Monday, November 30, 2009

Elf Camp

Need some guilt-free time away from the kids to finish (or start!) your holiday shopping? Sign up your 5-10 year old up for Elf Camp at the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher where they will make and wrap gifts, meet other elves and tour the Aquarium. This fun and educational program gives adult elves guilt-free time for holiday shopping or relaxation. Register early at (910) 458-7468 to get the date you want.

ELF CAMP: Freshwater Animals
Saturday, December 5
Times: 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM
Ages: 5-10 years old
Fee: $50 includes aquarium admission, pizza lunch, snacks, crafts, holiday gift-wrap,
and instruction

ELF CAMP: Brackish Water Animals
Saturday, December 12
Time: 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM
Ages: 5-10 years old
Fee: $50 includes aquarium admission, pizza lunch, snacks, crafts, holiday gift-wrap, and instruction

ELF CAMP: Focus on Saltwater Animals
Saturday, December 19
Time: 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM
Ages: 5-10 years old
Fee: $50 includes aquarium admission, pizza lunch, snacks, crafts, holiday gift-wrap, and instruction

Limited transportation from the Monkey Junction area is available to and from Elf Camp. We can accommodate only 13 children per day. A fee and pre-registration is required.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Great Laundry Debate

Laundry is a chore that most people would like to forget, and in many instances halfway through the chore people do forget! Re-drying the laundry to remove wrinkles instead of actually removing the clothes from the dryer and drying the comforter numerous times because it never gets dry enough; these are all common problems that people face when doing the laundry. Among the appliances in your home, dryers use the most electricity, making them one of the least environmentally friendly.
One way to reduce your ecological footprint is discovering alternative ways to dry your laundry. Project Laundry List is attempting to make air-drying and cold-water washing laundry acceptable and desirable as a simple and effective way to save energy. The program focuses on educating people about why they should use clotheslines and other non-dryer techniques. They have also used advocacy as a technique in recent accomplishments, such as the Right to Dry legislation that is attempting to make it possible for people to use clotheslines in areas they were previously banned from using. This awesome program hopes to continue to create positive change that will better the environment.

To learn more about program visit

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Aquababies Weekend THIS WEEKEND!

Pack a diaper bag and bring your camera...we're showing off our babies! The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher will host an “Aquababies Weekend” November 21-22, 2009 from 9 am to 5 pm each day.

The Aquarium's tremendous success producing baby animals will be highlighted all weekend. Meet our 'youngsters' including: jellyfish, sea turtles, alligators, sea horses, fishes, snakes and more. “This is a unique opportunity for the community to see babies that were either born here at the Aquarium or came to us as babies,” says Hap Fatzinger, aquarium curator.

Baby animals will be on view, as well as stingray, turtle and snake x-rays from pregnant mothers. The Aquarium’s education department will provide activities to help visitors appreciate the animals on display as well as the challenges to on-site propagation. New this year, tanks will be set up featuring juvenile versions of several adult fish that can be found in the Cape Fear Shoals tank, such as juvenile sandbar sharks, tripletail, spadefish, and a goliath grouper.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Turkey Day the Sustainable Way

Oh what a glorious time of year! Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and we are all patiently waiting for that one aspect of the day; the FEAST! The Thanksgiving feast is a time for food inhibitions to be thrown away, but let’s make it the only thing we toss away! Here are a few simple ways to make your feast more sustainable:

1. Purchase locally grown, seasonal produce- Buying local reduces the amount of shipping it takes to transport them to the area and supports local businesses and farmers. For the freshest vegetable and fruits, buy seasonal produce.

2. Buy organic foods- Buying organic foods help the environment because of the reduced use of pesticides. Several essential feast items can now be found in organic including turkey, apples and celery.

3. Create natural centerpieces- When searching for the perfect items to create a Thanksgiving centerpiece, try looking in nature instead of stores. Pinecones, dried leaves, Osage oranges, and other natural materials that can be found in your backyard can create an awesome centerpiece for all to enjoy!

4. Purchase ingredients with minimal packaging- Many food products are wrapped in multiple layers of packaging, which ends up in the trash can. Attempt to find products that are lightly wrapped in order to cut back on the trash.

5. Don’t use the garbage disposal plate technique- We tend to mound an assortment of food on our plates until it is impossible to tell where the turkey ends and the green bean casserole begins! American’s thrown away 40% of their food, so this year encourage your family to take smaller portions and clean their plates (then go back for seconds, if needed).

6. Leftovers, leftovers, leftovers!- Find new innovative ways to turn leftover food into more masterpieces!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Right Day to Spot a Whale

It’s not an everyday sight to see a whale in the Fort Fisher area, but for one recreational boater Sunday, November 8th was a lucky day. The boater called in a report that they had seen a North Atlantic Right whale around Masonboro Jetty. UNCW’s aerial marine mammal survey team was in the air at the time and flew over the area to see if the sighting was accurate. In fact, three North Atlantic Right whales were sighted near Fort Fisher State Park in Kure Beach. This is one of the earliest recorded seasonal sightings of North Atlantic Right whales in the Cape Fear region.

Right whales are large, bulky baleen whales. Baleen whales lack teeth and use baleen, which hangs in rows from the roof of the mouth, to sieve ocean waters for planktonic prey. The upper jaw of a North Atlantic Right whale is narrow and covered by hardened patches of skin called “callosities.”These callosities are actually sea lice living symbiotically on the whales and every Right whale can be identified by a unique callosity pattern. Right whales lack a dorsal fin or ridge; this and their large paddle-shaped pectoral fins help distinguish them from the humpback whale. Humpback whales travel along the NC coast in winter months often close enough to see from shore. North Atlantic Right whales are commonly 35-55 feet long; the largest ever recorded was 60 feet long. They are among the slowest swimming whales, and can live up to 70 years. The North Atlantic Right whale is extremely endangered even though it has been protected since the 1930s. Right whales, because they swim slowly close to shore, suffer high mortality from ship strikes with large ocean vessels. Entanglement in fishing gear also poses a great threat to these whales. Climate change impacts on the ocean threaten the productivity of Right whale feeding grounds. Copepods, the primary prey for North Atlantic Right whales, decline in response to even a slight increases in ocean temperature.

Several options have been suggested to reduce the deaths of Right whales; including boat speed limits and whale calls in avoid ship collisions. Vessel restrictions went into effect in December 2009. The restrictions require boats 65 feet or longer to travel at a speed of 10 knots or less in certain locations along the east coast of the U.S. Atlantic seaboard at certain times of the year, these new rules are an effort to bring the Right whales back to a healthy status.