Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Volunteer of the Month: December

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!

We started 2014 off with one of our longest serving volunteers in a very public facing role (Visitor Education Volunteer, Noel Jette!) and now we’re ending 2014 by awarding a volunteer just coming up on her 6-month commitment who has already become a go-to resource in a very critical behind-the-scenes role, the Aquarium Medical Center.

Here’s what Bryce Van Cleef's supervisor, Biologist Kerry McNally, had to say:
Bryce began volunteering with the medical center on Wednesdays in August. Since her arrival, she has been a huge help. She has managed to survive moray eel procedures, iPad disasters and all the other crazy happenings that tend to occur on Wednesdays. She always remains calm and collected during these activities while still bringing a comfort, and later, laughter (when appropriate) to the situation.
Bryce is one of those volunteers that will anticipate our needs. There have been countless times I have gone to ask her to help with something and she has already done it, or in the midst of doing the task before I even have the chance to ask. It is always a relief to know she has our back and we can count on her. She is a very dedicated volunteer, even coming in after an overnight shift with the Coast Guard to help with barb clips that were rescheduled to a day that was not her typical schedule. Bryce is a wonderful person, both professional and fun to work with. We are very pleased to be working with her and she deserves the recognition for all of her hard work.  
Please join our team in congratulating Bryce!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Penguin ice sculptures, of course!

'Tis the season for ice sculptures around Boston—no matter how unseasonably comfortable and sunny it might be outside. At the Aquarium, our ice sculptures take on a decidedly marine theme. This year’s ice sculpture is of a penguin family—and families visiting the Aquarium this morning got some great looks at the installation of this chilly family.

Putting on the finishing touches

This past summer, the Aquarium’s dedicated penguin biologists successfully raised five penguin chicks. One of those successful parent pairs is an African penguin couple named Dehoop (mom) and Good Hope (dad) that hatched and raised a new chick named Jahleel.

Penguin family

Nearly every year, the Aquarium’s talented penguin staff help produce a new batch of penguin chicks to help sustain and grow threatened and endangered penguin populations in North American aquariums and zoos.

The ice sculpture is the first thing you'll see on the Aquarium's plaza, right by the IMAX Theatre

See the penguin family ice sculpture on the Aquarium’s front plaza for free but come into the Aquarium and see if you can find Jahleel and his parents among the 87 penguins of three different species that make the huge penguin pool their home. The Aquarium is celebrating Penguinology – Explore the Secret World of Penguins, and young visitors get a cool guide with many unusual facts about these beloved birds.

The artist behind this year's family of penguins is Don Chapelle, ice sculptor extraordinaire and one of the principal First Night ice sculptors for many years.

An icy penguin is the perfect way to celebrate winter!

Ice sculptures have been a fun New Year's tradition at the Aquarium for several years now. See some of the previous icy marine animals:

Monday, December 22, 2014

In the News: Turtle Stranding Season

The massive sea turtle stranding season continues to pique the interest of folks around the country.

A rescued sea turtle awaits its entrance exam
Here are a couple national news stories that you may have missed.

For the latest from the front lines of sea turtle rehabilitation, follow the Rescue Blog.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

10 Eye-catching animals at the Aquarium

There are literally thousands of animals at the Aquarium, and we think they're all pretty eye-catching in their own way. But some species tend to tug on those eyeballs more than others. So when you're planning your visit to the Aquarium (ooh, ooh! here are some handy visiting tips), be sure to add these animals to your must-see list.

1. Seadragons
Weedy seadragons and their cousins, the leafy seadragons, are Australia natives and masters of camouflage.

2. Sea turtles
There are three species in the Giant Ocean Tank: Kemp's ridley, loggerhead and green sea turtles.
Loggerhead (foreground) and green (Myrtle in the background) here, bonus if you get all three in one picture!

 3. Giant Pacific octopus
Her name is Elvira and she's the most marveled-at resident of the Northern Waters gallery.
Especially when she does stuff like this.

4. Harbor seals
These blubbery athletes are the first animals you'll see on the Aquarium's Front Plaza.
Don't miss a training session for a chance to see their smarts on display.

5. Penguins
More than 80 birds, three species and a whole lot of squawking happening in the Penguin Exhibit

6. Sea lions
These two. So much spunk.

7. Moon jellies
Brainless blobs that happen to be incredibly photogenic

8. Cownose rays
So many smiles in The Trust Family Foundation Shark and Ray Touch Tank

9. Mandarinfish
Even as tropical fish go, this guy is a show stopper.

 10. Poison Dart Frogs
Teensy animals can be eye-catching, too—if you know where to look. Look for these vibrant
amphibians in the Amazon Rainforest exhibits.

And there you have it, 10 of the most eye-catching animals you'll find at the Aquarium. Did your favorite animal make the list? Go ahead and comment if you have another suggestion! We'd love to hear which animals tickle your fancy. Need a refresher? Plan a visit! Here are some tips for planning your trip during the upcoming holiday school vacation period.