Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Shark’s New Playground

Palau, a small Pacific republic, has created the world’s first “shark sanctuary”, which will ban all commercial shark fishing in its waters. President Johnson Toribiong announced his plans to create the shark sanctuary during the United Nations General Assembly in September 2009. The plan would protect nearly 230, 000 square miles of ocean, an area similar to the size of France. This amazing effort by Palau has received global support, and has been coined the “leader of the world in shark conservation.” Over 130 shark species swim the waters surrounding Palau, and will be positively affected by the new sanctuary.

President Toribiong also called for a global ban on shark-fining, the act of removing the fins of sharks in order to sell and trade them. Shark-fining has become one reason why humans are public enemy number one for sharks. Over 100 million sharks are killed each year around the world, due largely in part to the shark-fining industry. Over half of the world’s sharks are currently at risk of extinction, and if this industry continues the shark population will be negatively affected forever.

The heroic effort by President Toribiong and the Palau community deserves a gold star for leading the way in saving our finned friends of the world!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Take Tree Time during Take a Child Outside Week

The week of September 24-30 is Take a Child Outside Week, which is designed to break down barriers that are keeping children from discovering the environment. The week was created by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in an effort to get children outdoors. The museum created activities that are simple ways for parents, teachers, and other caregivers to go outside with a child.

According to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science, “The goal of the week is to help children across the country develop a better understanding and appreciation of the environment in which they live, and a burgeoning enthusiasm for its exploration”.

Going outside not only helps connect children with nature, it also helps them focus in school and lets some of that built up energy out. Here is one activity to get you started with your outdoor play date.

Let loose, and instead of singing “rain, rain, go away” indoors; go outside an embrace the watery fun!

Rainy Days

Best age range: all ages
Location: anywhere, but a natural area such as backyard or park is the best
Best time: anytime it is raining (but not during a thunderstorm and/or lightening)
Season: any
Special materials: raingear, if you want to stay dry
What to do: Dress to stay comfortable but keep your hands free— no umbrellas today! Peek into puddles; listen for bird and frog calls. Discover how many kinds of raindrops you can see. Find a plant with rain dripping from the tips of its leaves. Try to find out where animals go when it is raining.
*Activity provided by

Stay tuned for more interactive outdoor activities throughout the week!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Freaky Friends Outreach Program

Fishing in the fall at Fort Fisher

Want to learn to surf fish but hate the heat? With fall’s arrival, bringing with it cooler temperatures, the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher continues their popular surf fishing workshops. This three-hour workshop includes one hour of classroom discussion, then fishing on the beach nearby. In the classroom, participants learn about common fishing equipment, baits, and fish identification. Then the fishing begins. Participants practice the catch and release method as they search the waters for fish and then learn how to use a cast net to catch their own bait fish.

Fall fishing sessions bring an array of fish that are commonly found in the area. According to surf fishing instructor Rick Wilkinson, “Fall is the best season for fishing because the larger fish come in closer to the shore.” One popular fish is the red drum, which is North Carolina’s state fish. Other frequently caught fish are whiting, black drum, flounder, and bluefish.

The workshops, which are fun for both children and adults, are ages ten and up and the fee is $12 per participant. Aquarium admission is not included. Pre-registration is required and can be made by calling 910-458-7468. Workshops are offered Saturday, October 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31 at 9:00 am.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

NC Aquarium Offers Scout Days

Boy and Girl Scouts are invited to visit the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher during our Scout Days, which offers diverse programs that focus on an aspect of the marine environment. The programs are tailored to help scouts complete their patch or badge requirements.

The Water Wonders program for Girl Scouts teaches troops the essentials about water education with an intense day filled with activities, adventures, and fun! The program agenda includes salt marsh crabbing, water testing and plankton observation, learning about the water cycle, and a self-guided tour through the Aquarium. This program will be held on Saturday, October 10th from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Boy Scouts learn the basics of oceanography including the importance of studying marine environments with the Oceanography program. Scouts get hands-on experience doing lab activities and exploring the salt marsh. They also learn about different careers in marine science. The Oceanography program is offered on Saturday, October 24th from 9:00 am - 1:00 pm.

Observing, identifying, and classifying local flora and fauna helps introduce Boy Scouts to the role of an environmentalist in the Naturalist program. Scouts learn about flyways, see live animals in a classroom presentation and in our exhibits, and explore outdoor areas. The scouts will take a guided tour through the Aquarium, as well as visit the salt marsh to collect plants and animals. The Naturalist program is offered on Saturday, October 24th from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm.
Scout groups can also schedule a behind the scenes tour, canoeing trip, or animal program. Scouts can attend the programs with their parents or troop. Space for the programs are limited and pre-registration is required. The cost is $15.00 per Girl Scout, $12.00 per Boy Scout, and $8.00 per adult. For more information about the Scout Programs call 910-458-7468 or visit

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Aquarium plans ‘Deaf Awareness Day,’ Sept. 12

The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher will offer a lineup of programs tailored especially for the deaf and hard of hearing on Saturday, Sept 12.

Sign language, captioning or scripting will enhance most of the activities of the day – animal feedings, live-animal presentations and films – and interpreters will assist visitors at selected exhibits.

The dive program, scheduled for 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., will include an interpreter assisting with questions for the diver.

The aquarium presents Deaf Awareness Day with the assistance of the Regional Resource Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, to draw attention to the needs and interests of the hearing-impaired.

Scheduled Aquarium activities on Sept. 12 include:

10:00 am Film: Web of Life
10:30 am Dive Show
11:00 am Buzzard Bay feeding
11:30 am Spiny Skinned Animals
12:00 pm Film: Nightlife
1:30 pm Live Alligator program
2:30 pm Dive Show
3:00 pm Alligator feeding
3:30 pm Film: Unlovables

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Look at Life Through a Lens

The NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher invites you to view the peaceful moments in life with its new Spadefish gallery art exhibit. “Photography by Matt Lettrich” will be on display September- November. The exhibit showcases breathtaking photographs of coastal landscapes with unique lighting and remarkable perspectives.

After taking a darkroom studio photography course in high school, Lettrich became entranced by photography. The class credit quickly morphed into a passionate hobby. Lettrich enjoys engaging in outdoor activities and snapping shots of subjects that enhance his experience. His camera always accompanies him in case the perfect shot arises, such as waves crashing underneath a pier or a fisherman lifting a cast net out of the water at sunset. Matt currently attends the University of North Carolina Wilmington as a graduate student in the Marine Science program.

The Spadefish gallery at the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher showcases local artists throughout the year. Artwork that coincides with the Aquarium’s mission of “Inspiring Appreciation and Conservation of North Carolina’s Aquatic Environment” is located on the second floor, near the auditorium.
*Photo by Matt Lettrich entitled "Fisherman Silhouette"