A Hauntingly Good Time at Birch Aquarium

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					newsletter of the Southwest Marine/Aquatic Educators’ Association

2008 Fall

President Kristin Evans, Birch Aquarium Chapter Rep Elizabeth Keenan, Aquarium of the Pacific Treasurer/Membership Amy Shulman, Mirage Dolphin Habitat Newsletter Editors Steven Schenk, Shark Reef Kellie Korhonen, Dolphin Quest

A Hauntingly Good Time at Birch Aquarium
Birch Aquarium at Scripps held its 8th annual Haunted Aquarium this year on October 24, 25 and 26 from 6-9 pm. This highly successful event took on a new look this year and greeted its guests with more learning opportunities, new community partnerships, and a greener approach to trick-ortreating. As the 'window into Scripps research' Birch Aquarium is challenged, and inspired, to interpret current research being conducted by Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientists and students. As we approached Haunted Aquarium, we thought these efforts should be no different, but that hasn't always been the case. In years past, Haunted Aquarium only casually highlighted the amazing exhibits and scientists we were so well known for. This year we raised the bar and focused on our strengths- Haunted Aquarium is where science can go mad… and did! We heavily recruited scientists and graduate students (who doesn't like dressing up in their early twenties?!) to host and staff mad experiments, activities and exhibits throughout the aquarium. Each scientist was trained on their hands-on activity, if they weren't an expert already, and were good to go for the evening. Activities included Kool-Aid Kelp Slime, Ooey Gooey Touch Lab, Bioluminescent (dinoflagellate) Necklaces, Creeps from the Deep specimen jars, continued on page 4...

CONTENTS Halloween Edition
1 3 6-8 9-10 Haunted Aquarium at Birch Aquarium Haunted Reef at Shark Reef Aquarium Activities Conference Info

from the President Greetings SWMEA Members, As we approach the holiday season and the end of an eventful year, I find myself thinking more and more about the challenges and adventures awaiting us in 2009. 2009 has been designated the International Year of Astronomy by the UN, The Year of the Gorilla by UNEP/CMS, the Year of Science by COPUS, the Year of the Ox according to the Chinese Zodiac, and the last year of three for the International Year of Planet Earthquite a busy year. For many of us, it will also be a year of conservation, at home and globally.

SWMEA Connection Call for Articles

We hope you enjoy the Fall edition of your SWMEA Connection newsletter. We encourage all members to conSWMEA has a big year ahead of it as well. The 2009 NMEA confer- tribute articles and other news ence will take place in Monterey, California on June 29-July 3, a regarding your facilities and mere seven months away. There is a lot of work still to be done and what’s happening in your neck a lot of support that will be needed from each of our regions and of the woods (or desert or their members. ocean, wherever you may be)! I encourage you to consider what you can do to support the conference in 2009, from registering and joining the fun, to volunteering to help out during the event, to providing donations, both cash and materials, and/or seeking out other donors who can support the conference in various ways. Each of these efforts will greatly contribute to our overall success. Please enjoy the last newsletter of 2008, and join me in thanking all of our contributors, most of all Steven Schenk, our fabulous newsletter editor. I wish each of you the best during the holidays and hope you enter the New Year with good friends, family and merriment. Kristin Evans SWMEA President For more about the year to come…… The next edition of the SWMEA Connection is scheduled for a mid-February completion. It’s never too soon to start thinking about items you would like to submit for inclusion. Please send any articles to Kellie at or to me at Kellie and I both look forward to receiving your contributions, and to making the SWMEA Connection the most informative, interesting, and best looking newsletter out there! Sincerely, Steven and Kellie

The SWMEA Connection, newsletter of the Southwest Marine/Aquatic Educators’ Association--Fall 2008


Haunted Reef 2008 at Shark Reef Aquarium
On Friday, October 31st, Shark Reef Aquarium was transformed once again into Haunted Reef. This annual event, now in its seventh year, has become a children’s favorite for trickor-treating. All children in costume received free admission (and free candy!), and adults who donated blood at the United Blood Services booth also received a ticket for free entry into the Aquarium. Haunted Reef is a fun day for our guests and staff alike!

The SWMEA Connection, newsletter of the Southwest Marine/Aquatic Educators’ Association--Fall 2008


A Hauntingly Good Time at Birch Aquarium continued...

Disappearing Ice, and a Franken-Squid dissection, just to name a few. In addition to our scientists, our traditional aquarium volunteers and staff were joining the fun as well. They helped out with other activities, such as crafts, live animal touching, and storytelling; handed out treats; and kept our guests happy and educated. Traditionally, Haunted Aquarium has had lots of treats, from the carnival area where guests win small prizes to volunteers giving out candy throughout the whole of the aquarium. And this year was no different, except for major efforts to make the carnival atmosphere heavily educational and making our treats more green and meaningful. One of our biggest greening efforts was through our treat bags. Each guest received a Vons reusable grocery bag.

Thanks to Vons, who donated the bags, our guests could trickor-treat throughout the night and keep on using their bags in the future. We also chose treats that support water conservation efforts, like tattoos and stickers with messages, posters of local wildlife, coloring books, and other fun, kid-friendly items. We weren't perfect this year, but our efforts paid off and we had far more green items than not. We tackled the carnival area by theming it, The Horrors of Life Without Water, to emphasize the need to conserve water at home, at work and at school, Making Kelp Slime and by recruiting local NGO's (non-governmental organization) to run their own 'carnival' booth. Each NGO was asked to continued on next page...

Carnival Booth

The SWMEA Connection, newsletter of the Southwest Marine/Aquatic Educators’ Association--Fall 2008


A Hauntingly Good Time at Birch Aquarium continued... run a game or activity that guests could participate in, learn about water conservation and earn a prize while doing so. In addition to the activity, they also staffed the booth and provided the prizes. In turn, they received an outlet to families to promote their messages and programs, advertisement through the aquarium for the event and a few nights of spooky fun. Each of our NGO's enjoyed the event and said they would love to be invited back next year. Our partners included Oceans Foundation, City of San Diego Water Conservation, San Diego County Water Authority, Quail Botanical Gardens, and Tijuana Estuary Reserve. One of our final additions to the event was a live band. The band was placed center stage (no pun intended) in our main Galleria, and was one of the first experiences guests enjoyed after entering the aquarium through our small pumpkin patch. Both adults and kids alike enjoyed grooving to the music throughout the night. Though our guests may not have consciously noticed our efforts to neaten and green-up our Haunted event, they noticed our efforts in their overall experience. Many families mentioned it was the best Haunted Aquarium event they had been to, they appreciated all of the learning experiences for their family, and were thankful for a safe and fun place to celebrate Halloween. During a time of tough financial decisions and reduced discretionary funds, we were glad to have created a special night for our guests and hope to only continue our efforts in the years to come.

Fun For All Ages

Awaiting Costume Contest Winners

The SWMEA Connection, newsletter of the Southwest Marine/Aquatic Educators’ Association--Fall 2008

Kelp Slime Recipe
Materials: for group, 30-50 * 1 c. Powdered alginate (food grade) * * * * 1/2 Packet Kool-Aid powder (green) 2-3 c. Water at room temperature 30-50 Popsicle sticks 30-50 Small containers with lids (1 oz. condiment container) 30-50 Pipettes, disposable


Directions: 1. Blend alginate and Kool-Aid powders together. 2. Using a Popsicle stick, place 2 to 3 small scoops of alginate mixture into the container. 3. Using pipette, fill container 1/4 of the way with water. 4. Immediately stir ingredients together using Popsicle stick. 5. Add more water, as needed, to make mix slimier. 6. Enjoy your slime. Taste it if you dare!
The SWMEA Connection, newsletter of the Southwest Marine/Aquatic Educators’ Association--Fall 2008 6

Sunrise to Sunset: Our Lives are Linked to the Ocean Grades K-2 (P1-P3)
From Seven Essential Principles for Ocean Literacy: An Activity Guide for Educators Ocean Literacy Principle: 6c National Education Standards: Personal and Social Perspectives: NS.K-4.6 and Science as Inquiry: NS.K-4.1 Hawaii Content and Performance Standards: SC.1.1.1, SC.1.1.2 and LA.K.5.2 Bermuda Science Standards: P1,P2, P3 SC-A, P1 SC-C and P3 SC-C Activity Objectives: * Identify jobs that are dependent on the ocean * Understand how the ocean directly relates to people living on an island * Gain experience in abstract representation of a concept Prep Time: 5 minutes Activity Time: 1 hour Materials: * Poster board or construction paper * Markers/crayons * Glue sticks/tape * Scissors Background Information The ocean is a source for many of our everyday needs: from toothpaste to medicines, from boats to the oil and gas that run our vehicles, and even seafood for dinner to ice cream for dessert! Many people who live on an island make their living by the sea. They might be employed as a fisherman and sell their catch to others. Some people have jobs that are more closely linked to enjoying the ocean. Boat tour operators or SCUBA dive shops share the beauty of the ocean with their customers. Many others have jobs related to transportation and shipping. Directions 1. Make three columns on a piece of poster board with your students. Label the heading of each column as follows: Column 1: JOBS involving oceans; Column 2: RECREATIONAL activities involving the ocean; Column 3: PRODUCTS from the ocean. Explain what each term means and give an example or two for each. 2. As a class, generate a list for each column. Remember to include ideas that are linked to the ocean, not just directly connected. One example you can share is oil that we use to run our cars is frequently transported on large ocean liners. Ask the students if one or both of their parents have a job relating to the ocean. Use those ideas on your list. 3. After a good list is compiled, assign each student a career, recreational activity or product from the list. If the lists are long enough, students can be assigned one from each category. Have students draw and color a simple representation or symbol of their assigned topic on a piece of poster board or construction paper, using one piece of paper per topic. Examples for fishing may be a fish or a pole. continued on next page...
The SWMEA Connection, newsletter of the Southwest Marine/Aquatic Educators’ Association--Fall 2008 7

4. Create a second poster board that represents how the ocean is connected to people who live further inland. In the center of this poster board, draw a large circle and label this 'Ocean.' Immediately surrounding the ocean draw a larger circle around it, labeling this 'Beach.' The next circle out will be farms and fields. The largest circle represents towns, villages and cities or places people live. 5. Instruct each student to cut out his or her symbol(s). Have the students decide the circle in which their object belongs. It is possible that their symbol fits into more than one area of the poster board. Determine ahead of time if you want the students to decide the area they prefer putting their representation or if they should create one for each area of the poster it falls within. With the glue or tape, help students attach their symbols to the poster board in the predetermined space(s). 6. Discuss with the class that even though some careers or recreational activities do not occur directly in the ocean, they may still be connected to the ocean in some way. Were any of the generated choices a surprise? Resources Books * Opportunities & Uses of the Ocean by D. A. Ross Web sites * Career opportunities in the marine mammal field * Career opportunities in Marine Biology and Oceanography * Division of Boating and Recreation homepage of Hawaii * Products and recipes made from ocean seaweeds Assessment Ask students to search your classroom for items that may have come from the sea or may have products in it that came from the sea, like glue for example. Ask them to share why they feel these items found should or should not be added to your list.

The SWMEA Connection, newsletter of the Southwest Marine/Aquatic Educators’ Association--Fall 2008


Spring Professional Development Workshop
March 11-13, 2009 Asilomar Conference Grounds - Pacific Grove, CA
Join the NMEA09 Conference Planning Committee for a preview of

Together * We'll walk through the schedule, visit the field sites, sample Asilomar's fare and check out the field trip venues * We'll go over any last minute decisions that need to be made and review conference events and other details * We'll look at concurrent sessions that have been accepted and hear about the keynote speakers * We'll check and double check our lists to make sure that everything is ready for the conference! This will be a great opportunity for you to get a sneak peek of the conference and sign up to help during the event. Wednesday, March 11 6:00 PM Thursday, March 12 7:30 AM 8:00 AM 12:00 PM 1:00 PM 6:00 PM Friday, March 13 7:30 AM Meet for Dinner at Asilomar Dining Hall Breakfast at Asilomar Review Schedule, Sessions, Speakers Lunch Visit Field Sites Dinner at Asilomar Breakfast at Asilomar Visit Field Trip Venues

We'll be sending out an E-Vite soon, but if you have questions or want to register early, email Kathy McElroy at We recommend that you plan to stay at Asilomar - their room rates include meals! You can make reservations through their website: Reserve soon, they fill up fast!

The SWMEA Connection, newsletter of the Southwest Marine/Aquatic Educators’ Association--Fall 2008


June 29 - July 3rd, 2009
Plans are moving ahead for NMEA09 Here is a tentative schedule and few dates for your calendar. Look for the NMEA09 Conference website beginning December 1. Monday, June 29 Pre-Conference Workshops - Diverse Audiences - New Technologies - Grant Writing - Ocean Literacy - Program Evaluation - Art and Science Registration Welcome and Keynote Speaker Exhibitors Reception Bonfire Tuesday, June 30 Plenary Sessions Concurrent Sessions Dinner on your own at Monterey’s Farmers’ Market and Wharf Wednesday, July 1 Plenary Sessions Concurrent Sessions Silent and Live Auction Banana Slug String Band Asilomar Conference GroundsPacific Grove, CA Dates to Remember Call for papers: Early Registration: Scholarships: December 1, 2008 - February 15, 2009 January 1 - April 30, 2009 January 1 - April1, 2009

Thursday, July 2 Field Based Workshops - Monterey Bay Aquarium - Elkhorn Slough Reserve - Seymour Center - Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and Moss Landing Marine Labs - Asilomar State Beach Poster Sessions Evening Event at Monterey Bay Aquarium Friday, July 3 Field Trips - Whale Watching - Bike Tours - Habitat Restoration - Wine Tasting - SCUBA - Kayaking - Sailing

The SWMEA Connection, newsletter of the Southwest Marine/Aquatic Educators’ Association--Fall 2008

Upcoming Events February 27 - March 1, 2009 National Association for Interpretation Regional Workshop Nurturing the Interpretive Soul: Techniques to inspire & motivate our staff, our visitors, and ourselves at Balboa Park, San Diego, Ca More information is available at

Become a SWMEA member today!
The Southwest Marine/ Aquatic Educators’ Association (SWMEA) is a marine educators network throughout Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. Members receive four on-line newsletters each year, and a subscription to our listserve. Receive discounts on our semi-annual professional development seminars as well as discounts in several SWMEA facilities. For more information contact Amy Shulman at

March 11-13, 2009

Spring SWMEA Professional Development Seminar at Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, CA

June 29-July 3, 2009

NMEA Annual Conference in Pacific Grove, California

September 12-18, 2009

AZA Annual Conference at the Oregon Zoo, Portland, Oregon

The SWMEA Connection
Steven Schenk Shark Reef Aquarium (702) 632-4566

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