Monday, December 23, 2013

A Crabby Christmas Tale

‘Twas a Saturday Homecrew, 
like almost all others
Hustle and bustle, 
with scrubbers and buffers

The siphons all strung, 
out and about
The tanks to be cleaned, 
inside and out.

The gloves were pulled up,
all over their hands
Attempting to keep clean, their fingers from sand.

And Danae with her scrubber, 
and me in accord
Had just begun the process 
to maintain the tanks we adored.

When at the staff door, 
we all heard such a clatter,
We rushed over to find 
what was the matter.

When what to our 
wondering eyes we did see,
But a man holding a crab 
as big as can be.

The question arose to 
what that was in the lab,
and I knew in a moment, 
it was a dead Puget Sound King Crab.

More rapid than waves, 
the curiosity came
As we quickly exclaimed, 
and called them by name: 

Now Maddie, now abalone, 
Now sculpin, Now Inky
On Pisaster, On Solaster, 
And even, on you, dear Pinky

To the top of the tanks, 
To the sides of the walls
Now splash away, 
splash away, 
splash away all

For those who haven’t seen
 this wonderful sight,
This isn’t the Science Center’s 
only crab delight.

The color it lacks, 
it’s pigment is missing
An albino Dungeness 
is worth reminiscing.

Families alike spring to your sleigh, 
and give us a visit
Open the weekend after Christmas, 
Come see our wonderful exhibit!

You shall hear us exclaim, 
doors open and lights shining bright
“Happy holidays to all, 
science is such a delight!”

By AmeriCorps Volunteer: Shannon Phillips

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Losing a good friend: Michael J. “Moh” O'Hanlon

Photo credit: Tiffany Royal
PTMSC’s staff and volunteer community has been mourning the loss of long-time friend volunteer Moh O'Hanlon. Moh passed away on Friday, November 29th, the day after his 71st birthday. 

Moh was a fixture at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center Marine Exhibit. Garbed in his English seaman’s cap and PTMSC octopus t-shirt, Moh would greet visitors into the exhibits and explain the rules. Moh was passionate about marine science and even more so about sharing that passion with others. Over the years, returning visitors have asked for Moh since their experience with him was so memorable.

Moh had a love for folk music and often played the harmonica in the PTMSC exhibits. His knowledge of fish was extensive and he would spend hours ID-ing the different animals that appeared in the tanks, and educating visitors. He began logging volunteer hours in 2000, and over the course of the past 13 years, racked up over 5,000 hours --- an extraordinary achievement.

Moh represents the true spirit of volunteerism at the PTMSC – he committed himself to our mission of Inspiring Conservation of the Salish Sea, and made it his personal mission to reach as many people as possible. In the summertime, he could be found here nearly every day. If Moh were here, I know he'd say "there's no place I'd rather be!" We have lost an irreplaceable friend ~ thank you Moh for your spirit and all your years of service! 

A potluck (with music of course) to celebrate Moh's life will take place on Saturday, January 4th at 2pm in the PTMSC Marine Exhibit, out on the pier. More information and details will be provided as they develop.

- Claudia Padilla, Volunteer Coordinator

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Two PTMSC staffers are part of a national study circle with the National Network of Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation

Jean and Chrissy observe pteropods in the Ocean
Acidification lab at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
The Port Townsend Marine Science Center was awarded a grant in the summer of 2013 for Jean Walat, program director, and Chrissy McLean, marine program coordinator, to participate in a six month study circle with the National Network of Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI). 

“Through the program, we are grappling with how to help the general public not only better understand the issues, but also how to communicate what can be done through collective action,” said Walat. Their first session was at the New England Aquarium in September, then Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in October and for the final piece, they will travel to Salt Lake City’s Hogle Zoo in December.

Between these travel sessions, Walat and McLean have been working on applying new interpretation strategies to PTMSC exhibits with the goal of engaging visitors in civic action to support collective climate change solutions.

“It’s been exciting to participate in the NNOCCI study circle with zoos, aquariums, and science centers from across the country,” said McLean. “I am inspired by the cutting edge information we are learning about climate change science and the most effective ways to share this information with the thousands of students, guests and volunteers who come to PTMSC each year.”

A NNOCCI Study Circle is a cross-disciplinary learning group made up of peers with expertise from fields of professional interpretation, climate and ocean sciences and communications and cultural sciences. Through a series of facilitated in-person meetings, webinars, conference calls and practical activities, participants build knowledge of ocean and climate science and communications and cultural sciences. They apply lessons learned to communications or educational opportunities in the context of their work environment through several cycles of development, practice, sharing and reflection.
“NNOCCI has provided so much feedback about the ways people react to environmental information that we’re looking at all of our programs and exhibits with new eyes, and this will definitely inform our programming in the future,” Walat said. “But probably the most valuable insight that we gained is matching the scale of the environmental solution to the environmental problem. For large scale issues like climate change, collective action at the community, regional, national and international levels is essential.”

McLean added, “Port Townsend is an amazing place and we are really innovative when it comes to supporting climate change solutions in our community. From our robust farmers market to our walkable and bike-able town—we have the perfect platform to inspire responsible stewardship and civic action in so many people who come to visit. Together we can make a big difference.”

NNOCCI is a collaborative effort led by the New England Aquarium with the Association for Zoos and Aquariums, the FrameWorks Institute, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Monterey Bay Aquarium, the New Knowledge Organization in partnership with Penn State University and the Ohio’s Center for Science and Industry. With support from the National Science Foundation Climate Change Education Partnership program, NNOCCI’s goal is to establish a national network of professionals who are skilled in communicating climate science to the American public.