Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Share your #TurtleRescueTeam story and you could win!

Your Mission: Save Turtlekind
Did you have an amazing encounter with a turtle in the wild? Do you take actions to help sea turtles—like use a reusable water bottle so that disposable plastics won't end up in the ocean?  We want to hear about it! 

Join the turtle rescue team. Tell us about your turtle rescue success stories. Here's how:
  • Head to your favorite social media platform and post a picture of your rescue.
  • In your caption, tell us about your rescue and include the hashtag phrase #TurtleRescueTeam
  • That's it!
We'll be checking Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram to see what you post! We'll be choosing our favorites to win some pretty spiffy prizes—from reusable shopping bags and magnets, maybe even a grand prize of a Meet Myrtle encounter. So get posting!

Maybe your entries will look something like these:

We watched out for a snapper for a long time last week as she made her way across the field. She was about 1.5 feet long!
We kept dogs and kids away so the turtle could safely pass to her destination. #TurtleRescueTeam

I volunteer with Mass Audubon at Wellfleet Bay to walk beaches on Cape Cod in the fall to
search for stranded sea turtles. #TurtleRescueTeam

This tortoise in Copley Square is surely on the #TurtleRescueTeam! | Photo by wallyg via flickr

Stories of turtle rescue, like these, are inspiration for our whole community of rescuers. We are eager to see how you're helping turtles and we want to share it with our followers. Some of your stories might end up in a slide show here on our blogs. Some families might end up being profiled on our website, just like Abby who helped raise money for sea turtles by selling bracelets!

Wondering how you can help turtles? Here are some handy tips 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.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Meet a NASA Astronaut!

Free activity! Visit the Aquarium's Harbor View Terrace on July 9, from 9 am to 3 pm, to experience NASA’s Destination Station.

Did you know astronauts train underwater? Or that there is an aquarium on board the International Space Station? Ocean and space exploration may seem miles apart, but they have more in common than you think!

Join us as we welcome NASA’s Destination Station, a mobile exhibit that immerses visitors in the story of NASA and the International Space Station Program. Touch a 4-billion-year-old moon rock, determine your weight on Mars and interact with NASA astronauts and space station experts—right here at the New England Aquarium!

Visit the exhibit at the Aquarium’s Harbor View Terrace, alongside Boston’s Harborwalk, on July 9 from 9am to 3pm. Destination Station is free and open to the public. Aquarium admission is not included.

Save time to visit the Aquarium where Astronaut Suni Williams will dive in the Giant Ocean Tank around 9 am, and then she will dry off and answer a few questions. At noon and 2pm, space suit expert Sue Curley will give presentations with Dive Safety Officer John Hanzl comparing space suit technology with diving and rebreather technology. You'll have an opportunity to see an actual space suit and underwater rebreather!

We look forward to seeing you on July 9 for a day of exploration of our blue planet and beyond!

Photo by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
via Wikimedia Commons -

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Adorable Penguin Chick Pictures!

Make sure you're sitting down for this one.

Our penguin biologists successfully hatched six penguin chicks of three different species this spring. Today, a trio of gawky, endangered African penguin chicks made their media debut today behind-the-scenes at the New England Aquarium.

A trio of African penguin chicks

Hatched in mid-May, weighing just over 2 ounces, these three still-downy but decidedly awkward, adolescent chicks now weigh about four pounds each. They have increased their birth weight by 30 times in six weeks.

Still cute and fluffy, but approaching that teenage awkward period

Last week, these ever demanding chicks were separated from their parents so that they can learn to take food from the penguin biologists. Over the next month, the three will live together behind the scenes, hanging out and bonding as their fluffy down gets pushed out by waterproof feathers that are growing in. They will make their exhibit debut in late July or early August.

The chicks wait in a holding pen to be fed

This spring, the talented and dedicated Aquarium penguin staff has successfully hatched six penguin chicks of three different species including a little blue penguin native to Australia and a rockhopper penguin, which can be found in southern South America.

While these little fluffs will remain behind the scenes for another month or so, you can visit full-grown penguins—three species!—in their 150,000-gallon exhibit here at the Aquarium. Start your visit online.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Celebrate Your Marine Sanctuary!

Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary is a treasure that lies only a few miles off Boston's coast. It's a great place to see really big, charismatic creatures such as humpback, minke, fin and right whales as well as basking sharks, seabirds and even a rare sighting of an ocean sunfish (Mola mola).

On June 27 and 28, the Aquarium joins the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary in celebrating Get into Your Sanctuary days.

A recent humpback spotted during a New England Aquarium Whale Watch

We invite everyone to share their experiences and celebrate our local marine sanctuary by posting pictures and thoughts on social media platforms. Show us how you #VisitSanctuaries, and help us celebrate these amazing watery resources!

Want a great way to visit your sanctuary? Check out the New England Aquarium Whale Watch! It's a comfortable ride accompanied by naturalists who can introduce the whales, sharks, seabirds and seals that call Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary home.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Mexico's famous bat researcher - and tequila savior - coming to New England Aquarium

The Bat Man, Rodrigo Medellín
Join us for a free lecture to hear Bat Man Rodrigo Medellín, Mexico’s famous bat conservationist. He just might be one of the most interesting men in the world.

Pioneering bat researcher and well-known Mexican conservationist Rodrigo A. Medellín is affectionately known as “The Bat Man.” He is a Mexican ecologist who has worked to save bats and, consequently, the tequila industry that thrives on the bats for pollination. An ambassador for the International Union of Conservation of Nature, Medellín, 57, is a professor at the National Autonomous University in Mexico City and a 2008 Rolex Award for Enterprise winner for his work.

Medellín was recently featured in the 2014 BBC documentary, “Natural World: The Batman of Mexico” and has been profiled in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Discover Wildlife, and The Guardian.

At the lecture, we'll watch the BBC documentary and you'll discover how the lesser long-nosed bat is crucial to the agave plant that produces the famous liquor export. The bats were put on the US endangered species list in 1988 and made the threatened species list in Mexico in 1994. But over several decades, Medellín dedicated his life to saving these important pollinators from disappearing, and the bat population resurged.

Lesser long nosed bat | Photo: via Wikimedia Commons

You can fully appreciate Medellín's efforts with a trip to the Aquarium’s outdoor café, The Reef, before the lecture, where we will be offering “The Bat Man” cocktail featuring 1800 Tequila in honor of Rodrigo’s visit. You can enjoy beautiful harbor views at the same time! Mention this offer and receive complimentary Reef Chips with the purchase of a “Bat Man” cocktail.

Learn more about Medellín in this story from The New Yorker magazine and see more clips from the film on the BBC's website.

About the Aquarium Lecture Series: The Aquarium hosts a series of informative free lectures, films, and discussions for the community this spring. The Lowell Institute supports the lectures. Most are available on the Aquarium’s YouTube channel afterward. Pre-registration is encouraged on the Aquarium’s website or call 617-973-5200 for more information.