Saturday, January 31, 2015

Did you get your Globe Grant envelope?

Here's a great way you can help the New England Aquarium: check the mailbox.

The Boston Globe is offering subscribers a chance to support their favorite nonprofit through their GRANT (Globe Readers and Nonprofits Together) program. If you subscribe to the Boston Globe (either print or digitally), now you can help the us get free advertising in the Globe!

Your packet from Globe GRANTS will look like this

Here's how you can help the Aquarium:
  • Look for the silver envelope from our friends at the Globe. (HINT: It may have already arrived.) 
  • Inside you'll find a gift voucher “check” for either $50 or $100. 
  • Fill in the "check" with New England Aquarium on the first line, and Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02110 on the second line. 
  • Use the envelope provided and return your check by April 30, 2015.

Whether you’re up to your elbows in mangrove waters trying to stroke the back of a passing epaulette shark or relaying questions to a submerged diver about the moray eel that's being fed nearby, you know that the New England Aquarium is the place to discover fresh, exciting ways to interact with marine life. The Aquarium is a non-profit organization that depends on the generosity of our friends, members and donors to support us in our mission to protect the blue planet.

Scuba diver with the underwater communication system

By making out your Boston Globe GRANT check in our name, you’re helping provide us a tremendous opportunity to share the hands-on, minds-on experiences you love with countless others. So, please, redeem your Boston Globe GRANT invite today by naming the New England Aquarium for your GRANT dollars recipient. Thank you in advance for your help and support!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Volunteer of the Month: January 2015

Wow, 2015 has been an intense year so far! While we’ve all felt it, our Rescue & Rehabilitation volunteers down in Quincy, MA, have lived it from a unique perspective. Record breaking doesn’t even begin to describe this past turtle stranding season.  

Volunteers gently heft a loggerhead sea turtle into a rehabilitation tank.

Adam Kennedy, Senior Biologist, had this to say about his volunteers:
Specifically during cold-stun events these folks show their unbridled passion. They show up at awful hours and stay until the last piece of equipment is clean--sometimes 16 hours after they started their shift. It is not uncommon for folks to volunteer to do multiple 12-hour days in a week. They do not know when the season is going to start. We certainly never know when it will end. But, the rescue vols are here. In freezing cold rooms, sticking their bare arms in freezing cold water, to support barely live turtles. Cleaning towels, cleaning decks, cleaning filter socks, restraining turtle after turtle. Spending sometimes hours doing food prep. There isn’t much these folks won’t do. All with a smile on their face. Not knowing when it is all going to return to normal!

Volunteers help restrain turtles during exams, which include shell measurements

And here’s what Connie Merigo, Manager of Rescue & Rehabilitation, added about this season:
The 2014 sea turtle season began like any other, however it quickly escalated into a serious situation. Hypothermic and debilitated turtles were stranding by the dozens and then by the hundreds; numbers that are unprecedented in our 40+ year history. Volunteers current and past came together to form a well-trained animal care team. Their dedication and long hours, mostly spent wet, permitted us to give the turtles the best care possible. In the end they helped us care for 733 sick or injured turtles, we are deeply grateful for their efforts and dedication to sea turtle conservation and rescue!

Could we have gotten through this season without volunteers? The short answer is…no. We have volunteers from many different backgrounds and experiences who come together to help us out in the field, in Quincy and here on Central Wharf. Interested in more information about volunteering? See here!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Scenes from the snow day

The Aquarium is closed today because of the winter storm. But a hardy crew of maintenance workers and animal care givers were on hand to give the fish, seals, penguins, octopus, turtles, snakes and all the critters their daily vittles. Diver Sean Marden snapped these pictures on his way in to feed Myrtle and the gang in the Giant Ocean Tank.

Trust us, the Aquarium is still there behind all that snow!
Our plows were working overtime
Harbor seals keeping an eye on the progress of the plowing
And just having fun

While the animals are all safe and sound, the storm rages on. The Aquarium will remain closed for the rest of the day today. If you're planning a visit tomorrow or later this week, be sure to check our website first.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Glowing Reviews of Weddings at the Aquarium

Weddings at the New England Aquarium never fail to wow guests. Our experienced Events staff seamlessly orchestrates the evening from ceremony to reception, so the guests of honor don't have to.

Here are some glowing excerpts of thank you notes to the Aquarium's Events staff from happy couples and family members.

"I don't know how many brides can say 'literally NOTHING went wrong on our day.' And I really mean it! Everything flowed so smoothly. You honestly helped to make our day perfect! I am very impressed with how detail-oriented you were and how you helped us to solve every little problem we brought to you." —Phil and Angie S. - 2013

"You were absolutely INCREDIBLE. The reception went off without a hitch and we know it was due to you and your attention to detail. We didn't want the night to end because we were having so much fun! Thank you SO much from the bottom of our hearts." —Jackie and Anthony - 2014

"We literally could not be happier with how it went, and if we had to get married 10 more times we would do them all at the Aquarium … We will both be enthusiastically recommending the Aquarium as a venue to anyone who will listen, and feel even better (if it's even possible) knowing the money we saved for our wedding went to such a great and uniquely valuable public resource." —Josh and Han - 2013
"We can't even begin to tell you how happy we were with everything. The food was delicious, and the staff was amazing (especially our personal waitress). We were just so impressed with everyone at the Aquarium and how well you worked with our vendors. Our guests have not stopped raving about it! You truly made it a special day, and for that we are forever grateful!" —Zach and Leigh Anne - 2013

"Thank you so much for all of your hard work! Garner and I went into the planning process fairly confused, and with your help everything came together just wonderfully.  Our guests have been raving about the night to us non-stop." —Laura G. - 2014

"Time was a total blur to Anne and me all day so I'm glad we had someone there to drop the hammer and keep us on schedule! Everything was more beautiful than we could've imagined, weather included!" —Mary and Anne - 2013

"We have been told by many that this was the best wedding they have ever attended. I always think that a wedding is successful if the bride and groom have the wedding they hoped for. In this case that was certainly true." —Jeanine M. - 2013
"The grandeur of the Aquarium itself and the professionalism of the staff blew everyone away. It was so magical. Cocktail time with the penguins was simply unforgettable … What an unforgettable and marvelous experience for everyone!" —Meri - 2014

"The day would not have been anywhere close to perfect without you or your team. Everything went so smoothly and so efficiently, and we really got to enjoy ourselves without fretting." —Kelly N. - 2014

"Everything went as planned; once I saw the venue before the wedding I knew all was being taken care of and I could relax! I've received texts and emails thanking me for such a 'beautiful wedding,' 'beautiful venue' and 'best wedding we've been to.' Everyone had a blast! And it all went without a hitch or hiccup." —Treacy W. - 2014
"The day was perfect and I could not have asked for a better venue or team of people to help make our day special. I am especially grateful to you and how effortless you made everything seem. All of our guests were absolutely gushing about how cool our wedding was!" —Tina D. - 2014

Our weddings team is on hand to help you make your wedding as memorable as each one of these! Learn more about weddings at the Aquarium.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tiny Giants: Technology, Science and Art Mingle in Celebration of Marine Microbes

MEDIA RELEASE — On the evening of Thursday, January 15, a team of scientists from Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences and the New England Aquarium gathered at the popular new District Hall in Boston’s Innovation District. They were celebrating the technological and scientific achievement of a gallery of photos that captured microscopic marine microbes that are invisible to the naked eye.

Chain-forming diatoms from the genus Thalassiosira often initiate the early spring phytoplankton bloom. These diatoms provide an important source of nutrition to the base of marine food webs just as larval fish are looking for their first meal. Credit: Laura Lubelczyk, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences with funding provided by NASA

Called “Tiny Giants: Marine microbes revealed on a grand scale,” the photographic art exhibit illuminated the intricate details of microscopic creatures that are vital to the oxygen we breathe, the food chain essential from fish to whales to humans, and that mitigate the damaging effects of climate change.

Phytoplankton are microscopic plant-like organisms at the base of marine food webs. Floating at or near
the surface of the sunlit ocean, phytoplankton display thousands of morphological variations.
A single tablespoon of seawater contains hundreds of thousands of these single-celled organisms.
Credit: Dr. Peter Countway, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
with funding provided by the National Science Foundation  

The photos were taken by scientists at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Science in East Boothbay, Maine. To understand the microbes’ significance, presentations were made by Dr. Graham Shimmield, Bigelow Laboratory’s Executive Director, and Dr. Nigella Hillgarth, the Aquarium’s CEO and President.

Emiliania huxleyi or ‘E. hux.’ for short is a marine algal species that makes plates
or liths out of calcium carbonate, which are particularly sensitive to ocean acidification.
Bigelow Laboratory scientists are currently working to understand how acidified oceans
of the future will affect these vitally important phytoplankton. Credit: Credit: Laura Lubelczyk,
Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences with funding provided by NASA

Guests shared dinner and a glass of wine with Bigelow Laboratory and Aquarium scientists including: Bigelow Laboratory’s Dr. Pete Countway, a microbial ecologist, who took many of the photographs; Dr. David Emerson, an iron-oxidizing bacteria expert; Dr. Paty Matrai, an expert on atmospheric and ocean conditions in the Arctic Ocean; and Dr. Benjamin Twining, a senior research scientist and director of education and research at the Laboratory. From the Aquarium: Dr. Scott Kraus, vice president of research; Dr. John Mandelman, director of research and a senior scientist; Dr. Kathleen Hunt, an expert in marine wildlife stress; and Dr. Randi Rotjan, a coral reef and hermit crab researcher.

See more stunning photos of marine microbes and learn how each one is important to our blue planet, see this PDF of the event's program.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Clowns and Discounts for Members

The circus is coming to town, and we've arranged for Aquarium members to receive a special discount! The Big Apple Circus is set up the on City Hall Plaza until May 10—just a short walk from the Aquarium. This year's theme—Metamorphosis.

Members get discounts to the Big Apple Circus's Metamorphosis show!

During this exciting show, no one sits more than 50 feet from ringside as you watch the flying trapeze soar, the razzle-dazzle of the Rolla-Bolla, the dynamo of the Diablo, the risky rhythms of the Risley team, the cunning conjurors of the Quick-Change, and the incredible flexible limbs of the Contortionists. See and hear the musical merriment of our featured clown and camels, horses, playful pooches and more.

Tickets are available online on the circus's website. Just be sure to enter the coupon code BACBOS to receive your 25% discount!