President’s Blog: July 18, 2017
President's Blog

President’s Blog: July 18, 2017

Dear Friend:   Trustee Terry Garcia: Experienced Ocean Leadership Mystic…

Dear Friend:

 

Trustee Terry Garcia: Experienced Ocean Leadership

Mystic Aquarium has a remarkable Board of Trustees.

Trustee Terry Garcia is an international expert on oceans.  An attorney by training, Trustee Garcia was appointed by President Clinton and served as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, Deputy Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Terry Garcia
Trustee Terry Garcia

For 17 years from 1999 to 2016, Trustee Garcia led National Geographic Society’s conservation, science and exploration programs as Chief Science Officer.  After the horrendous 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico, Mr. Garcia was asked by President Obama to serve on a commission charged with investigating the incident, and making recommendations for policy changes.

Trustee Garcia was in Ireland last week on an official visit and was interviewed by the Irish Times.  He expresses optimism about the future of our oceans; click the link below to read the article.

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/science/gulf-of-mexico-style-oil-spill-could-happen-again-1.3149518

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Octopodes, Octopi or Octopuses?

We welcomed a new octopus to the Weird and Wonderful exhibit last week.  It weighs approximately eight pounds soaking wet (which is how an octopus should be) and is probably about a year old.

new octopus
Otis the Octopus
(photo by Dale Wolbrink)

Our Curator of Fish and Invertebrates, William Hana, reports that large species of octopuses can live between 3-5 years. Males generally die shortly after mating while females live until the eggs hatch. It is very difficult to determine the actual age of an animal when we receive them.

He also notes that many people may wonder what the correct term is when dealing with multiple animals. He writes,  “Octopus has its origin in ancient Greek, not Latin, where the plural is octopodes. Octopuses is more commonly used than octopi in edited writings of various kinds, though octopi are accepted in speaking English.”

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Mystic Aquarium, West Marine and Youth Conservation

A few weeks back I wrote about our Youth Conservation Corps.  We are delighted to be partnering with West Marine through their “Blue Future” initiative on several programs that engage youth leaders in conservation projects.

I want to share an article that appeared in a recent West Marine publication about the partnership:

BlueFuture Heroes: Every day, in communities across the country, dedicated groups of people are working hard to give more children access to the water. West Marine’s BlueFuture would like to introduce just a few of the wonderful nonprofit organizations that are making a real difference in the lives of America’s young people. They are our heroes.

Blue Futures
BlueFuture Kids Zone during the World Oceans Day Celebration at Mystic Aquarium

World Oceans Day 2017 proved to be an exciting time for West Marine, as it was our nonprofit BlueFuture program’s first opportunity to partner with the world-renowned Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut. On June 8, we welcomed aquarium guests to our BlueFuture Kids Zone activity tent, we unveiled our new 30-second BlueFuture video, our fun “pieceless” puzzles were available for purchase in the aquarium’s gift shop, and we contributed Princeton Tec headlamps for the eagerly anticipated horseshoe crab walk.

According to MaryEllen Mateleska, Director of Education & Conservation, the Mystic Aquarium team also was thrilled to join forces with BlueFuture.

“BlueFuture’s commitment to supporting educational programs that connect youth with nature directly aligns with Mystic Aquarium’s mission ‘to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through conservation, education and research,'” she explains.

This important collaboration allowed Mystic Aquarium and the world’s premier Waterlife Outfitter to share their joint values of ocean conservation, education and youth engagement with the thousands of visitors who participated in World Oceans Day programming throughout the day.

“With such significant challenges facing marine ecosystems and their inhabitants,” Mateleska says, “it is essential for organizations with shared values, such as BlueFuture and Mystic Aquarium, to team up to educate and engage audiences of all ages in being part of the solution.”

Mystic Aquarium is dedicated to providing opportunities for youth that enhance their marine science and conservation knowledge while also developing leadership skills. Through programs like Youth Conservation Corps (YCC), the aquarium provides students with the mentors and enriching experiences necessary for them to become environmental leaders.

YCC is a group of dedicated high school students who work to promote marine science and conservation. Through community-based programs and student-led activities-including beach clean-ups, citizen science programs, student summits, and the development of activities for public conservation events-these students are able to accomplish their goals.

“YCC students assisted with all aspects of the World Oceans Day celebration, including leading table-top activities, engaging with our social media followers, and even helping to guide participants during the full-moon horseshoe crab walk,” Mateleska reports.

Mystic Aquarium hosts approximately 750,000 visitors and engages more than 100,000 children in educational programs each year through on-site, off-site and virtual programming. Its school programs are aligned to state and national school standards, and its enriching activities demonstrate the real-world applications for classroom topics. It even has an accredited and licensed preschool right on campus, where young children can use the aquarium as a living laboratory to explore marine science.

And, through its informal education and conservation programs, Mystic Aquarium engages scout troops, campers, individuals and families with experiences that range from aquarium overnights and field programs to coastal beach exploration and habitat restoration initiatives.

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See you all soon!

Steve

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