Touch Tanks… Guided

Yes, indeed… Last week was the awesomest so far. Between sandboarding, octopus feeding, kid teaching, estuary touring for people from 17 countries, it was the busiest, funnest week at Hatfield. This week that just past was very relax (much needed). I worked a lot on my projects (curriculum and exhibit), took care of my jellies, and worked in the touch tank for the first time, where I tell kids not to poke sea anemones in the mouth/poop hole, and other things.

I was off on Monday, which was perfect since I was nursing my sandboarding hangover. My body ached from top to bottom… and back to top. So I stayed home and worked on my exhibit’s text content, cooked some Louisiana style red beans and rice, and recycled.

On Tuesday, I worked on my curriculum, with good results. The rest of the day, I worked with my jellytank until 3:30pm, and then, the other interns and I went to the Oregon Coast Aquarium! There, we saw pretty cool critters, like the Atlantic sea nettle (pictured here), sea otters, sharks, and sweet birds.

Wednesday was the day I had my touch tank experience. I discovered the true levels of patience I can have, which was definitely more than I expected. Kids would come and try to pick up animals, poke them, scratch them; and the best part was that the adults were doing the same! But as a good broker of information, I would gently correct them and tell them something cool about the creature they were attempting to break in two.

Thursday, our fellow Sea Granter, Joanne Choi, came from Coos Bay area to stay at Hatfield for the night, so she came on my estuary tour, I showed her around a bit, and then worked on my exhibit. I then had to help our SPOD with the octopus feeding. It seems that Ursula, our resident octopus, likes to try to exit the tank where she lives in. In front of about 80 men, women, and children, Ursula had 4 of her arms out of the tank (most of them wrapped around the SPOD (presenter), and her two eyes (a big no-no). SEA GRANT SCHOLAR TO THE RESCUE! I jumped over most of the children, and unwrapped those suckers by tickling the back of the octopus’ arms. Success…claps…tears… no, but really, everybody started clapping, and I just tipped my Sea Grant hat, as I would if I had hit an excellent golf shot.

Friday, the scholars had their mid-summer check in! Which meant a few things, we had to make a presentation to update our fellow scholars what we were doing in our jobs, we had to eat pizza until there was not a crumb left, and we had to help set-up for DaVinci Days festival, where arts, science and technology are exhibited (and food). It was quite challenging to set up the Sea Grant poster exhibit, but with the help of Eric Dickey… we did it. couldn’t have done it without him (see?? poets ARE very handy.) Later on that night, we checked into the coolest dorm I’ve ever been in, and went out on the town with some friends…

Saturday was DaVinci day for me. We woke up and went eat breakfast for $1.99, then worked at the Sea Grant tent for a couple of hours. We tried some delicious food, took a long nap, and went to see Bobby McFerrin jibble jabble with his band. Unfortunately, I was tired of it before he got to “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”, so I happily decided to leave the premises and head back to Newport.

Sunday was a regular day of work at the VC, where I did an estuary tour (almost fell on the mudflats). I also dug up an oyster on demand from one of the estuary tour participants. I was proud of my skills. The rest of that day, I worked on my exhibit, which is almost done!

This week, I plan to finish my exhibit, show it to a focus group, get some questions from them, alter the poster, and have something pretty professional by the end of the week.

See y’all later!


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About Diego

I am from Puerto Rico, but just graduated in Biological Sciences from the University of Louisiana @ Lafayette (ULL). I am very excited to work at the Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC) Visitor Center (VC) for the Summer, giving presentations to people and kids, tours, estuary walks, and whatever else needs to be done!

1 thought on “Touch Tanks… Guided

  1. If this is your relaxed week, I am daunted to think about your busy week! You are mastering the concept of outreach and being a trusted broker of information to a “T”. Not to mention octo wranging! Can’t wait to see results from your exhibit planning.

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