supporting the health of the Salish Sea.

Octopus snowflake 
Sea star snowflake 
Luminary made by AmeriCorps Mariah 
We are also hard at work preparing the Marine Exhibit and the Natural History Exhibit for a fun week of arts and crafts. Lots of cutting and taping going on -- come visit us and see what we’ve been up to! We will be open the 27th through the 31st from noon to 5 p.m.

AmeriCorps James deep cleaning tide pool tank #1

Written by PTMSC AmeriCorps Natural History and Volunteer Educator Emilee Carpenter

Friday, December 15, 2017

Flexing our Citizen Science Mussels

On December 1, 2017, Port Townsend Marine Science Center volunteer Darryl Hrenko and I ferried over to Whidbey Island and made our way to Penn Cove to pick up a truckload of “mussel kits.” These kits were provided to PTMSC, as well as Jefferson County Marine Resources, the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, and Feiro Marine Life Center, to participate in the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Puget Sound Mussel Monitoring program.

That night at zero tide, PTMSC staff, AmeriCorps, and volunteers split into three groups, each heading out to a local site to deploy our mussels. In February 2018, the mussels will be collected, delivered to WDFW labs and tested for toxins.

Mussels are filter feeders so they accumulate toxins found in the water, and that helps scientists determine which toxins have been present in a given area since they have been there.
Nate Wold helping to light the way for Carolyn Woods as she attaches the mussels to their cage.
Betsy Carlson and her son Gus Wennstrom

The report from the 2015-2016 survey provides some context, stating that “stormwater [runoff] is considered one of the biggest contributors to water pollution in the urban areas of Washington State because it is ongoing and damages habitat, degrades aquatic environments, and can have serious impacts on the health of the Puget Sound. Monitoring pollutants and their effects on the marine biota of Puget Sound is critical to inform best management practices and remediation efforts in this large and diverse estuary (”
AmeriCorps Mariah and Emilee excitedly getting ready to deploy their mussels.
I am so excited that such an important project is utilizing the power of citizen scientists. I’m happy because it means that I get to be a part of this project and also because I think citizen science is an amazing tool for collaboration, outreach/education, and creating more opportunities for scientific discovery!

Written by AmeriCorps Citizen Science Coordinator Lily Evanston.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Interview with Curtis Deutsch, University of Washington Professor of Chemical Oceanography

Enjoy KPTZ Radio's Nature Now host Nan Evans's interview with Curtis Deutsch, University of Washington Professor of Chemical Oceanography, our featured speaker on Dec. 10 at the Fort Worden Commons for the third installment of the Port Townsend Marine Science Center’s Future of Oceans Series: Short of Breath -- Marine Life in a Warming World. 

The Future of Oceans: Sea-Level Rise’s Impact on Humans and Habitat in the Salish Sea

Eric E. Grossman, PhD
USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program
Sunday, January 14
3 pm
Eric E. Grossman, PhD
The Fort Worden Chapel

Admission: $5
(students, teachers FREE)

Urban growth, rising seas and changes in Pacific Northwest stream runoff are placing unprecedented pressure on coastal ecosystems and communities across Puget Sound. Estuaries, beaches and floodplains support many important uses, including fish and wildlife habitat, nationally-important farmland, and natural flood protection to prime real estate, industry and transportation corridors. Intensifying competition for coastal lands raises both the urgency and the challenge of adaptively managing ecosystems and the services they provide for long-term human well-being while accommodating near-term farming, growth and other land-uses. This presentation will synthesize climate change impact pathways leading to coastal squeeze of the Salish Sea and new research aimed to help resource managers and communities plan for adaptation.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

2017 PTMSC Volunteer Gathering

Dec. 5 was a beautiful evening to be at the Port Townsend Yacht Club to celebrate and acknowledge the heart and soul of the Port Townsend Marine Science Center: all of our volunteers! Thank you to everyone who came -- and also to those of you who weren't able to make it -- for all your caring and effort! Each of you makes being part of PTMSC a joy.



Congratulations to these awesome people have all reached a new level of hours volunteered, and a new button to show the world. Thank you!

Over 50 hours
Donna Larson
John Mackey
Cathy Parkman
Steve Reed
Laura Simpson
Morgan Trail

Over 200 hours
Tom Cawrse
Jo Ferrero

Over 500 hours
Dennis Cartwright
Lee Merrill
Ed Robeau

Over 1000 hours
Merce Dostale
Howard Teas

Over 1500 hours
Sally Davis
Over 2000 hours
Linda Dacon
Over 2500 hours
Karen DeLorenzo

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A Perfect Night Among the Stars

Sea Star Wasting Syndrome is a horrific disease that has impacted much of the coastal intertidal zones of the Western United States. It has caused sea star populations to collapse in some areas.

The Port Townsend Marine Science Center plays an active role in monitoring the spread of this disease in our local waters.

Currently, we monitor a plot off of Indian Island four times a year. We count the number of sea stars found in the plot and look for signs of wasting. The two species of interest when we are monitoring are ochre stars and mottled stars. However, seeing many species of sea stars in the plot is good news!

Ochre Star 

December 3rd was our last monitoring event in 2017. It also happened to be a super moon, when the full moon is at its closest to Earth, making the moon appear up to 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than usual.

Being from the Midwest, tide pooling is always a treat since I never have been able to do this back home, but adding a super moon to the mix made for an amazing night. The moon lit up the rocks and helped us spot all the animals. There were crabs, anemones, sand dollars, and sea stars all living in the intertidal zone.

Looking for Sea Stars

We saw a total of 8 sea stars in the plots. However, there were many more outside of our plots. The purple, red, and orange colors from the ochre stars and anemones were everywhere on the rocks. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

PTMSC's Amazing Volunteers, Part 4

Morgan Trail volunteers both behind the scenes and with the public at the PTMSC Marine Exhibit. She helps facilitate our “Feed the Animals” program that takes place Saturdays at 2 p.m. (spring - fall).

This weekly event allows visitors a rare opportunity to participate in the husbandry of our tidepool animals. Morgan prepares food, demonstrates proper feeding techniques, and invites visitors to interact with the animals. She makes sure no visitor or animal goes unnoticed.

Morgan helping at the Marine Exhibit

When asked what inspires her to conserve the Salish Sea, Morgan answered: “It’s my home and I love all the animals and plants here.”

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Both exhibits OPEN for the holidays!

View Hope the orca with your closest loved ones.
Wondering what to do during the holidays with family from out of town?

Not sure if PTMSC will be open?

We will be OPEN:

Wednesday, December 27 through Sunday, December 31

Noon to 5pm each day

Celebrate your holidays with us on the Salish Sea!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

PTMSC's Amazing Volunteers, Part 3

Sue Neulist recently moved to Port Townsend where, surrounded by wildlife and the wonders of local tide pools, she was inspired by the Port Townsend Marine Science Center’s mission to conserve the Salish Sea. She has been volunteering at the Marine Exhibit since the summer of 2017.

Sue’s personal connection to the Salish Sea comes from kayaking around the area and hiking with her dog Merlin. The incredible beauty of the Salish Sea has sparked her interest in keeping the area healthy.

Sue’s favorite animal is the Tufted Puffin, which she has loved for many years. When teaching 5th graders, her students would save up their spare change and bring it to class to support bird programs.

During the month of December, the Port Townsend Marine Science Center is raising money to support place-based, people powered, hands-on learning. Your donation will help fund activities that inspire, such as youth summer camps, beach walks, touchable tide pools, and tours of the Orca Exhibit. Please send your gift or donate online at by December 31st to receive a tax deduction.

Interested in becoming a PTMSC volunteer and working alongside inspired volunteers like Sue Neulist? Fill out our Volunteer Application! Questions? Contact Volunteer Coordinator Gabriele Sanchez at 360-385-5582 X 120, or send an email to

Monday, November 20, 2017

New Year's Eve Wildlife Cruise

photo courtesy David Gluckman

Sunday, December 31

Our New Year's Eve Wildlife Cruise offers a unique opportunity for an idyllic natural science adventure, enabling people to gain a better understanding of our marine ecosystems and interrelationships which abound in these waters. In good weather, the cruise will go through the Protection Island Aquatic Reserve and circumnavigate Protection Island, a National Wildlife Refuge located at the mouth of Discovery Bay. Or, if the weather is rough, we may head south toward Port Ludlow to remain in calmer waters.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Interview with U.S. Geological Survey Western Fisheries Research Director Jill Rolland

Did you miss the Port Townsend Marine Science Center lecture, "Sharing the Sound― Salmon, Steelhead and Settlement,"in the Future of Oceans Series by U.S. Geological Survey Western Fisheries Research Director Jill Rolland at Fort Worden on Nov. 12? Enjoy this KPTZ Nature Now podcast interview with Jill, hosted by Nan Evans.

U.S. Geological Survey Western Fisheries Research Director Jill Rolland

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

PTMSC's Amazing Volunteers, Part 2

The Port Townsend Marine Science Center is focusing on our impressive volunteer corps during the month of November 2017. Here is our second mini-profile, written by AmeriCorps Citizen Science Coordinator Lily Evanston.

Chas Dowd has been volunteering at Port Townsend Marine Science Center for two years as a docent in the Marine Exhibit as well as a beach naturalist. Chas has always loved salt water. His personal connection to the Salish Sea comes from getting close enough to observe and experience it.  
Chas has sailed it, rowed it, and dove into it, and has found every minute of it fascinating.
“If you want to find weird and unusual, go down 18 inches in salt water. You’ll get all the weird and unusual you can handle,” he says.

Chas and his wife Debby have taken their 17-foot rowboat just about everywhere in the Salish Sea and had amazing encounters with nature and wildlife. One time, he says, a baby seal nearly climbed into their boat -- and would have -- if its mom hadn’t intervened!

Both our exhibits will be OPEN during Thanksgiving Weekend!

Our Marine Exhibit is OPEN all Thanksgiving weekend!

Wondering what to do after Turkey Day with family from out of town? 
Not sure if PTMSC will be open?
Well, here's the answers you are looking for:

Both our Natural History Exhibit
and Marine Exhibit will be OPEN: 

Friday through Sunday
November 24-26

Skip the mall! 

During your visit to PTMSC, check out our Gift Shop Holiday Sale:
10% off on all purchases (15% off for members!) 

Can't wait to see you this holiday!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Gift Shop Holiday Sale

This holiday season,

Buy once. 

Save twice.

10% off on all purchases* Nov. 24-26

Every purchase helps save the Salish Sea!
*Members save 15%!
Gift Shop OPEN noon―5pm

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Future of Oceans: Short of Breath―Marine Life in a Warming World

Curtis Deutsch, PhD
Associate Professor, 
School of Oceanography, 
College of the Environment 
University of Washington
Sunday, December 10
3 pm
Curtis Deutsch, PhD
The Fort Worden Commons*

*Please note change of venue

Admission: $5
(students, teachers FREE)

Dr. Curtis Deutsch’s research is aimed at understanding the interactions between climate and ecosystems. He combines numerical models of varying complexity with diverse types of biological and physical data, to discover the ways in which climate produces spatial pattern and temporal variability in ecosystems, and thus influences their basic functioning. Most of this work has focused on biogeochemical cycles in the ocean, with a particular emphasis on the mechanisms that regulate the cycles of nutrients and oxygen over a range of time scales from years to millennia. He also works with terrestrial ecologists to understand how climate influences the patterns of thermal fitness, and their implications for biodiversity in a changing climate. He received an Investigator Award from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and is a Fellow of the Kavli Frontiers of Science.

This is the third installment of The Future of Oceans lecture series (learn more about the series here).

This event is offered with generous support by the Darrow Family.

Assisted Listening Devices available

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

PTMSC's Amazing Volunteers, Part 1

The Port Townsend Marine Science Center is focusing on our impressive volunteer corps during the month of November 2017. Here is our first mini-profile, written by AmeriCorps Marine Science Educator James Swanson.

Jo Ferrero is one of our great volunteers and we are so fortunate to have her passion and dedication. She has been volunteering with the PTMSC since May of 2016 in all types of activities. Jo is a Marine Exhibit docent, Sound Toxins volunteer and helps out with fundraising events. 

Jo collecting water samples for Sound Toxins.

When asked what inspires her to conserve the Salish Sea, Jo took me outside and said, “Well, just look at it!"

Then we walked down to the floating dock and she showed me a fried-egg jelly that had drifted in, which we both admired. Jo has a deep passion for the natural beauty of the Salish Sea. 

A fun fact about Jo is that her Favorite Marine Animal is the sea otter because, “They are just so cute!" That, and she also understands their crucial role as a keystone species that eats sea urchins and other invertebrates that graze on giant kelp.

Fried-egg jelly

During the month of December, the Port Townsend Marine Science Center is raising money to support place-based, people powered, hands-on learning.Your donation will help fund activities that inspire, such as youth summer camps, beach walks, touchable tide pools, and tours of the Orca Exhibit. Please send your gift or donate online at by December 31st to receive a tax deduction.

Interested in becoming a PTMSC volunteer and working alongside inspired volunteers like Jo Ferrero? Fill out our Volunteer Application! Questions? Contact Volunteer Coordinator Gabriele Sanchez at 360-385-5582 X 120, or send an email to

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Whale of a Back Bone!

IMG_4015.jpg IMG_4008.jpg
Left to right: New vertebra with juvenile gray whale skull and bones in background. Profile view of vertebra atop a table in the PTMSC Natural History Exhibit (photos by M. Vane).

A whale vertebra measuring approximately 3-feet tall and 4-feet wide arrived at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center last week. A couple found the bone while beachcombing in Southeast Alaska back in the 60’s. The unusual collectible was donated to PTMSC by their children all these years later with the intent to help the PTMSC inspire and inform others about whales. 

October 21 marked the 45th anniversary of the enactment of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). This act recognizes that some marine mammal species have been negatively impacted by human activities. By outlawing the take* of certain marine mammals, the MMPA strives to ensure these creatures can continue to fulfill their integral role in the marine ecosystem.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


Next Information Session:

Thursday, October 19, 2017
2 - 4 pm

Natural History Exhibit, Building 502
Fort Worden

Volunteering at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center is a great way to get involved in your community, meet new people, and learn new skills.
You don’t need a science background; just enthusiasm, passion, and a willingness to try new things.

Questions or to RSVP, contact Gabriele at

Learn more about volunteering at:

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

2017 Eleanor Stopps Environmental Leadership Award presented to John Fabian

The Port Townsend Marine Science Center is pleased to announce that retired NASA astronaut John Fabian is the recipient of the 2017 Eleanor Stopps Environmental Leadership Award. Fabian received the award at the annual PTMSC Stewardship Breakfast at The Commons at Fort Worden on Oct. 4.

The prestigious award recognizes significant contributions in the protection and stewardship of the natural environment of the North Olympic Peninsula. The award, now in its 13th year, pays tribute to Eleanor Stopps whose vision, advocacy and determination exemplify the power and importance of citizen leadership.

Hood Canal Coalition organizer John Fabian
"Through his pioneering work with the Hood Canal Coalition, Dr. John Fabian has led a determined effort to preserve the pristine ecosystem that is inextricably linked to the health of the Salish Sea," said PTMSC Executive Director Janine Boire. 

"Like Eleanor, he is a powerful coalition builder," said Boire. "It is so fitting that Dr. Fabian is this year's Eleanor Stopps Environmental Leadership Award winner. We are very pleased to recognize his leadership and grassroots advocacy today."

Upon receiving the award, Fabian said: "I am indeed honored to accept the Eleanor Stopps Award on behalf of the Hood Canal Coalition and its 6,000 members. Environmental stewardship encourages us to react responsibly to projects and policies that threaten our region."

One of the few people to view the Earth from space, Fabian said most who have had that privilege share his concerns about the vast impact of human activity on the global environment.

"I don't know anybody who's done it and hasn't come back more environmentally aware," Fabian told a Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter in 2004. 

John Fabian, NASA astronaut
Fabian received his Ph.D. in Aeronautics & Astronautics from the University of Washington in 1974. In addition to his national service with NASA, Fabian also distinguished himself as an Air Force pilot, served the Pentagon as Director of Space, and spent a decade leading a think tank that studied space systems.

In 2004, while retired and living in Port Ludlow, Wash., an announcement from Fred Hill Materials --a nearby Olympic Peninsula gravel mining company -- caught Fabian's attention. The company was planning to send strip-mined gravel on a 4-mile conveyor belt through the unspoiled woods that would end at a 1000-foot industrial pier on the shores of the bucolic Hood Canal.

Fabian sprang into action, writing letters, speaking at meetings and eventually co-founding the Hood Canal Coalition to fight the proposal. The coalition has grown to 6,000 members and, despite the odds against them, Fabian and his followers have, thus far, succeeded. 

In 2012, Fred Hill Materials closed and the company that took over -- Hood Canal Sand and Gravel -- lost a suit in 2016 that challenged a conservation easement. The ruling effectively blocks the company's plans. 

"I think the existing plan is dead," Fabian told the Port Townsend Leader in September 2016. "Whether they have an alternative plan, I don't know. We'll have to wait and see."

Eleanor Stopps
About the Eleanor Stopps Environmental Leadership Award
From the 1960s through the 1990s, Eleanor Stopps was an active member of the Pacific Northwest conservation community. She founded the Admiralty Audubon Chapter and was a primary driver behind the establishment of the Protection Island National Wildlife Refuge in 1982, one of the few federally protected marine refuges established by an Act of Congress at that time. Today it is a critical habitat link in the preservation of the entire Salish Sea region, providing breeding grounds for Pigeon Guillemots and Rhinoceros Auklets, Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons, Harbor Seals and Elephant Seals, and myriad other species.

Stopps died in April 2012 at the age of 92.

The leadership award created in her memory is presented annually to a citizen of the North Olympic Peninsula (Jefferson and Clallam counties) who has led a successful resource conservation effort that benefits the north Olympic Peninsula and its residents directly; acted as a community catalyst for programs, initiatives or ventures that demonstrate a commitment to the future of the earth and its biodiversity; become a model for future leaders in business and education; or has been an exemplary citizen or policy maker who has implemented decisions that, though they may entail risks, have helped our communities take the next step towards environmental sustainability.

The Port Townsend Marine Science Center has sponsored this annual award since 2005.

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Future of Oceans: Dave Bonnett to reveal acoustic research about Amazonian pink river dolphins

The PTMSC's Future of Oceans lecture series, started in 2014, explores the frontiers of ocean research and emerging technologies while confronting the human capacity to understand and sustain healthy oceans. Each year hundreds of attendees are challenged and informed with thought-provoking presentations. To view the 2017-18 schedule of lectures, visit

Marine acoustic researcher and citizen scientist Dave Bonnett will present the most recent findings of his work with Amazonian pink river dolphins (Inia geoffrensis) at the first of the Port Townsend Marine Science Center's 2017-18 lecture series, "The Future of Oceans," at the chapel at Fort Worden State Park on Sunday, October 8, at 3:00 p.m.

Marine acoustic researcher Dave Bonnett 
Bonnett, a PTMSC supporter since its inception 35 years ago, is experienced in the field of underwater acoustical research. He has undertaken numerous trips into the Peruvian Amazon with his wife Dottie, a marine biologist, to record and study the particular sounds of pink river dolphins and learn how ecosystem changes are impacting the species. 

"Our main objective in the beginning was to investigate the efficacy of using underwater sound recordings, along with behavioral observations, to identify and count individuals," Bonnett said. "We have discovered a very complex world associated with Inia, and are continuing to evolve and expand our research." 
Bonnett's lecture will also focus on how his research relates to local species of Cetacea in the Salish Sea.

"There is a growing urgency to better understand this threatened species because of increasing anthropogenic pressures on both Inia and their habitat," Bonnett said. "This is a story that will be familiar to citizens of the Salish Sea."

For the latest information about the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, visit and Also, look for #PTMSC, #SalishSea or @PTMarineScience on Twitter and Instagram. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Sonic World of the Amazonian Pink Dolphin

Sunday, October 8, 2017 
3 pm
David Bonnett, Citizen Scientist
The Fort Worden Chapel

Admission: $5
(students, teachers FREE) 

Mr Bonnett will present his most recent finding of his acoustical research with Amazonian Pink Dolphin (Inia geoffrensis) including how ecosystem changes in the Amazon are impacting this species and how this research relates to our local species of Cetacea. His research grows from decades of underwater acoustical research and designing ultra-quiet vessels. 

This is the first installment of The Future of Oceans lecture series. 
This event is offered with generous support by the Darrow Family.

Assisted Listening Devices available

Monday, August 21, 2017

Sunning The Whale Day

Friday, September 1


Fort Worden Pier

Come visit the PTMSC when we "daylight" the gray whale bones on the Pier for a long dose of sun and warmth. For this one-day-only event, staff and volunteers will be on hand to answer questions about gray whales, how this one came to be part of the PTMSC collection, and what we can learn from marine mammals in our midst. You can also learn more about the Marine Mammal Stranding Network at work right here in Port Townsend.

In May of 2016, a juvenile gray whale died in Elliott Bay in Seattle and was towed to a site on Indian Island provided by the US Navy. A team of volunteers, staff, and AmeriCorps members assisted with the necropsy and additional preparation of the body for preservation of her skeleton. The PTMSC has been storing the skeleton until it can be articulated for use in educational programs and exhibits. 

From Park to Pier: The Early Days of the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, Part 4 of 4

(This is the last of a four-part series about how Judy D’Amore and Libby Palmer founded the Port Townsend Marine Science Center 35 years ago. Read Part 1 herePart 2 here and Part 3 here.)

Although Libby Palmer returned to Port Townsend in 1990, for the next two years her job often took her out of the area. Still, she now had more time to devote to the Port Townsend Marine Science Center and the important work that co-founder Judy D’Amore, the part-time staff and the growing base of volunteers were sustaining.

2017 Water World, photo by David Conklin

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Vehicular Recollections of a 2017 Marine Mammal Stranding Network Coordinator

As my time at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center (PTMSC) comes to a close, I cannot help but remember the adventures I’ve had in this new home in the Pacific Northwest. As far away as I am from my home state of Texas, there were countless experiences that comforted me adapting to this new and different place. The open arms of caring people, happily greeting an out-of-place and chilly southerner, bathed me in countless opportunities to widen my horizons with new stories to tell. I have spoken to a lot of the PTMSC staff and volunteers about my focus, marine mammals, but most of my adventures stemmed from cars or relationships with folks over cars.

Those of you who know me know of my obsession with cars, old and new. The nature of how things work, living or mechanical, is a fascination of mine and determines my two outlets: physiological ecology of marine mammals and car mechanics. While pursuing my marine mammal career here in Port Townsend, I met a man named Denis Keyes, a gentle, knowledgeable soul, who helped set aflame my infatuation with turning wrenches on cars. We met while Denis was volunteering in the Natural History Exhibit, and by visits to his property where former PTMSC intern Tim Weissman lives. Soon, we began to work on Denis’s 1974 SuperBeetle, moving over many months from a disassembled engine on the floor to nearly driving it from the garage.
Denis's Super Beetle gets an engine
When I met Tim Weissman, he was in need of a car. After weeks of pouring over ads, and about nine hours on the road, he came home with his new blue Subaru. The catch was I had pulled for Tim to purchase a type of car he had yet to learn to drive – one with a standard transmission. I taught him the ropes soon thereafter.
Tim and I sporting our off-road vehicles
Tim’s girlfriend at the time, Sarah, who was also an AmeriCorps at PTMSC, wanted to learn how to change the oil on her Ford, and we also replaced the tensioner pulley.
Sarah completing her first oil change
With encouraging mechanical outlets through Denis, Tim, and Sarah, and my desire to put my mind and hands to work, I decided to purchase my own project car.
The "Metrocity" in January after a wheel refurbish
I bought a 1990 Geo Metro Xfi for $100 in Edmonds in the dead of winter. The car had an open back due to surly modifications and no heater, providing a true test of commitment and wool socks. Over some months, I replaced the heater and restored the floors, and my plan was to replace the transmission, which had blown 5th gear. I had even gone to a junkyard and retrieved a new-to-me transmission and was gearing up to install it. I was moving towards this and other projects before I hit a dead stop.
The restored floors
Supporting the weight of the engine/transmission with a spare junkyard radio
In a playful moment, I decided to drive my unregistered, uninsured, and non-road legal project car six blocks to show fellow AmeriCorps, Juhi LaFuente. I was pulled over and given a ticket for $686 – one and a quarter my salary and a simple, youthful, foolish mistake which I successfully contested. I then sold it to a hopeful and excited teenager for $300.

Working at the  PTMSC has opened many doors for me professionally and made me many friends. I greatly enjoyed working with all the helpful and hard-working volunteers, teaching youth in marine science classes or running a fascinating exhibit open to the public. These experiences and others I will carry with me through my life, telling stories of the time spent in Washington and how I wish I could have stayed longer. To those which made this time spent so wonderful, I thank you.