Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Now More Than Ever Take Action and Support Summer Camps for Kids


"Hi my name is Journey,  I have been to almost all of the Port Townsend Marine Science center camps. On my first day of camp I was so nervous I thought I might die. By the second day, I had a ton of friends all because the staff helped be more comfortable and helped me break out of my shell.
I also went to Water World which is a weeklong overnight program that involves art, dance, writing, and marine science which was one of the funnest experiences I have ever had! I even made 2 best friends. I cried the whole ride home because I missed them so much. At Water World we put a whale skeleton together which was so cool especially because I love whales. We looked at plankton under a microscope and that was the ice cream on the cake for me because I want to go into marine biology. When we took out the seine net the waves came into my boots and I said I had plankton on my thighs!

When my family and I went to Mexico, my dad and I got scuba certified. I was ten years old and the smallest person our instructor had worked with. If I hadn’t gone to camp at the Marine Science Center I would never had gone scuba diving. Also because of my experience at camp and Water World, I participated in Project Oceanology which is a marine science program through the University of Connecticut. While out on the research vessel, scientists asked questions and I was able to raise my hand and answer questions that no one else could! That made me feel proud.

Going to a marine science camp was a lot of fun and I know it changed me. I am more confident and I tried new things because of it, like scuba diving and an oceanography class. I don’t know exactly what I am going to do when I grow up, but whole new worlds are open to me now. Thank you for helping make this experience possible for me and thousands of other kids too."



On Wednesday, May 10, the Port Townsend Marine Science Center invites you to help raise $22,000 for summer camps scholarships and capacity-building to offer more camps through GiveBIG, a one-day, online charitable giving event hosted by the Seattle Foundation, but we can't do it without your help! Thanks to a challenge match from a group of local donors, the first $11,000 donated will be matched dollar-for-dollar. The #GiveBIG campaign only lasts for one day, so follow along on Facebook and the #PTMSC blog for stories and updates before the BIG day.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Save the Date for Give Big!

On Wednesday, May 10, the Port Townsend Marine Science Center invites you to help raise $22,000 for summer camps scholarships and capacity-building to offer more camps through GiveBIG, a one-day, online charitable giving event hosted by the Seattle Foundation, but we can't do it without your help! Thanks to a challenge match from a group of local donors, the first $11,00 donated will be matched dollar-for-dollar.

The #GiveBIG campaign only lasts for one day, so follow along on Facebook and the PTMSC blog for stories and updates before the BIG day.


Thank you for helping ALL kids get outside and learn to love the ocean by donating on Wednesday, May 10th! 
Your gift will provide scholarships for children who otherwise would not be able to attend because of financial hardship. Donations will also fund the capacity of the Center to offer more camps. Many children have already been turned away this year because of full enrollment. Plans are in the works for expanded facilities and more camp offerings. But we need your help.

Learn more about GiveBig here!


Monday, April 17, 2017

Free Science Classes 2017

The time has come and gone for 2017's free science classes (FSC) at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center (PTMSC). Free science classes have been going strong for the past nine years, and this year was no exception. The AmeriCorps led program provides science classes for local schools free of charge. FSC are important as some schools do not introduce inquiry-based science curricula until 5th or 6th grade. Throughout the program, with the help of essential volunteers, AmeriCorps led bird and barnacle based science classes to 3rd and 4th graders. Free science classes are a grant funded program made available by the Wells Fargo Foundation, the MacRae Foundation, and the Dietze Charitable Foundation; this funding is essential as more school funding is cut and field trip budgets are slashed. Programs such as FSC provide a memorable field trip for the students while they employ new aspects of logistical and scientific reasoning.  
AmeriCorps Juhi LaFuente working with students from Queen of Angels.
  I headed the FSC ship’s course this year, working with my fellow AmeriCorps to decide the curriculum. I took a lead role in organizing the classes; the first time I have experienced something like this. A total of seven schools made eleven visits to the PTMSC, giving us an opportunity to introduce new concepts and styles of thinking to these wonderful youths through FSC. This year’s Free Science Classes were Barnacle Lab and Birds of Shore and Sea. Barnacle Lab is an introduction to the scientific method where students brainstorm simple, harmless experiment ideas, and then perform them on their own terms. They were so interested! The barnacles were a fun thing for them to experience. The class Birds of Shore and Sea exposes children to science in their backyard. They learned how to use binoculars, spot bird anatomical differences and derive their purpose. An outstanding moment I recall is teaching the scientific method to 2nd and 3rd graders. The scientific method is a complex and abstract idea for students in this age group, and I was amazed at how quickly they picked it up and how excited they were to complete an experiment on their barnacle friends. Juhi LaFuente, Marine Exhibit Educator AmeriCorps, noted how excited these naturally inquisitive children were, asking loads of interesting questions during classes they normally would not get a chance to take part in.

AmeriCorps Matthew (Mattie) Stephens instructing Barnacle Lab.
Sarah Croston, Natural History Exhibit Educator AmeriCorps, feels the impact on children visiting PTMSC for FSC is powerful. Through small things like using binoculars for the first time, or larger moments like marking previously unnoticed differences in bird anatomy, children dive into the science and excel. During activities like bird-watching, children can learn the value of scientific observation in everyday instances. Sarah recalls the excitement of the students as three bald eagles made an appearance as a true mark of the value of the classes.
AmeriCorps Sarah Croston choosing an eager class volunteer.
The outstanding impact of FSC was "the opportunity for students who would not otherwise get hands on experience in science in the world outside of a traditional classroom setting," says Brooke Askey, Citizen Science Coordinator AmeriCorps. The effects Brooke could see were a lot for students getting excited about the marine environment in aspects they had never seen before. Introducing new concepts to kids and see them applying those to other things in their lives later on, like adaptations in the bird class, is a cool feeling.
After the classes wound down, a post-exam was issued to gauge the level of learning. On average, the students increase in knowledge was impressive. The field trip itself is an incredible experience for young people, and the statistics prove that it is a productive and educational time. We would not have this kind of impact if it was not for our fantastic volunteers that lend their time and expertise. Volunteers provide a lot of support for our organization, and their involvement in FSC is a testament to that.
FSC were beneficial to the kids as they learned new things and experienced a great program while the AmeriCorps honed and grew their skills in passing knowledge down to younger generations.
AmeriCorps Brooke Askey talks Salish Sea with a group of excited learners
Free science classes are an integral part education and outreach at the PTMSC. At the PTMSC, we stand behind the importance of education of youth. The youth we saw were impressive, and their future looks bright. To see children excited about learning (whether they know they are learning or not) is itself exciting. The PTMSC is a kid favorite – interesting marine creatures that most students do not have a chance to observe in detail, a fantastic experience outside of the classroom, a wonderfully helpful volunteer base - and will continue providing FSC and enriching lives.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Apply Now for PTMSC Anne Murphy Scholarship for HS Seniors


Now is the time to apply for the annual $500 Anne Murphy Ocean Stewardship scholarship for a graduating East Jefferson county senior.  Applicants should be graduating from a public or private school, or be a home-schooled student who expects to complete high school by June 2017.  The person who wins this scholarship will be selected on the basis of demonstrated interest in science and the environment. Having volunteered on behalf of education about/conservation of the Salish Sea is especially desirable.  Applicants need not intend to study marine science to apply. The scholarship may be used for tuition, books, or living expenses for college or vocational school.  Please download the scholarship form, answer the questions, and email the application to lslabaugh@ptmsc.org. Applications may also be mailed or hand-delivered to Liesl Slabaugh, Development and Marketing Director,  PTMSC, 582 Battery Way, Port Townsend, WA 98368 by May 15, 2017.  
The winner will be selected and notified by May 30, 2017.  The award may be given at the senior awards ceremony at the winner’s school,  at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, or other agreed-upon venue.  Questions? Please call 385-5582 x101.


The Port Townsend Marine Science Center inspires conservation of the Salish Sea. A new initiative—Gone Green? Go Blue! Support Your Local Ocean—encourages collective action and civic engagement. Located on the beach at Fort Worden, the PTMSC offers two public exhibits: the Marine Exhibit and the Natural History Exhibit. The Natural History & Orca exhibit is open Friday through Sunday, 12 to 5 pm. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for youth, and free to PTMSC members. The PTMSC also offers a wide variety of educational programs and special events. For more information, call 360.385.5582, e-mail info@ptmsc.org or visit www.ptmsc.org/events.

Screening of "Plastic Ocean"

Port Townsend Marine Science Center to Host Screening of Award Winning Documentary, A PLASTIC OCEAN :

Saturday, April 22, 2017 - Port Townsend, Washington @ 3:00 PM at Port Townsend Marine Science Center Natural History Exhibit

A PLASTIC OCEAN uncovers the shocking truth about what is truly lurking beneath the ocean’s surface. More than 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into our oceans each year. A PLASTIC OCEAN follows an international team of adventurers, researches and ocean ambassadors on a mission around the globe. This award-winning documentary shows the devastating effects of our disposable lifestyle on marine life and the consequences for human health.

During its four-year production period, A PLASTIC OCEAN was filmed in 20 locations around the world, documenting the global effects of plastic pollution and introducing workable technology and policy solutions that can, if implemented in time, change things for the better.
NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries together with Washington CoastSavers are hosting free screenings in Port Angeles at Peninsula College on April 13th at 7:00PM, and in Port Townsend at Port Townsend Marine Science Center on April 22nd at 3:00PM. The screenings will be followed by panelist discussions and are open to the public. Washington CoastSavers is an alliance of partners and volunteers dedicated to keeping the state’s beaches clean of marine debris through coordinated beach cleanups, education and prevention. Make a difference, register for April 29, 2017.

Washington Coast Cleanup at http://www.coastsavers.org/
A PLASTIC OCEAN can be found on iTunes and other online movie platforms.
A Plastic Ocean Website: http://www.plasticoceans.org
Washington CoastSavers Website: http://www.coastsavers.org/
NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Website: http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/



The Port Townsend Marine Science Center inspires conservation of the Salish Sea. A new initiative—Gone Green? Go Blue! Support Your Local Ocean—encourages collective action and civic engagement. Located on the beach at Fort Worden, the PTMSC offers two public exhibits: the Marine Exhibit and the Natural History Exhibit. The Natural History & Orca exhibit is open Friday through Sunday, 12 to 5 pm. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for youth, and free to PTMSC members. The PTMSC also offers a wide variety of educational programs and special events. For more information, call 360.385.5582, e-mail info@ptmsc.org or visit www.ptmsc.org/events.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

FEEL GOOD. DO GOOD. Yoga Benefit for PTMSC

MONDAY, APRIL 10TH @ 5:30PM
MADRONA MINDBODY, FORT WORDEN
 
The Port Townsend Marine Science Center is excited to partner with local yoga teachers for the FEEL GOOD/DO GOOD yoga benefit on Monday, April 10th from 5:30 - 6:30 pm at Madrona MindBody, Fort Worden. This is an “all level” class suitable for everyone. Come stretch and breathe, at the same time you support PTMSC! Donate whatever you can…$10, $20… whatever! You’ll leave refreshed, energized and restored.
Here’s what yoga teacher Shanon Leonard has to say about the event:
"The classes support local nonprofits and provide an opportunity for people to experience a wide variety of yoga styles and practices."
Visit http://www.feelgooddogood.org/Home_page.html for more information

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

COASST Marine Debris Training

Join the COASST Marine Debris program on Saturday, April 8th from 10am - 4pm and help make a difference for the environment!

COASST Marine Debris participants survey local beaches and collect data on the characteristics and location of debris-data that will ultimately be used to map the source and transport pathways of debris, as well as the potential harm to people, wildlife, and local coastal ecosystems.

Beach surveys are best conducted in groups of 2 or more-please come with a survey partner in mind or plan to join a team during training.
Reserve your training spot by emailing coasst@uw.edu or calling 206-221-6893.

More information about the COASST program is available at https://depts.washington.edu/coasst/involved/volunteer.html

Friday, March 3, 2017

Invaders on the Move

National Invasive Species Week is this week February 26th- March 4th. What a great time to raise awareness about some local invaders and how we can help to stop the spread of invasive species. Let me start by answering the question of what exactly is an invasive species? By definition, an invasive species a one that is not native to the ecosystem and when introduced has negative effects. Some invaders in Washington include plants and animals such as Scotch broom, the Wood-boring Beetle, and the European Green Crab.
  The European Green Crab is native to the Atlantic coast of Europe and Northern Africa. It is a relatively small crab with a carapace ( back shell) growing only 3.5-4 inches across. Green crabs  were first documented on the east coast of the US in 1817. They are relatively new to the west coast with their first appearances showing up in the San Francisco Bay in 1989. It didn’t take long for them to make their way up the coast to Washington. In 1997-1998 an El Nino event pushed them north up the coast into Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.
So what’s the all fuss with a tiny crab? Well, this crab may be small but is quite durable and able to adapt to a number of different environments. It can adapt to many temperatures and enjoys eating and disturbing eelgrass habitat. Eelgrass is a very important nursery habitat for a number of aquatic young animals including salmon and Dungeness crabs. To learn more about the importance of eelgrass check out this blog post by our Marine Exhibit AmeriCorps Educator. Green crabs also enjoy some of the very seafood which humans have a palate for. These crabs love to eat soft shelled clams, scallops, young oysters, as well as native crab species. 
So now that we are up to speed on these little guys takeover of the country’s coastal waters, the next question is, where does that leave us here in the Salish Sea region? On August 30th 2016, one European green crab was found in Westcott Bay, on the northwest end of San Juan Island. Since then, the crabs have been spotted in Padilla Bay. At this point in time there is no evidence of established green crab communities.
Thankfully, there is a dedicated group of individuals who have made it their mission to help stop this arthropodic invasion. Crab team is a group who partners with Washington Sea Grant, the department of Washington Fish and Wildlife, and numerous citizen science volunteers. They survey a number of different sites in the Salish Sea looking for signs of the European Green Crab. With Crab team working hard, they are on the leading edge of a potential species invasion, which is a good place to be says Emily Grason, the Crab Team’s project coordinator.
European Green Crab  (Carcinus maenasPhoto by Sean McDonald
With this new awareness of the invasive green crab there are some steps you can take to help prevent the invasion in the Salish Sea area. Anytime you are out on a beach walk, take a look at the crabs and crab molts you are seeing.
How to Identify a European Green Crab:
  •          5 spines on the outside of each eye
  •          Up to 4 inches across the carapace or back shell
  •          Wider at the front of the carapace
*The color of this crab can range from dark green to orange or red*



If you find a crab that looks like it could be a European green crab, here are the steps you can take:
1.       Take photos
2.       Record your location
3.       Leave the crab where you found it
4.       Report it to (crabteam@uw.edu)

To find out more about the European Green Crab or how you can become a crab team volunteer visit http://wsg.washington.edu/crabteam.  For some helpful information about other invasive species in Washington visit http://www.invasivespecies.wa.gov/priorities.shtml.


--

Sarah Croston, Americorps - Natural History and Volunteer Educator



Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Low Tide Walk at Night



March 8 @ 6:30pm
North Beach County Park, Port Townsend
Free to all. Donations accepted.

Please RSCP to jlafuente@ptmsc.org 
or call (360) 385-5582 x 115

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Way of Whales Conference 2017

Way of Whales
IMG_5713.JPG
The view from the Coupeville ferry. Photo by Mattie Stephens
The time has come and gone for the annual Way of Whales Conference, or as I like to call it, Whalefest 2017. Coupeville high school was the host, and in order to arrive in time, Jan North, Betsy Carlson and I caught the 8 am ferry to make our way into Whidbey Island. When we arrived, I caught a whiff of the local agriculture before setting up our exhibition table while Jan and Betsy signed us in. We displayed skulls of all kinds, including a steller sea lion that took many as a bear skull. Our save the shore sign was displayed and many a pamphlet were spread around to give the good word. After speaking to a few visitors to our booth, I was able to walk around and explore the other organizations and their tables while awaiting the day’s many presentations.  
IMG_5715.JPG
Our proud table! Photo by Mattie Stephens
As I wandered, looking at all the tables, gathering stickers and snacks, I realized how nice it was to be surrounded by fellow “whalers.” My goal of the conference was to expand my marine science network, including my interesting new friends, London, and her father. I spoke with them after overhearing London is heading to New Zealand to work with a graduate student – something I didn’t expect to have in common with a nine year old. London is invited to come to the Port Townsend Marine Science Center (PTMSC) and train her brain on our many cetacean skeletons.
The first presentation was by Howard Garrett of Orca Net, welcoming us all to Whalefest. After introducing the day, he spoke about freeing Lolita, an orca taken from the Salish Sea in the 70s, currently kept at Miami Seaquarium.
Howard Garrett.jpg
Howard Garrett of Orca net. Photo by Betsy Carlson
John Calambokidis.JPG
John Calambokidis of Cascadia Research Collective and others. Photo by Betsy Carlson
Image result for langley whale center
The second presenter was John Calambokidis. He gave a presentation about Sounders – local gray whales. It was fairly early for a PowerPoint, but I was wide awake when he presented awesome videos of gray whales he received from suction cup video tags. I met him afterwards, and he knew the professor I worked with in Galveston. He said he would happily be in correspondence.
I’ll remember you all when I’m famous.
Val Viers, an environmental physicist, spoke on his 15 year quest to learn about orcas and acoustics in the Salish Sea. He presented interesting and rare footage of orca communication sequences matched with recorded orca actions and position. What I found most interesting was Val’s deciphering of an orca mother scolding her offspring, which we were able to see on film. Val and his son work with PTMSC and installed our hydrophone, a device that allows us to hear boat and animal noise underwater. We work with his son Scott in the Salish Sea hydrophone network, monitoring ship noise and orca/marine mammal communication.
Current hydrophone network of the Salish Sea. 
Lastly, we watched a beluga whale documentary on the endangered St. Lawrence whales. An orphaned baby beluga is found alive on the beach with time running out. The responding scientist tries something unusual – releasing it back into the wild in hopes another mother will adopt the calf as her own. I’m no movie critic, but the message of the movie was critical – there needs to be widespread knowledge and support of environmental and animal stewardship. Without a change in human behavior, the environment of these whales will deteriorate.
Drone footage of St. Lawrence beluga whales. Photo by Suzanne Chisholm and Michael Parfit
Whalefest was closed with a special music video about saving the Salish Sea and played a part in explaining the inter-connectivity of the diverse organisms. Helping people connect emotionally with a place like the Salish Sea can inspire them to protect it. This resounds soundly with the Port Townsend Marine Science Center’s mission of inspiring conservation of the Salish Sea. The Way of Whales conference and its presenters, all wonderfully well-spoken and knowledgeable, moved strongly for the Salish Sea's conservation. I enjoyed my experience at Whalefest 2017, hope to return, and would recommend a visit to anyone.



See more of our wonderful organization on our Facebook and Instagram, and please consider donating today.
Matthew (Mattie) Stephens is an AmeriCorps serving at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center.

DAMS AND DIRT: THE COASTAL RESPONSE TO THE ELWHA DAM REMOVAL

Sunday | February 12, 2017 | 3 pm
Ian Miller, PhDCoastal Hazards Specialist, Washington Sea GrantThe Fort Worden ChapelAdmission: $10 ($5 for PTMSC members)
A skilled science communicator and media spokesperson, Dr. Ian Miller is Washington Sea Grant’s coastal hazards specialist, working out of Peninsula College in Port Angeles as well as University of Washington’s Olympic Natural Resources Center in Forks. Dr. Miller works with coastal communities on the Olympic Peninsula to increase their ability to plan for and manage coastal hazards, including tsunami, chronic erosion, coastal flooding and hazards associated with climate change. To accomplish this, he uses a suite of tools including outreach, applied research, synthesis of existing science, and coordination to help coastal communities access funding and expertise to achieve their goals and implement their plans. Dr. Miller has expertise in a range of topics including: sea level rise, ocean acidification, marine debris, tsunamis, beach erosion and change, Washington coastal ecology, coastal sediment transport and geomorphology.
Before joining Washington Sea Grant, Dr. Miller served as the education director of the Olympic Park Institute and as Washington field coordinator for the nonprofit Surfrider Foundation. Dr. Miller holds a bachelor’s degree in marine ecology at Western Washington University’s Huxley College of Environmental Studies and a doctorate in ocean sciences from the University of California, Santa Cruz. His graduate research focused on the transport and fate of sediment in the coastal zone adjacent to the Elwha River delta. Find him online blogging at the Coast Nerd Gazette.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Honoring a Legacy with Service: 5th Annual MLK Day Weed Pull

“Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”  -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 
Brave volunteers tackling the Himalayan blackberry near the campgrounds. Photo by Wendy Feltham.

Every year in January, AmeriCorps members across the country honor Martin Luther King Jr. on his namesake national holiday with a day of service. MLK Day is usually a day off; a day off from school, work, meetings or errands—a long weekend in some regard. However, the legacy of MLK Jr. is one of taking action. That’s why Washington Service Corps and the Port Townsend Marine Science Center (PTMSC) strive to make it a day on, instead of a day off.

PTMSC AmeriCorps (from left to right) Juhi, Brooke, Sarah, Mattie. Photo by Wendy Feltham.
The AmeriCorps at PTMSC chose to serve the community of Port Townsend by committing to a term of service. The annual MLK Day of Service is meant to recruit others from the community to join us in that duty. This year marked the 5th annual day of service weed pull at Fort Worden State Park. On January 16th, 2017, we gathered with volunteers who rose to the call to join us in serving our community.

A clearing where invasive, pokey, Himalayan blackberry used to be. Not to be confused with trailing blackberry, a native species. 
Photo by Carolyn Woods.

This year we targeted the Himalayan blackberry and English ivy that were overrunning the area behind the Natural History Exhibit and campground. These are both quick-growing plants that out-compete the native species vital to the ecosystem at Fort Worden. We gathered at the Natural History Exhibit to identify target areas, gear up, and get to work.

Volunteers rolling up the English Ivy like a carpet; the best technique for those pesky vines! Photo by Wendy Feltham.
Although we had been prepared for rain to pour on us, somehow it managed to hold off for the weed pull. It was the only thing that held back. Over 50 volunteers showed up, donating a combined total of over 150 hours of service. The outpouring of support was tremendous, and the event an all-around success.



(Above, both) Team work makes the invasive-species-eradication
dream work! Photos by Carolyn Woods.
The weed pull couldn't have been so outstanding without the help of many. Thank you to PTMSC, Friends of Fort Worden, and Washington State Parks for partnering with us on the event. Thanks to the Noxious Weed Board, Native Plant Society, as well as individuals from the Coastal Artillery Museum and Department of Fish and Wildlife and other volunteers who generously donated tools. Thanks to the Fort Worden Rangers and Maintenance team for their continuous support. Thanks as well to our Washington Conservation Corps team at Fort Worden and to our fellow AmeriCorps from NOAA Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary for joining us in service. I also want to recognize and thank my teammates Sarah, Juhi, and Mattie for their individual and collective efforts in executing the weed pull. We have enormous gratitude for every single volunteer who joined us to honor MLK Jr. by coming together as a community and providing a service to our environment.

_

BROOKE ASKEY is the Citizen Science Educator and an AmeriCorps Member at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Bird is the Word

“What wild creature is more accessible to our eyes and ears, as close to us and everyone in the world, as universal as a bird.” –David Attenborough


Snowy Owl in Acadia National Park
Photograph by Sarah Croston
Birds have weaved an invisible thread throughout my life and into my heart. My love for birds started at a young age falling in love with the majestic and ever so beautiful Snowy Owl. My love of Snowy Owls may have been influenced by the wooden carving my uncle made which stood proudly in our living room. Owls have fascinated me for as long as I can remember with their mysterious aura and wide eyes. As a young child, I was familiar with the feathered friends who would visit our bird feeder. I also spent lots of time flipping through the pages of The Audubon Society’s Field guide to North American Birds long before I knew how to read.


Taking data on a Savannah sparrow in the fields of
Shelburne Farms, Vermont. 
My passion for birds didn’t show itself again until college and even then it wasn’t clear to me. One of my professor, Noah Perlut, asked if I wanted to go to Vermont for the summer to study songbirds. Spending every day outside conducting research sounded like a great experience and I did not hesitate to say yes. I spent the summer in Shelburne, Vermont studying Boblinks and Savannah Sparrows. The days were spent nest searching, banding birds, and taking measurements on chicks and adults.


  
Sarah and barred owl, Grinnell.
Glen Helen Raptor Center in Yellow Springs Ohio.

After my summer in Vermont, my love of birds flourished. I began to notice birds much more frequently than ever before. Their songs illuminate my days and seeing a flash of color now sends me looking for more. Since that eye opening summer, I’ve done more field work and have worked at a raptor center in Yellow Springs, Ohio. My passion for birds followed me here to the Port Townsend Marine Science Center (PTMSC).
While you may not think that there is a whole lot about birds going on at a marine science center, here in Port Townsend, there is! We have a great class that we teach to students called Birds of the Shore and Sea. In this class the students take a closer look at bird specimens observing specific species feet and beaks. They make educated guesses about what these birds might eat and where they live. The students also get a chance to go outside and participate in bird watching by the sea. My favorite part of this class is playing a recording of what a Bald Eagle sounds like and seeing the students’ reactions. The Bald Eagle might not sound as regal as it looks.
Displaying image.jpeg
The latest Puget Sound Seabird Survey in action
at Point Wilson.
PTMSC also partners with the Seattle Audubon Society. We conduct Puget Sound Seabird Surveys once a month. The survey takes place at Point Wilson and a dedicated group of volunteers survey the seabirds for a half hour no matter what the weather has in store. Many different bird species can be seen right around the Marine Science Center. As I am sitting here writing this I just saw a juvenile Bald Eagle soar by!
The most important thing I have learned is that bird watching is a great hobby, one that you can do basically anywhere. Whether you are observing songbirds that come to a bird feeder in your backyard or raptors you spot soaring high above the mountains out on a hike, birds hold a very special place in my heart. I hope to continue to learn about them throughout my life and share my passion with others.

Keep your eyes out for Sarah’s newest project called Birding from the Pier. Once a week she will be posting about a different bird she sees from the pier and a fun fact or two about it on our Instagram account https://www.instagram.com/ptmarinescictr/ and Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PortTownsendMarineScienceCenter/.
--
Sarah Croston, Americorps - Natural History and Volunteer Educator