Our Summer Scholars’ time is drawing to a close at the end of the month, so we’re hearing some final words, at least for the moment, from some of them, starting with Diana:
“These past weeks have been filled with things that I never thought would happen and have surprised me in the most spectacular ways. First, I went on vacation to Vancouver, BC and Seattle, WA which was a memorable experience. I was able to see behind the scenes tanks and animals at the Vancouver Aquarium and even got to see Leonardo Da Vinci’s works in person as well as King Tutankhamen’s burial chamber items. This vacation was a nice break from the craziness of the visitor’s center and refreshed me for another few weeks as an education intern. The moment I returned many volunteers and other workers at Hatfield were asking about my vacation. Even this little thing made me feel fully welcomed into the Hatfield family. One of the first things that occurred when I returned was that many unannounced summer camps came into the visitor’s center which is always an experience. Yet, one of the most progressive things I did was creating new signs for me shoreline erosion tank. This time one of my mentors Mark Farley and I created 2 different signs compared to one long sign. One sign said “The Erosion Problem” with photos of me showing how to use the paddle to create waves and see the erosion of the sand. The second sign said “The Erosion Solution” and gave the visitors a chance to try 1 of 3 different protective strategies for beach/shoreline erosion. These new larger signs seem to be working well for now. I can already see a difference in the behavior of children and families when they come to wave tank; instead of sand castle building, they actually read the sings and follow the directions.
The visitor’s center also had some crazy moments. We had Micro A and Micro B tanks overflow into the VC overnight and leave a lake in the surrounding area an inch deep. That lake was an interesting mess to clean, but created a wonderful learning moment. I was able to watch the aquarists and learn how to put on new filter bags as well as rework the tanks. I was challenged to follow the pipes and figure out where the water went such as the outflow and inflow pipes. Other crazy moments that occurred were people trying to put their whole hand inside of anemones or trying to crawl inside of the touch tank to touch the different fish. While all of this was going on I also got to have some spectacular moments in the VC.
These spectacular moments occurred when the Aquarists took me under their wing and showed me some impressive things. First, I got to see a fish necropsy which was highly informative and taught me new dissections skills. I was also taught how to kill invasive coral apitasia with lemon juice. I was able to inject a few micrometers of lemon juice into each invasive apitasia, which kills it almost instantaneously. The apitasia tries as a defensive mechanism to spit its own guts out, but the lemon juice is too acidic. I also learned through this process how to siphon a tank and change out the water while balancing the acidity in the water with baking soda, thus making the seawater more neutral. Yet, the most spectacular thing I learned with the aquarists was how to feed all the animals in the Hatfield Marine Science Center. I learned how and what to feed each animal except the octopus in the visitor’s center, which took a long time but was completely worth it. The amount of knowledge I learned during that time was amazing and I will not forget anytime soon. This entire summer has been a learning experience, but definitely a fun one that I shall remember for the rest of my life.”