Friday, July 31, 2015

Volunteer of the Month: July 2015

Every month our Volunteer department sorts through piles of nominations from supervisors and honors one of our volunteers for their truly stupendous efforts. Meet this month's volunteer!

We trust and depend on our volunteers to properly handle the sometimes hectic situations that can arise when working at an Aquarium. Christina Minniti is no exception to this, and has proven time and time again why she is so valuable to the team. We are excited to name Christina as our July Volunteer of the Month!

Here’s what her supervisor, Brianne Dent, has to say about Christina:
Christina has been an incredibly valuable contribution to my Saturday team, and last week was no exception! When an emergency happened first thing in the morning, she was quick to notice something was wrong and jumped in to help wherever was needed. I was able to ask her to go into another gallery, and with minimal direction she was able to complete multiple tasks while I dealt with larger issues. 
She never misses a beat when it comes to making sure things get done and holds herself to the same high standard that I hold myself to. She has a keen eye for detail and pays very close attention to every animal that she helps care for.  She will even notice issues with animals before I have a chance to mention them to her! She is a quick learner and is always on top of making sure everything in the gallery looks its best by the end of the day. She has a great attitude and no matter the task I ask her to do, she completes it with ease.

Her excitement to always learn more and passion for working with all the animals in the gallery has made working with her on Saturday such a pleasure.

Thank you, Christina!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Get ready for the Wharf Festival!

We will be running a photo contest August 11-13 using the mobile photo sharing app Instagram to give away seats for three Duck Tours rolling out this Saturday, August 15. Head over and follow @newenglandaquarium on Instagram and then share a picture that shows how you enjoy Boston’s Waterfront. Include #BostonWharfFest and #SOTWBos and tag us @newenglandaquarium so we can see your entries. NOTE: Your account also must be public so we can find your pictures!

Join the Aquarium and Boston Harbor Cruises for a day of family fun at the second annual Wharf Festival, located on Boston’s Long Wharf.

Saturday, August 15
11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

In celebration of Summer on the Waterfront, we're teaming up with our friends at BHC to give you a day the family won’t want to miss. Wharf Festival is sure to provide plenty to do for the entire family. There will be lots of outdoor activities, including carnival games, Aquarium costumes, face painting and more. Plus, Magic 106.7 will supply the tunes, Faneuil Hall Marketplace will bring some lively entertainment and the Freedom Trail Foundation Pirates and Patriots Tours’ 18th century-costumed guides will add some arrrrrr to the event! Check back to find more details as we get closer to the event—we have some surprises up our sleeves!

Look for our booths where you can learn all about ocean animals.

Activities include touching whale bones!

All the Wharf Fest activities will take place on Long Wharf and are free and open to the public. (NOTE: Aquarium admission and whale watch tickets are not included.)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Helping Turtles In His Spare Time

The Aquarium's head veterinarian, Charles Innis, VMD, is undoubtedly a friend to turtles everywhere.

Dr. Innis looks on during treatment of a cold-stunned sea turtle | Photo: Esther Horvath

Not only does he treat the resident turtles at the Aquarium—both fresh and saltwater varieties—but he volunteers his skills helping local wild turtles in need of emergency care (often snappers that suffer unfortunately run-ins with cars) and cold-stunned sea turtles that end up in treatment by the Aquarium's Rescue Team at our Animal Care Center in Quincy. [Want to see what treating hypothermic sea turtles is all about? Check out our Turtle Rescue Team exhibit this summer!]

Baby Sulawesi forest turtle hatched by Dr. Innis

Fortunately, local turtles aren't the only species to benefit from his expertise and knowledge. At home, in terrariums far from the hustle and bustle of Central Wharf, Dr. Innis raises and rears critically endangered Sulawesi forest turtles (Leucocephalon yuwonoi). In fact, the first known captive hatching of this species happened in his care in 2003. He went on to hatch several more over the years, with his experiences helping to inform a slow but steady improvement of egg fertility, hatching and rearing successes among several private facilities and zoological institutions.

Another youngster hatched by Dr. Innis

This semi-aquatic species has been decimated in the wild by the live animal trade, with hundreds being captured and sold as pets or for food in recent years. Since they are endemic to the Sulawesi island of Indonesia, it is important to learn how to successfully breed this species in captivity as we work to protect wild populations.

Adult Sulawesi forest turtle (Leucocephalon yuwonoi) | Photo via Turtle Conservancy

Dr. Innis is doing his part, in his own time, to help this vulnerable species. Just recently, he was called to the other side of the world to help another critically endangered turtle species after thousands of Philippine forest sick and injured turtles confiscated from a warehouse in the Philippines. Stay tuned for more on Dr. Innis' efforts to help during this crisis of unprecedented proportions.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Hashtagging fun and prizes!

Share your pictures with the #TurtleRescueTeam hashtag on Twitter or Instagram and then follow the instructions to enter to win cool prizes, like...

Free passes for Aquarium admission 
Reusable grocery totes and water bottles
A chance to see your picture on our home page
Even a Meet Myrtle animal encounter!

Here's how it's done:
  • Head to Twitter or Instagram and post a picture.
  • In your caption, include the hashtag phrase #TurtleRescueTeam
  • Follow the instructions to "claim" your photo and look for it to appear on our #TurtleRescueTeam gallery
We'll be choosing our favorites to win those spiffy prizes. Just be sure your account is public so that we can see your submission. And don't forget to "claim" your photo so we can find you if you win. Check out this week's winners.

See your picture here on our contest gallery!

So what kind of pictures are we looking for? It could be a selfie with Myrtle at the Aquarium, or even with her mug on the ads around town. It could be your family enjoying our newest exhibit. It could you at the beach (or anywhere) with a reusable water bottle or grocery tote—because reusing those items can help turtles! Or maybe you rescued a turtle from the street by helping it cross the road. You see, turtle rescuers come in all walks of life, shapes and sizes. We can't wait to see what you post!

Check out some of the recent submissions:

Yes! This pic of a visitor exploring our newest exhibit appears on our #TurtleRescueTeam gallery
and @khnew is entered to win cool swag—including a grand prize of a Meet Myrtle program!
@neallk shared this turtle-y awesome pic from a recent visit with #TurtleRescueTeam.
You bet they're entered to win turtle swag!
@mmdill carefully helped this turtle cross the road.
Yup, they're entered to win cool stuff through our #TurtleRescueTeam hashtagging fun!

Whoa, that's a big turtle in that last pic. Time for a PSA! Here are some handy tips to keep in mind if you find a wild turtle from our top turtle expert, Dr. Charles Innis, head veterinarian at the Aquarium:
  • If you see a turtle on a quiet road, stop and let it cross—but only if it’s safe for you! Turtles move about to find mates and lay eggs. Our roads interrupt those journeys.
  • Gently move the turtle to the side of the road by holding the sides of its shell near the tail. Be careful, some turtles can bite! Be sure to wash your hands afterward.
  • Never transport turtles to a different habitat or distant locations. You could be spreading disease and removing a breeding adult from its population.
  • Do not release pet turtles into the wild. They also carry disease and non-native species can out-compete our local species. Call your local pet shop if you need help. 
  • Advocate for habitat protection. Turtles live a long time and often return to the same places to breed and lay eggs. Protecting their swamps mean many more generations of turtles can thrive.

Need more turtle to start your summer? Of course you do! Plan a visit to the Aquarium to explore our new exhibit. You'll also learn how communities are coming together to protect turtle habitats and get a glimpse at some of our greatest turtle rescue success stories.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Aquarium rescuers honored at Fenway!

After treating a record number of hypothermic sea turtles last fall (733 to be exact), the Aquarium's sea turtle rescue team took to the field at Fenway Park last night to be honored during a pre-game ceremony. Here are a few pictures from this exciting event!

The team, including Midas the sea turtle, Teri Davidson from Marketing (2nd from right)
and Aquarium CEO Nigella Hillgarth (far right)

Katie and Adam, all smiles.
A little mascot love between Wally and Midas

On the jumbo tron!

The team!

Thank you Boston Red Sox for having us! It was quite an honor, and quite a game (even though we didn't get the outcome we wanted in extra innings—Go Sox!).

Thursday, July 2, 2015

A Whale of a Salute to Old Glory!

When  humpback whales breach, hundreds of cameras can be clicking on a New England Aquarium Whale Watch, trying to capture one of nature’s most majestic images. For Andrew White, a senior deckhand for Boston Harbor Cruises, which operates the Aquarium’s whale watch, he was on the back deck of the Asteria as a playful, yearling humpback made about thirty breaches in a half hour.

Snapped on a New England Aquarium Whale Watch

The behavior became somewhat predictable, and White was lucky enough to not only catch a clear image of the athletic, 20-ton animal clearing the water but also capture the American flag extended in a sea breeze in the foreground. The shot was taken 25 miles east of Boston in late May at the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, America’s only whale feeding sanctuary, and one of the top whale watching destinations in the world.

Who needs fireworks when you can have 20 tons of humpback splashing down before you? Not to mention that you can't see fireworks during the day. Check out a New England Aquarium Whale Watch this holiday weekend! Buy tickets online so you don't miss out.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Welcome to the turtle days of summer!

Here at the Aquarium we have turtles on the brain. Even more than usual, that is.

Look for Myrtle the turtle at Park Street T station this summer, and all around town!

That's because our new exhibit featuring the turtle rescue experience is now open, our summertime ads featuring Myrtle the green sea turtle are splashed across the city and our real-life sea turtle rescue team is set to be honored at Fenway Park ahead of Friday night's game.

We just can't contain our enthusiasm for saving sea turtles! So we're bringing our turtle mission to masses. Look for our friendly turtle mascot around town this summer, where we'll be giving away snazzy reusable grocery bags and other turtle rescue team swag. (Skipping the plastic shopping bag is one way we can help turtles in the wild, after all.)

First stop: Park Street T station tomorrow morning! In honor of Myrtle's mug taking over the station, we'll be on site at 8:30 a.m. with bags to give away to the first 200 folks who we reach.

First 200 people to find us at Park Street on Thursday, July 2, get to take home this reusable bag!

But if you miss us at Park Street tomorrow, you can still try your luck at winning some turtle swag by sharing your own #TurtleRescueTeam pictures on Twitter, Instagram and/or Tumblr! Just use the #TurtleRescueTeam hashtag and show us what you're doing doing to help turtles.

If you're at Fenway on Friday, be sure to look for our rescue team and give them a nice big round of applause for all the turtles they've rescued, treated and returned to the ocean. And now it's your turn! Visit the Aquarium this summer to learn more about the sea turtle rescue experience and learn how our every day actions can help turtles.