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|Sea Research Foundation Names Walter Graf Stranding Assistant|
MYSTIC, Conn. (January 8, 2008) – Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration, divisions of Sea Research Foundation, Inc., announced today that Walter Graf has been named stranding assistant. Graf joined the aquarium on January 2.
As stranding assistant, Graf will assist in the rescue, rehabilitation and release of stranded marine mammals and sea turtles, help maintain the aquarium’s rehabilitation facilities, respond to stranding calls, collect data during call responses and the rehabilitation process and assist in conducting public outreach programs.“Walter’s experience in all aspects of marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation at a facility that cared for up to 60 animals at any given time will be a huge asset to us,” said Janelle Schuh, stranding coordinator at Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration. “His background in a fastpaced environment, coupled with his animal care and science experience and EMT-B, first aid and CPR training, will help us continue to effectively respond to the many stranding calls we receive each year and further develop our Marine Animal Rescue Program.” Graf comes from the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) in Rockville, Md., where he has served as a mitochondrial DNA technician for one and a half years. In this role, Graf pieced together DNA sequences for skeletal remains to assist in identification of soldiers. In his free time, Graf was a volunteer interpreter at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. Prior to arriving at AFDIL, Graf was an immunologist with Maine Biotechnology Services for three years. He also volunteered for two and a half years with the Marine Animal Lifeline in Westbrook, Maine, where he participated in numerous seal rescues and aided in the rehabilitation of hooded, harp, gray and harbor seals.“I got more satisfaction out of that volunteer experience than in my career,” said Graf. “My heart really lies in working with animals, so I am very happy and excited about this opportunity to join the stranding department and continue assisting in marine mammal rehabilitation.”
Graf is EMT-B-certified in the state of Massachusetts and has been certified through the National Safety Council as an instructor of CPR for the professional rescuer and as an instructor of community CPR and first aid. He received his bachelor’s of art degree in biology from Boston University. Graf resides in Waterford, Conn. About Sea Research Foundation, Inc.
Mystic Aquarium, Institute for Exploration and Immersion Presents are divisions of Sea Research Foundation, Inc., a private, non-profit, charitable organization incorporated in the State of Connecticut. The mission of Sea Research is to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through education, research and exploration.
About Sea Research Foundation’s Stranding DepartmentMystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration has been rescuing stranded marine mammals for more than 30 years, and is a founding member of the Northeast Regional Stranding Network. The network consists of independent organizations dedicated to caring for sick and injured animals and learning more about the reasons they come ashore. Stranding Department staff care for sea turtles and marine mammals, from the smallest seals to whales that weigh up to 1,000 pounds. In all, the aquarium has responded to more than 800 stranding calls from the public, treating more than 300 marine mammals and releasing more than 160 that would have died had they been left on the shore.
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