Friday, October 31, 2014

Volunteer of the Month: October

Every month our Volunteer office sorts through piles of nominations from supervisors and honors one of our volunteers for their truly stupendous efforts. Meet our latest Volunteer of the Month.

Asking one day per week for six months of our volunteers is asking an incredible commitment and is part of the reason we allow individuals to serve in just one position at a time. With our new program, the live blue™ Service Initiative, volunteers who want to go the extra mile can sign up for flexible opportunities, or also take on a leadership role on top of their traditional position.

October’s Volunteer of the Month is a live blue™ Service Leader in addition to being a leader amongst the Marine Mammals volunteers.  Please join us in congratulating Meaghan Sorce, an incredible volunteer leader.

Meaghan Sorce

Here’s what Kim Cummings and the other Marine Mammal Trainers had to say:
I, along with the other Marine Mammal Trainers, nominate Meaghan Sorce as September’s volunteer of the month. Even though Meaghan has been with our team for under a year she has taken the volunteer position to a whole new level. Her dedication, hard work, and reliability make her the perfect volunteer. Not only does Meaghan volunteer as a full day mammals volunteer she also spends her morning diving the fur seal exhibit going that extra mile to ensure the animal’s habitat is clean. 
She never complains regardless of what she is tasked to do and always has a smile on her face. The volunteers are expected to complete specific tasks throughout the day. We rely on them for the day to run smoothly. They help with diet preparation, vitamins, exhibit maintenance, enrichment, training sessions, cleaning and educational talks. Meaghan excels at all of these tasks, especially visitor interaction. She delivers wonderful public presentations, gearing her talk towards appropriate ages present. She spends quality time with guests answering questions and giving them details about the animals.
Meaghan has an amazing attitude. She never complains and always does more than she is asked to. There is a list of extra tasks to be done if you have spare time. Every Friday Meaghan knocks at least half of those tasks off the list. She always volunteers to go out into the public area and talk during animal enrichment even if she is not assigned to. She will fill her day with tasks that truly benefit the animals, staff and guests at the aquarium.  I cannot imagine a more deserving person for this honor.
Join us in thanking Meaghan for her work with the mammals and with volunteers in the field!
Learn more about how to sign up for the live blue™ Service Initiative.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween Countdown

Our blue planet is chock full of amazing animals—from vibrant mandarinfish to lithe fur seals to stingrays. But during this time of year we like to focus on the mysterious, frightening and downright creepy animals (all 100-percent amazing, of course) that you'll find at the Aquarium. 

Followers on our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, TumblrGoogle + and Instagram) in 2014 were treated to some pictures of the creepiest of the creepy in the weeks leading up to Halloween. Here's a round-up of those impressive animals, all in one place. Some were chosen for their looks, some for their fierce reputation, some just scream Halloween. Scroll and enjoy!

Goosefish, with a snaggletooth maw that can engulf prey whole

Chambered nautilus, hovers through dark waters with enormous eyes and
a tangle of tentacles 

Green anaconda, 13 feet of slithering strength and beauty. 'Nuf said. 

Lionfish, an absolutely frightening invader of Caribbean reefs with a mane of venomous
fins and no fear

Ocillated frogfish, pretends to be coral all day long and then you realize it's a fish

Green moray eel, with mucus-covered skin in just the right shade of witch and a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth

Comb jellies. Or brainless, blobby alien ghosts.

The Halloween lobster lives! Nicknamed Pinchy, this American lobster arrived around Halloween several years ago
with a genetic mutation that makes every day Halloween 

Plan a visit to see these weird and wonderful animals at the Aquarium! Buy your tickets online today—no service charge. Have a happy and save Halloween!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Last Chance to Use Special Discount Coupon

Go blue on Black Friday! Skip the big box stores this weekend and take advantage of our special discount: $3 off up to four tickets for admission to the Aquarium. This limited-time offer expires on Sunday, November 30, 2014.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Right Whales in the News!

Aquarium researchers have been toiling for more than 30 years studying the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale. Our blog followers know the right whale team has gone to great lengths advocating for protection for these vulnerable behemoths through changes in shipping regulations and investigating entanglements in fishing gear.

Right whale sponsorships (great holiday gift, just sayin), in part, help support this critical research.

Now more people know about the plight of these marine mammals—and the efforts of our passionate researchers—thanks to a recent cover story in The Christian Science Monitor weekly magazine.

Click here for this terrific long read.

And after you've read all about the amazing work of our team in the field and cyberspace and beyond, you can support their efforts by sponsoring a right whale! To sponsor a right whale, choose one of the six whales and the level of your sponsorship on the online sponsorship form. Anyone—children, parents, community organizations, school classes or clubs—can sponsor a whale. Thank you for your support!

Piper is one of the whales you can sponsor through this program. She's a mom.

Monday, October 20, 2014

In the News: Aquarium's President On Ocean Protection

The New England Aquarium's President and CEO Nigella Hillgarth published an opinion piece in Saturday's Boston Globe about bi-partisan efforts to protect huge swaths of ocean habitat. These exciting designations bring to mind the Aquarium's efforts to protect pristine reefs in Kiribati's Phoenix Islands.

Read the full article in The Boston Globe here. Here's an excerpt:
President Obama’s recent designation of marine protection to vast, new areas of the central Pacific Ocean builds directly off of prior national monument designations of his predecessor, George W. Bush. This rare, bipartisan support for such conservation policies in acrimonious political times reflects the building momentum to protect large expanses of ocean across the globe. Surprisingly, the recent decade-long burst of designating large marine-protected areas around the world has some of its principal roots in Boston.

Learn more about the Aquarium's conservation efforts in the Phoenix Islands:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

New England Aquarium and Boston Duck Tours Instagram Ticket Contest

We're giving your family a chance to win free tickets to cruise through Boston on a world-famous Boston Duck Tour and explore the New England Aquarium. It's a great trip waiting to happen, because Duck Tours depart from the Aquarium daily … and you could be on board.

So whip out your smartphones, open Instagram and start posting pics of ducks and Duck Tours for your chance to win combo tickets to go on a Boston Duck Tour and visit the Aquarium!

How to Enter
  • Step 1: Find a Boston Duck Tour vehicle or a duck (think: quack! quack!).
  • Step 2: Take a great Instagram picture.
  • Step 3: Post it with the hashtag: #DucksLovePenguins and be sure to tag @newenglandaquarium and @bostonducktours
  • Step 4: Repeat for more chances to win!

Contest Details
Starts: Now!
Ends: Wednesday, 10/22
Prize: A family four-pack of combo tickets to take a Boston Duck Tour and visit the New England Aquarium. Two (2) family four-packs will be awarded over the week of the contest.
Stay Connected
Follow @newenglandaquarium and @bostonducktours on Instagram for more updates and to see entries being reposted.

This is your chance to see Boston by land and water, and visit your favorite penguins, sharks, sea turtles and sea lions without paying a dime. We'll be watching Instagram for winners. The ball's in your court now, you lucky ducks!

Sea Turtles from Cape Cod Released in Maryland

After a day-long, nearly 500-mile long drive from the New England Aquarium’s sea turtle hospital in Quincy, Mass., to Maryland’s Eastern Shore, three endangered sea turtles that had been rescued on Cape Cod for a variety of reasons were released into the warm surf of Ocean City, Maryland. These sea turtles received a significant head start on their usual autumn migration southward as ocean temperatures off of Cape Cod are a bracing 58 degrees while the mid-Atlantic waters are a sea turtle friendly 71 degrees.

A loggerhead sea turtle rehabilitated by Boston ‘s New England Aquarium is released by National Aquarium intern, Melissa Bittner, off of Ocean City, MD, Tuesday. The 30 pound sea turtle had been rescued from a fishing net off of Cape Cod in September, was treated at the New England Aquarium’s sea turtle hospital in Quincy, MA and then driven nearly 500 miles south to the much warmer and more sea turtle friendly waters of Maryland.
Photo: National Aquarium in Baltimore

The three turtles included a 30 pound loggerhead sea turtle that had been recovered from a gill net near the elbow of Cape Cod in Chatham in September. Two smaller Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, the world’s most endangered sea turtle species, were also released. That included the smallest turtle in the group that had stranded this past September 10 in Brewster MA, an area with tricky tides. Summer time sea turtle strandings usually are associated with underlying medical issues, but to the surprise of the New England Aquarium rescue biologists and veterinarians, this young turtle was fine and probably stranded due to inexperience with large tides and strong local currents.

The last Kemp’s ridley, a 12-pounder named Golden Crisp,  had been in rehab for nearly 11 months. It had stranded last November in Wellfleet, Mass., during the annual late autumn sea turtle stranding event on Cape Cod due to hypothermia for those turtles that have failed to migrate. After recovering from the cold stunning, Golden Crisp was slow to recover from some persistent lung and blood infections. It was the last sea turtle from the 2013 cold stunning season in the New England Aquarium’s suburban Boston rescue facility.

More than 80 other endangered and sea turtles from last year’s hypothermia event have either been released or transferred to other turtle rehab facilities. That gives the Aquarium’s marine animal rescue team about a month to rest and to get prepared for the start of the 2014 sea turtle stranding season on Cape Cod in early November.

Learn about other sea turtle releases this year: 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Volunteer of the Month: September

Every month our Volunteer office sorts through piles of nominations from supervisors (and sometimes entire departments!) and honors one of our volunteers for their truly stupendous efforts. Meet our latest Volunteer of the Month.

This month we are excited to award Marine Mammal dive volunteer Mark Murray.

The vast majority of our volunteers serve on land, but there are a few who spend almost all of their time underwater! Our Marine Mammal dive volunteers spend their time cleaning the underwater enclosures and exhibits for the harbor seals, fur seals and sea lions, and this month we’re honoring Mark Murray—one of the original Marine Mammal dive volunteers!

Marine Mammal Trainer Patty Schilling writes:
“Mark Murray has been a marine mammal volunteer since the 1990s. He began his time with us as a full-day volunteer and then transitioned to one of our very first dive volunteers. Mark’s commitment to the Aquarium and to our department is amazing. He is willing to give up Saturday mornings with his family to help us vacuum the “deposits” left behind by our Atlantic harbor seals. Mark always comes in with a smile and gets right to work. Before every dive we have to set up dive gear and prepare the vacuum system, but all of this work is a breeze when Mark is here. Sometimes we get to the exhibit and Mark has done it all! The time he has devoted, his upbeat attitude and his dedication to maintaining a high standard of cleanliness in our exhibit are all reasons why Mark is deserving of volunteer of the month.”

Thank you, Mark, for helping to keep our mammals’ underwater space clean and healthy!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Here's how to meet the planet's creepiest animals

Witches. Goblins. Headless horsemen. Been there, done that. This October, up the freaky factor and dare to dive into the creepy side of our blue planet.


Plug into the Aquarium’s Facebook and Twitter feeds as we count down to Halloween with some of the eerie and ethereal ocean animals you’ll find at the Aquarium. From venomous fish to ghostly invertebrates, we’ll help you get in the mood of this spooky time of year.

Plug in to the Aquarium's Facebook and Twitter and we'll help you get in the Halloween spirit!

So make sure you like the Aquarium’s Facebook page and start following us on Twitter so you don’t miss a thing!

Piranha! Spooky, right? Oh, just wait...