Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Goodbye and Good Luck, Inky!

On July 21, 2015 the staff at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center released "Inky," their resident Giant Pacific Octopus back into the Salish Sea. Check out the video below documenting the duration of her stay at PTMSC and her release.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Announcing Winner of Anne Murphy Ocean Stewardship Scholarship

The Port Townsend Marine Science Center is pleased to announce the winner of the Anne Murphy Ocean Stewardship scholarship. The Port Townsend Marine Science Center awards this $500 scholarship annually to a graduating East Jefferson county high school senior who embodies the values that Anne Murphy lives: curiosity, wonder, and love of the marine environment. Anne Murphy served as Executive Director of the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, pouring her heart into growing an organization that would  nurture exploration and discovery of our local shores and waters. She retired after 24 years, leaving behind a vibrant community treasure that has profoundly affected thousands of people.

Anne Murphy

The winner of this year's award is Rian Plastow, selected for her demonstrated interest in science and the environment. Rian has pursued her interest in environmental science since the 7th grade. As an active community organizer and advocate for ocean health in Jefferson County, Rian has worked with organizations like the Jefferson Land Trust on the Elwha River re-vegetation project and the North Olympic Salmon Coalition to restore salmon habitat.

Rian Plastow
Rian is off to Evergreen State College this fall where she will study environmental science and ecology, continuing her work with watershed health. “I want to speak for the trees, for the salmon, the ocean, the creeks, and everything else that doesn’t have a voice,” Rian said. She’s also excited to pass on what she’s learned by teaching children about human impacts on the environment and steps they can take to reduce their impact. “I think education is the key to really making a change,” Rian said. “This is the generation that can make an impact and I want to be a part of that.”

We wish Rian well during her first year of collegiate study and are thankful for her support of ocean health and advocacy.

The Anne Murphy Ocean Steward Scholarship will be awarded each year in the spring. We invite you to make an annual contribution to this fund. Learn more about the Anne Murphy Ocean Stewardship Scholarship.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Citizen Science Report - Spring 2015

Rain, rain! Please don’t go away!

With a timely rain storm, PTMSC volunteers completed our roof runoff study in November of 2014. Since then, the Citizen Science program at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center had busy fall and winter seasons. The pages that follow highlight measurable impacts our volunteers have had on the health of the Salish Sea.

In 6 years, the Citizen Science program has doubled in volunteer hours. We will engage over 100 volunteers in the coming year. This summer, we will have 18 citizen science projects engaging mem-bers of our community in civic science. These are remarkable mile-stones for the program and we’d like to thank all of YOU for mak-ing it possible.

—Jamie Montague, Citizen Science Coordinator

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Necropsy Video

Ever wondered what a marine mammal necropsy was? What sort of information can we gather? You can learn that and more in our new Necropsy Video!


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Summer Events at the Marine Science Center

Download a PDF of this poster to share with friends!

Our exhibits are open 11-5 daily except Tuesdays.

Here's a sampling of what's happening this summer!

Saturday, June 11: Animal Feeding 2pm, Wildlife Cruise 6-9pm

Friday, June 17: Oceanography on the Dock 2-3pm

Saturday, June 18: Animal Feeding 2pm, Wildlife Cruise 6-9pm

Saturday, June 25: Animal Feeding 2pm, Wildlife Cruise 6-9pm

Saturday, August 1: Low Tide Walk 10-11:30am, Animal Feeding 2pm, Wildlife Cruise 6-9pm

Friday, August 7: Oceanography on the Dock 2-3pm

Saturday, August 8: Animal Feeding 2pm, Wildlife Cruise 6-9pm

Saturday, August 15: Bug Hunt 1-2:30pm, Animal Feeding 2pm

Friday, August 21: Oceanography on the Dock 2-3pm

Saturday, August 22: Animal Feeding 2pm

Saturday, August 29: Low Tide Walk 9:30-11am, Animal Feeding 2pm

Located at Fort Worden State Park
Adults $5 | Kids $3 | Members FREE

www.ptmsc.org | 360-385-5582 | info@ptmsc.org

Want to be the first to find out about special events and activities? Sign up for our monthly newsletter!

Roof Runoff Survey Completed

One stormy night in October of 2014, the PTMSC volunteers and staff completed the second and final round of roof runoff collection. Over 10 volunteers valiantly weathered the storm to collect runoff from 11 residential roofs in Port Townsend. With funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, PTMSC was able to send samples for analysis to the University of Washington labs in Tacoma. Our goal was to analyze for presence and abundance of a class of contaminants called PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons).

This class of chemicals is considered ubiquitous in the marine environment. The atmospheric origin of PAHs are by-products of the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, wood, residential heating, and vehicular emissions. Many variations of PAHs are considered to be human carcinogens
(Delhomme, et al., 2008).

The same 11 roofs were sampled in November of 2013 and October of 2014. Methods of contaminant analysis for the 2013 and 2014 sampling differed slightly. The 2013 sampling looked at contaminants soluble in the runoff. The 2014 sampling looked at those, as well as all solid materials in the sample. We changed the method due to concern that compounds fixed to the sample's debris were not being accounted for.

Runoff samples were collected during rain storms.
Conclusively, the total load of contaminants detected was low. Similar studies in more industrialized areas of the world show higher levels of detection. However, it is important to remember that this study sampled a small percentage of residential roofs in Port Townsend. Although the contribution of PAHs from a single roof may be small, the collective contribution from all Port Townsend roofs can be significant when considering health impacts on people and the marine environment. Furthermore, the contribution of PAHs (and other chemicals of concern) from all Salish Sea residential roofs is an important element of scale to consider.

Although in small concentrations, nearly all PAH's tested for were present in roof runoff.

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!

Friday, July 3, 2015

4th of July Low-Tide Walk

Saturday, July 4th
11:00 am - 12:30 pm 

Meet at the Natural History Exhibit at 11 am for a guided Low Tide Walk. Not only is tomorrow the 4th of July, but it's also a great low-tide (-2.12) perfect for a public low-tide walk!

If you'd like to join us and learn about the wondrous creatures beneath our waters, then come down to the Natural History Exhibit at Fort Worden at 11am on Saturday. Wear closed-toe shoes you'll be comfortable walking about a half-mile each way in on a gravel beach and dress for the weather. It should be a lot of fun!

Be sure to stop by the Marine Science Center at 2pm for the animal feeding in the Marine Exhibit to say goodbye to Inky, the Giant Pacific Octopus before her release back into her undersea world! She's had quite the stay here, growing larger and larger, eating lots of crabs, and helping PTMSC staff and volunteers educate our guests about the wonders of the Salish Sea.

PTMSC staff are preparing to release her very soon, crossing our fingers that she'll continue to grow, find a mate, and lay eggs that will introduce new little GPO's to the Salish Sea.

But wait! There's more!

Stick around for the first annual "Old School 4th of July!"

Fireworks are returning to Fort Worden this year and will make their official debut at 8:30 pm on Saturday. July 4th celebrations will be underway from 4pm-on at the Fort.