As I write this I am on my way to Cleveland to attend a memorial service for Howard F. Stirn, former Chairman of the Board. He was one of the founders of Mystic Aquarium, and he and his wife Cara visited frequently until a few years ago. He died last month at the age of 92.
In recent years Howard kept in close touch with Mystic Aquarium through email and telephone calls. He cared deeply about the staff and would often buy a table at Ocean Commotion with the request that it be for staff to attend. I had the privilege of being with him about a year ago at his home in Ohio. We will miss Howard deeply and strive to carry on his legacy of leadership, dedication, and fundamental decency.
Thank you to Denise Armstrong and Richard Darling who did an excellent job presenting the 2017 budget to the Finance Committee on Tuesday. We also had a meeting of the Mystic Entertainment Company, a subsidiary, which runs Ocean Blue Catering and Penguins Cafe. Kathy Lloyd, the company’s Executive Director, and her team have grown the operation over the past year, all with a focus on improving quality and service.
On Wednesday I was in Baltimore for the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation. They have been incredibly supportive of our mission over many years and I was pleased to spend time with their president, and our Trustee, Steve Salem. We are very pleased to collaborate with the Foundation on national youth mentoring programs, and also in the establishment of programs and new facilities for youth in Connecticut.
Then on Thursday I was in New York City with Trustees Clay Maitland and Carleen Lyden-Kluss – founders of the North American Marine Environmental Protection Association (NAMEPA). The organization brings together the maritime industry and federal agencies like the United States Coast Guard to find common ground in improving industry standards related to protecting the ocean environment. We had a Board meeting in the morning, then a public seminar on shipping issues and an awards dinner.
This week, William Hanna, Curator of Fishes and Invertebrates, gave an excellent report on some of the comings and goings of various animals. Here are some highlights:
A new Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) arrived on Thursday, October 20, 2016. Tori Davis and Noelle Bates drove down to North Carolina to drop off the previous animal and pick up a new specimen. Here is a quick video recap. The animal is housed in quarantine for observation. Staff will monitor feed responses and work with veterinary team to obtain basic health analysis. I expect the animal to be moved to exhibit by the end of next week. As of this morning, the animal ate krill and was observed swimming and acting normally.
Mystic Aquarium recently acquired an Alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula). We are also acquiring 25 new tree frogs (Leptopelis rufus) from Fort Worth Zoo for the Frogs! exhibit. One of our former staff, Seamus Ehrhard, has been very helpful assisting with this transaction. The animals should arrive next week.
A new Giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) was acquired earlier this month. This is a small specimen, approximately 4-6 months old. Our current octopus on exhibit arrived last year and may be reaching her 2-year life expectancy very soon. She is still very active and showing no signs of senescence.
Charlotte, the Green sea turtle (Chelonis midas) is now trained to spend extra time under UV lamp during feed. This extended exposure to UV will help with her shell condition.
Laurie Macha, Curator of Mammals and Birds, and her family – all UConn Alumni – were featured in UConn Magazine! Click here to check it out.
Scary as it is, it’s the end of October, which signifies to many the beginning of the holiday season. I want to give special thanks to SVP External Relations Andy Wood, Events and Partnerships Marketing Manager, Ainslie Seeber, and our entire team for their excellent collaborations on our seasonal events. Please share the events as they come up on our social media and website, and be sure to have your friends and family come to experience. Click here for details on Sea Scare 2016.
See you all soon!