Help Protect the Earth on Earth Day and Every Day

As we get ready to celebrate Earth Day, here are some things you can do to help protect the Earth. The National Ocean Service put together this list 0f 10 choices you can make for a healthier planet.Earth Day NOAA

Living with less plastic
Reduce the amount of reusable plastic in the world. According to a recent report, by the year 2050, there will be more plastics in our ocean than fish. Small changes over time add up to a big difference, especially when using plastic.Less Plastic

Protecting endangered animals
When guests visit Newport Aquarium, not only do they get to see amazing animals, but they also get to learn about how to help those animals and their environment. Newport Aquarium and other AZA accredited zoo and aquariums work to protect some of the world’s most endangered animals in their facilities.

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Nearly all species of sea turtle are classified as Endangered. Newport Aquarium is a part of a sea turtle rehabilitation program, to rescue and release baby sea turtles back in to the wild.

Aquariums allow for people to see and interact with animals that they never would get the chance to normally. Aquariums also give a chance of a close and personal interaction with animals that can allow for guests to develop a special connection and help develop a passion to protect the animals and their environment.

Importance of Water
Newport Aquarium hopes to educate people about the importance of water and about the everyday things they can do to help protect our oceans, planet, and animals. A “Water Story” sign welcomes guests to exhibits. Guests can discover diverse ecosystems, the source of our planet’s water and threats to the world’s water as they visit.

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The World Rivers exhibit allows for guest to learn about a highest density and diversity of nine different rivers from five different continents.

Newport Aquarium also strives to improve water quality and conservation efforts to help the aquatic life in both ocean and fresh water environments all over the planet. Learn more in our World Water Day post.

Learn to love sea life
Through education; you will grow to appreciate ocean and marine life and take a more caring and careful approach to all things oceanic. A great way to do this is to visit local aquariums and AZA institutions, like Newport Aquarium.

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Overhead view of the Coral Reef, guests can see on a behind-the-scenes tour at Newport Aquarium.

Reduce plastic
Stop one time plastic. Plastic bottles, straws and containers are dangerous for the environment. Try to use reusable products as much as you can. Whether it is water bottles, tuber wear containers, or reusable straws, using these items help cut down on the use on one time plastics. This in return, can reduce the amount of harmful plastic found in wildlife.

Always recycle
Recycling helps to reduce the pollution caused by waste. Try to make full use of the recycling depots in your local area.

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Volunteer and Donate
Volunteer to clean up local rivers and beach areas. Join thousands of volunteers at this year’s ORSANCO River Sweep, and clean up the Ohio River, its tributaries and riverbanks on June 17, 2017.  Volunteer with the WAVE Foundation  to excite, engage and educate our community about the wonders of aquatic life and the importance of conservation.

Most of us want to make a difference and do something good for the planet. Earth Day is the perfect time to reflect and see what we can do to protect our planet.

 

Rescued loggerhead sea turtle makes successful return to the ocean

Shack’s Release

A team from Newport Aquarium is in North Carolina, bringing Shack back to Shackleford Banks. After spending this past year at Newport Aquarium, growing and thriving, he’s ready to return to the ocean. Here’s Shack’s homecoming, told from Newport Aquarium Senior Biologist, Jen Hazeres, and Water Quality Specialist, Cameo VonStrohe.

Jen and Cameo with Shack, ready for the return to the ocean.

Jen and Cameo with Shack, ready for the return to the ocean.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016
A busy day ahead! We started at NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. The biologists prepared the turtles for the boat journey. It’s the same way we did when we prepared Shack for the trip back to North Carolina – applied an eye salve and ointment on shells and flippers.

Newport Aquarium diver, Kathy Folk, joined Jen and Cameo for the release.

Newport Aquarium diver, Kathy Folk, joined Jen and Cameo for the release.

Newport Aquarium diver, Kathy Folk joined us on the trip, to release Shack back into the ocean.

We traveled to the dock at Morehead City. This is where the volunteers (total of about 70 passengers) had a chance to meet and greet the turtles before boarding the Carolina Princess.

After about a two hour ride out, we reached warmer waters so it was time to anchor for the release. The water temperature was 74 F, depth 98 feet, latitude 34.27.477, longitude 76.17.969.

33 healthy young loggerhead sea turtles were released about 20-miles offshore – they ranged in age from 2-weeks-old to a 2-year-old. Photo Courtesy: NC Aquarium at Pink Knoll Shores

33 healthy young loggerhead sea turtles were released about 20-miles offshore – they ranged in age from 2-weeks-old to a 2-year-old.
Photo Courtesy: NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores

 

 

Out on the boat today, to release hatchlings and yearlings, were teams from Mystic Aquarium, Adventure Aquarium (our sister aquarium), Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, National Aquarium in Baltimore, NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, NC State Aquariums Roanoke and NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher.

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Thanks to NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, 33 healthy young loggerhead sea turtles were released about 20-miles offshore, near the warm waters of the Gulf Stream. They ranged in age from 2-weeks-old to a 2-year-old.

Homecoming for Shack, the rescued loggerhead sea turtle

Greetings from Shackleford Banks

This week marks a big homecoming for Shack, the rescued loggerhead sea turtle. A team from Newport Aquarium is in North Carolina, bringing Shack back to Shackleford Banks. After spending this past year at Newport Aquarium, growing and thriving, he’s ready to return to the ocean. Here’s Shack’s homecoming, told from Newport Aquarium Senior Biologist, Jen Hazeres, and Water Quality Specialist, Cameo VonStrohe.

Monday, October 17, 2016
We spent the day collecting salt marsh fish with two biologists from Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium.

We caught striped killifish, sheepshead minnows, permit, mullet, and hermit crabs.

After a short boat ride to Shackleford Banks, the team anchored then used cast nets. This location happens to be our yearling turtle’s namesake… Shack, where he was found stranded on the beach last year.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

We took Shack to get a check-up and prepped for a PIT tag. Dr. Matthew Godfrey from North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission measured Shack’s shell. Dr. Godfrey performed check-ups and took measurements on all of the turtles that are going to be released.

The PIT tag is an injected ID tag that can be read via a reader like UPC code. Biologists and keepers at zoos and aquariums use PIT tags with a lot of larger animals to help identify them from like animals in the same tank – such as sharks at Newport.

Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center

We joined teams from Mystic Aquarium, Adventure Aquarium (our sister aquarium), Virginia Aquarium, National Aquarium in Baltimore, and NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.

We joined teams from Mystic Aquarium, Adventure Aquarium (our sister aquarium), Virginia Aquarium, National Aquarium in Baltimore, and NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.

Jean Beasley gave us a tour at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. She is a real hero for sea turtle rescue in memory of her daughter.

The hospital was incredible, Jean is a huge champion of sea turtles.

The hospital was incredible, Jean is a huge champion of sea turtles.

The pools in the picture behind Jean are full of other rescue turtles. The hospital gets severe medical cases that usually involve surgeries or more involved rehab. Almost all turtles are released.

The hospital is 20 years old but moved into the new huge building three years ago. They have two main rooms, one for more critical patients. They also have a surgery room, radiograph room, kitchen, lab, and more. The hospital is completely funded privately and staffed by volunteers. They rehab green sea turtles, kemps, and loggerheads. Learn more about the hospital here: http://www.seaturtlehospital.org/

From the hospital’s website: The mission of the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center is the conservation and preservation of all species of marine turtles, both in the water and on the beach.

Karen Beasley Rescue & Rehabilitation Center

We accomplish this through the rescue, care, and release of sick and injured sea turtles, public education regarding the plight of sea turtles and the threat of their extinction, and learning opportunities for students of biology, wildlife conservation, and veterinary medicine from around the world. A nonprofit organization, we view our work as a privilege and are honored to work with these magnificent creatures.

Stay tuned for Jen and Cameo’s next post: Shack gets released back into the ocean.

Read our previous post: Rescued loggerhead sea turtle ‘yearling’ on his way to the ocean.

Rescued loggerhead sea turtle ‘yearling’ on his way to the ocean

After spending the last year at Newport Aquarium, Shack, the rescued loggerhead sea turtle is making his way back to North Carolina, and will be released back into the ocean this week. Shack came to Newport Aquarium last October, as a part of the North Carolina Sea Turtle Project. He was rescued as a hatchling on the beach along Shackleford Banks in North Carolina.

Shack, therescued loggerhead sea turtle is ready to return to the ocean.

Shack, therescued loggerhead sea turtle is ready to return to the ocean.

Working Together

Biologists at Newport Aquarium work closely with the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knolls Shores to rehabilitate a young loggerhead sea turtle each year.

One final picture in front of the saltwater tank near Shore Gallery. Biologist Jen Hazeres spent the last year raising Shack, and preparing him to return to the ocean.

One final picture in front of the saltwater tank near Shore Gallery. Biologist Jen Hazeres spent the last year raising Shack, and preparing him to return to the ocean.

“We travel to North Carolina every fall to release the previous year’s hatchling and pick up a new sea turtle that needs our help,” said Newport Aquarium Senior Biologist, Jen Hazeres who will be joined by Newport Aquarium Water Quality Specialist, Cameo Von Strohe. This week, they will meet up with teams from several other facilities to release the sea turtle “yearlings” back into the ocean. And they’ll return with a new hatchling to raise over the next year.

Ready for the ocean

In preparation to bring the yearling sea turtle back to North Carolina, Hazeres gave Shack one final check-up. She prepped his shell and rubbed an ointment on his head and shell. She also applied a salve on his eyes to keep them moistened.

Stay tuned for updates as Hazeres and Von Strohe visit the site in North Carolina and rescue a new hatchling.

To learn more about how you can help, see our previous post: https://aquariumworks.org/2016/05/20/endangered-species-day-rescued-loggerhead-sea-turtle-enters-new-tank/

Rescued Loggerhead sea turtle ready to return to the ocean

Shack, a rescued loggerhead sea turtle receives his final exam from Newport Aquarium Senior Biologist Jen Hazeres and Dr. Peter Hill.

Shack, a rescued loggerhead sea turtle receives his final exam from Newport Aquarium Senior Biologist Jen Hazeres and Dr. Peter Hill.

Shack, the one-year-old rescued loggerhead sea turtle at Newport Aquarium will be released into the Atlantic Ocean next month, as a part of the North Carolina Sea Turtle Project. Shack was rescued last October, as a hatchling on the beach in Shackleford Shoal, N.C.

Newport Aquarium has partnered with aquariums across the country to participate in this project and aid sea turtle conservation efforts since 2003.

Only one out of 1,000 sea turtle hatchlings will grow up to be adults. Some sea turtles can lay more than 100 eggs each time they nest. However, a lot of things can stop a sea turtle from laying her eggs. They’re accidentally captured in fisheries. They’re also hunted in many coastal communities, especially in Central America.

Only one out of 1,000 sea turtle hatchlings will grow up to be adults. Some sea turtles can lay more than 100 eggs each time they nest. However, a lot of things can stop a sea turtle from laying her eggs. They’re accidentally captured in fisheries. They’re also hunted in many coastal communities, especially in Central America.

Through the North Carolina Sea Turtle Project, newly hatched turtles that are at risk to not make it into the water are rescued and nurtured for about a year until they are strong enough to be released back into the wild.

The first several minutes after they hatch are when these turtles are most at risk, but the majority of problems threatening them later in life aren’t natural—they’re man-made, including the fishing industry and loss of nesting habitat.

 

Growing and Learning
When Shack arrived at Newport Aquarium, he weighed 73 grams – about the size of an egg from your refrigerator—and could fit in the palm of your hand.  After spending a year at Newport Aquarium learning to swim, find his own food and coexist with other marine life, Shack is ready to return to the ocean.

He spent the last four months hanging out with the different species of angelfish and other saltwater fish in the exhibit outside Shark Ray Bay Theater, in the Shore Gallery.

“He learned how to dive deeper, and he’s gotten used to the environment,” said Jen Hazeres, senior biologist at Newport Aquarium. Hazeres was part of the team that brought Shack back to be fostered at Newport Aquarium. In his most recent checkup, staff veterinarian, Dr. Peter Hill took Shack’s shell measurements, performed a physical exam and weight, and cleared Shack for release. He now weighs almost 7 and a half pounds.

Shack explores the tank with his new neighbors.

Shack explores the tank with his new neighbors.

Saving The Species
Scientists say only one out of 1,000 hatchlings has a chance of making it to adulthood. All sea turtles are protected under the Endangered Species Act. Loggerhead sea turtles are listed as “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.

Biologists at Newport Aquarium work closely with the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knolls Shores to rehabilitate a young loggerhead sea turtle each year. Newport Aquarium biologists travel to North Carolina each fall to release the previous year’s hatchling and pick up a new sea turtle that needs our help. The WAVE Foundation’s Aquatic Conservation Fund supports the satellite tagging of our turtles before their release.

After Shack is released, Newport Aquarium staffers will return to Northern Kentucky with a new hatchling turtle to raise over the next year. Stay tuned for that announcement.

To learn more about how you can help, see our previous post: https://aquariumworks.org/2016/05/20/endangered-species-day-rescued-loggerhead-sea-turtle-enters-new-tank/

Endangered Species Day: Rescued Loggerhead Sea Turtle Enters New Tank

This Endangered Species Day, Newport Aquarium celebrates a success story as the rescued loggerhead sea turtle hatchling, Shack, is introduced to a new, more spacious home within Newport Aquarium. Shack was just moved into the bigger saltwater tank outside Shark Ray Bay Theater, in the Shore Gallery. He entered the tank to the excitement and applause of a group of young children, and swam down to the front of the tank, giving the children an up close view as he explored his new home.

Shack now has more room to dive and grow as he awaits his next journey to return back to the ocean, off the coast of North Carolina. He was rescued last October, as a hatchling on the beach in Shackleford Shoal, N.C. He weighed 73 grams – about the size of an egg from your refrigerator—and could fit in the palm of your hand. He now weighs about 2.5 pounds.

Biologist, Jen Hazeres, with Shack, shortly after he was rescued.

Biologist, Jen Hazeres, with Shack, shortly after he was rescued. Shack weighed 73 grams.

Loggerhead sea turtle hatchling

Newport Aquarium biologist, Jen Hazeres, with loggerhead sea turtle, Shack, before he enters his new, bigger tank. Shack now weighs 2.5 pounds.

“Moving Shack into the bigger tank is part of his development and enrichment,” said Jen Hazeres, biologist at Newport Aquarium. Hazeres was part of the team of biologists that rescued Shack, and brought him back to be fostered at Newport Aquarium. “He’ll be able to dive deeper. We want to get him used to a more natural environment before he’s released back out into the wild in October.”

Saving The Species
Scientists say only one out of 1,000 hatchlings has a chance of making it to adulthood. All sea turtles are protected under the Endangered Species Act. Loggerhead sea turtles are listed as “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.

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Biologists at Newport Aquarium work closely with the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knolls Shores to rehabilitate a young loggerhead sea turtle each year. Newport Aquarium biologists travel to North Carolina each fall to release the previous year’s hatchling and pick up a new sea turtle that needs our help. The WAVE Foundation’s Aquatic Conservation Fund supports the satellite tagging of our turtles before their release.

Why Tracking Is Important
Satellite tracking is extremely important in determining sea turtle migratory patterns, feeding and nesting data. We hope to learn a lot from their travels. You can go online and see where the rescued sea turtles go at www.wavefoundation.org.

Loggerhead sea turtle nest

Only one out of 1,000 hatchling turtles will grow up to be adults. Some sea turtles can lay more than 100 eggs each time they nest. However, a lot of things can stop a sea turtle from laying her eggs. They’re accidentally captured in fisheries. They’re also hunted in many coastal communities, especially in Central America.

How To Help

  1. Help by keeping the beaches clean when you go on vacation. Pack up your beach chairs, towels, trash and other items at night so the sea turtles have an easy path to their nest.
  2. Turn off your porch lights at the vacation home during the nesting season. The artificial lighting confuses the female sea turtles from nesting. Instead, turtles will choose a less-than-optimal nesting spot, which affects the chances of producing a successful nest. Also, near-shore lighting can cause sea turtle hatchlings to become disoriented when they are born.
  3. Reduce the need to use plastic bags. They end up in our oceans and look like floating jellyfish to sea turtles. Use reusable bags for your grocery items.