Sunday, January 30, 2011

Marine Mammal Day at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences

Yesterday was Marine Mammal Day at my local museum, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Seeing the presentations and talking to the biologists there had a strong impact on me, and I'm glad it did. As I mentioned when talking to them, I want to rekindle that fire I once had when I first saw cetaceans for the first time. That's the reason I created this blog. I was worried for a bit because I just couldn't find my inspiration to write again, no matter how many sources I had to choose from. Fortunately, after visiting the museum and talking with those wonderful people, my mind has been racing with many ideas.

I woke up early to get on the road so I wouldn't miss many of the presentations. I was able to see all but two of them. The first one I attended was by Susan Barco, a woman who works with marine mammal strandings, and she was doing a presentation about the new Right Whale skeleton the museum is going to have called Stumpy and how the whale's life tragically ended. After that, the theme of Right Whales continued with a presentation by Ann Pabst from UNCW. That presentation was more about the history of the species and the status of their conservation. It was after this presentation is where I decided to talk to the presenter one-on-one. Ann was very receptive to my questions and seemed excited that I was enthralled with cetaceans.

There were many more presentations after that, but I won't go much into detail for the sake of brevity. There was another presentation by Susan Barco about strandings in general and why they are important for research. There were also a couple of presentations about climate change that I wish I would have recorded for my skeptical aunt to see. Let's see... there was also the presentation about the local Bottlenose Dolphin population off the coast here in NC, I found that very interesting, as well as the presentation about tracking the movements of humpback whales in the Antarctic, which was presented by Pat Haplin of Duke University.

After all of that was done, the museum was about to close, and I was able to talk to Ann Pabst once again, along with William A. McLellan. I told them about this blog and about a few of my experiences with cetaceans and showed them my small photo book. Ann also showed me a Marine Mammal Encyclopedia that I had no idea about, so I will probably try getting it in the near future.

Overall, it was a pretty fun experience. I was hoping that one of my co-editors from PK Gaming would tag along, but unfortunately, I think he became sick since he hadn't contacted me the day before. It was still a great time going there alone though, that museum is always a great place to be.

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