Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Aquarium Welcomes Interns

This summer at the aquarium we have seven interns joining the education team. Outreach and Husbandry also have an intern as well. The Education Interns get to assist the education staff with a variety of programs for the public. In addition to improving presentation skills, these interns assist with program development to add to the department’s selection of offerings. Other opportunities include exhibit interpreters for the Touch Tank and Let’s Talk Turtle Exhibit, small group tour guides, smart carts and presentations, and classroom activities. The education interns have been spending their first two weeks learning the ins and outs of the education department. Today they were animal handling trained with our invertebrates. This is what Echo had to say:

Today, Jocelyn, Whitney, Kyle, and I received invertebrate training from Melissa and Matt. Melissa showed us the invertebrate holding tank which contained horseshoe crabs, echinoderms, crustaceans, and snails. We learned to keep the animals in separate tanks because some of them eat each other, such as the Florida Horse Conch (Pleuroploca gigantea). We also learned the importance of cleaning your hands in between exhibits to prevent the spread of diseases. After we completed the first part of invertebrate training, we proceeded to learn how to handle the moon jellies with Matt. Matt showed us how to properly pick up a moon jelly from its tank. He explained that we need to lift the jelly out of the water upside down so that the bell acts as a bowl holding water so no air bubble get trapped. I am excited to handle the invertebrates here at the aquarium and eager to learn more.

From L-R: Echo, Jocelyn, Whitney, and Kyle

Monday, May 16, 2011

When Helping Hurts

It is not uncommon for outdoor enthusiasts to come across grounded and seemingly helpless baby birds this time of year. Unfortunately the best of intentions can often do more harm than good. The best advice for people who stumble upon baby birds is to simply leave them alone.

Humans who decide to care for a baby bird may not completely understand the amount of care required for the animal to live. Young birds need to be fed every 15-20 minutes from sunrise to sunset. They also require essential skills to survive in the wild. Learning to avoid predators and where to search for food are abilities only a bird’s parents can teach. Perhaps the most obvious con to raising a bird is the fact that the animal will form a close bond with humans instead of their own species. Such animals are no longer fearful of humans once released back into the wild.

If the amount of work and potential harm are not enough to deter humans from attempting to “help” baby birds found out of the nest, there are a few more facts to consider before allowing guilt to affect our actions. A bird’s nest is a dangerous place for the youngsters as it is practically an open buffet for any predator. Therefore, the baby birds will try to leave the nest as quickly as they can even if they are not quite ready. It is common for them to fall to the ground and spend several days there as they continue to grow and prepare to fly. If you spot one, keep in mind that the parents are most likely very nearby and simply waiting for you to leave. For further reading please visit:



Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tips to Combat Air Pollution

In an era of complete dependence on fossil fuels it comes as little surprise that one of the greatest environmental concerns facing society today is that of air pollution. While it may appear to be a concern only in major cities around the country, the problem also exists here at home. A study recently published on webmd.com listed Charlotte, NC as the tenth smoggiest city in the United States with residents citing asthma, headaches, and a host of other health related problems.
While the dangerous and potentially disastrous effects of global warming seem almost a cliché amongst environmental conversation, there are small steps families can take to reduce their environmental footprint. For example, doing errands in bulk will spare a busy family constant trips and costly gas. Accelerating gradually and using cruise control on the highway are helpful tactics to getting more mileage out of your gas. Properly inflated tires and clean air filters may also save an individual’s air quality and fuel costs.
Fortunately, it does appear that the world is waking up to the very real danger posed by the use of fossil fuels. Ongoing developments and continued research are at the forefront of strategic plans for automobile companies and political administrations alike. Small steps on an individual level, however, are also important. Such measures can save our lungs as well as our wallets.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Aquarium Displays Local Art

The NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher is pleased to announce the latest showcase in the Spadefish Gallery. Andrea Dingeldein, an Aquarium employee, moved from the Piedmont of North Carolina to Wilmington six years ago to attend University of North Carolina Wilmington. While pursuing degrees in Marine Biology and Studio Art, she found a way to combine her passions by creating paintings inspired by marine organisms, artifacts, and coastal landscapes.

Andrea often paints landscapes on site, or “en plein air,” capturing the seasonal
changes of salt marshes and the flora and fauna inhabiting them. Though oil and acrylic paints are her mediums of choice, she is also interested in photography.

Surface and Subtidal is a collection of recent paintings inspired by
imagery characteristic of the coast, and includes several underwater
photographs from a recent trip to Bonaire. Each piece is a study of natural beauty, color, and structure, with subjects ranging from live oaks and tidal creeks to squid and horseshoe crabs.

Works are for sale and can be purchased by contacting the artist directly at polaroidsarefun@gmail.com.

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 of the Marine building, near the auditorium.