Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mother Nature at Work

Yesterday at the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher, a turtle laid seven eggs. She's been wandering the Conservatory for two weeks, looking for the perfect spot. She had a big audience of staff, visitors and even a couple of quails, but wasn't shy at all. The eggs will be put in the incubator and hopefully they're fertile.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Spend the Summer with Us

Do you love the ocean? Are you interested in teaching others about the amazing creatures that live along the North Carolina coast? If so, then volunteer at the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher.

Volunteers are vital to the operation of all of the Aquarium's programs. From helping to teach the public to assisting with plant or animal care to diving in to clean an exhibit, we simply could not do it without them.

We look for people who are reliable, enthusiastic, and eager to learn and teach others about marine habitats. Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age. A junior volunteer program is available for teens age 15-17; a great way to spend the summer!

Opportunities are available in Education, Horticulture, Certified Diving, and Aquariology. For more information, please click here.

Monday, April 28, 2008

We're Getting a New Ride

The N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher received a grant from the Community Foundation of Southeastern North Carolina in the amount of $15,000 to help the aquarium acquire a new outreach vehicle. This is in addition to $55,000 raised by the N.C. Aquarium Society.

The Outreach program currently brings marine invertebrates, like sea stars and hermit crabs, in addition to reptiles and amphibians to schools, libraries, camps, and community groups. By outfitting a large truck, educators will now be able to bring a bit of North Carolina’s coastal environment to students who live in the mountains or the piedmont and may never get a chance to visit the beach.

Features of the van will include a life support system, heating and air to maintain proper temperatures, biodiesel fuel and a lift to allow easy and safe access for the animals and their caretakers.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Calling All Artists!

Coastal America is holding an ocean art contest for kindergarten - university level students. Participants are encouraged to use their creativity and artistic talent to express the importance of our oceans and coasts to you and the world. Winning artwork will be displayed at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

Entries must be original paintings, drawings, photographs or other visual art work created by the contestant. Only two dimensional works are accepted and cannot exceed 24"x36". Art work should reflect one of the seven Essential Principles of Ocean Literacy outlined below. A narrative (not exceeding 150 words) explaining the art work must accompany the work.

The Seven Essential Principles of Ocean Literacy:

Art work must reflect one of the Seven Essential Principles:
1. The Earth has one big ocean with many features.
2. The ocean and life in the ocean shape the features of the Earth.
3. The ocean is a major influence on weather and climate.
4. The ocean makes Earth habitable.
5. The ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems.
6. The ocean and humans are inextricably interconnected.
7. The ocean is largely unexplored.

Contest age groups are as follows:
Group 1: Grades K-2
Group 2: Grades 3-5
Group 3: Grades 6-8
Group 4: Grades 9-12
Group 5: College and University Students

As a member of Coastal America, the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher is accepting art submissions. All works must be received by May 30. Participating schools are asked to select the top 10 works for each group. For more information, please visit the Coastal America site here and/or contact Stefanie Misner at 910.458.8257 ext. 234 or via email at

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Cool Plate...Cooler Benefits

When it's time to renew your NC license plate, consider getting a specialized plate that benefits your favorite coastal cause. Between $10-$20 is returned to the organization to further their missions. Plus, you'll be free advertising for the organization, encouraging others to get involved. For more information, or to order a plate, click here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Amphibians in the Classroom

The NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher is offering amphibians in the classroom to foster a sense of environmental stewardship among students, while creating a better understanding of amphibians and the environment we share.

Select students at Anderson Elementary, Carolina Beach Elementary, Cape Fear Center for Inquiry, Freeman Elementary, Myrtle Grove Middle School, St. Mary’s Parrish and Wrightsville Beach Elementary will be raising Southern toads from toad eggs. Toad eggs were delivered to the classrooms in late March and hatched into tadpoles right away. With their teacher’s assistance and an extensive fact sheet from the aquarium, students will learn more about amphibians and their growth. In late May, students will release their Southern toads back into the habitat from which the toad eggs were collected.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

Today, April 22, is Earth Day. If you're not already living "green", it's not too late to start. Below are some easy tips to get going.

  • With rising fuel costs and still prevalent pollution problems, consider carpooling to work. For errands nearby, ride your bike or walk. The exercise will do you good!
  • NC is experiencing a significant drought. Reduce your water consumption by turning off the water while washing dishing, shaving and brushing your teeth. And fix any leaks right away.
  • Start a garden. Food that you grow yourself does not have to be "processed" or "packaged", and no fossil fuels are needed to get it to the store and then to your house. Saves money too!
  • Plastic grocery bags account for a lot of unnecessary trash in landfills. Buy a reusable shopping bag to take with you. Next time you're asked, "Paper or plastic?", you can say, "No thanks, I have my own." NBC is selling a green grocery bag kit, containing one large and two small bag. Plus, they're 100% organic and machine washable. During Earth Week, April 21st – April 27th, 100% of the proceeds from the sale of this bag will go to the Nature Conservancy. To order, visit: click here.
  • If you forget your reusable grocery bag, reuse the plastic ones for picking up after Fido - this keeps our water cleaner too!
  • Print something in error? Flip the page over, put it back in your printer and use that sheet again.
  • Glass, aluminum, paper and plastic are all recyclable. Better yet, buy a reusable, refillable water bottle instead of wasting plastic.
  • Buy "precycled" products such as toilet tissue made out of recycled products.
  • Can't wear those favorite jeans anymore? Don't toss 'em - donate them to your favorite charity.
The Earth Day celebration continues with a day of festivities at Wilmington's Hugh McRae park. This year's theme is "Trees Please", featuring live music, good food, environmental information and activities for all ages. Be sure to stop by the Aquarium booth. For more information, click here.

These tips are easy to fit into your lifestyle, while decreasing your "footprint" on this planet. Be sure to practice them every day, not just Earth Day!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Turtle Test Swim

Three injured turtles from the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center visited the aquarium yesterday. Bradley, a loggerhead, was found severely injured in Bradley Creek. She had been struck by a boat. She is missing one flipper. Jersey, a Kemp's Ridley, lost a flipper in a fishing net in New Jersey. Canal was bitten by a shark and found in a canal on Ocean Isle Beach. She lost two flippers and a chunk of her shell. Turtle rescuers wondered how the amputees would fare if released back into the ocean. Their 300 gallon rehabilitation tanks were too small to test their abilities. Once they hit the water in our 6,500 gallon tank, they took off with cheers and encouragement from all who watched. We are happy to report - they all passed with flying colors. Bradley, Jersey and Canal will be released in late June.