Tag Archive | Clearwater Marine Aquarium

In the Florida Keys and a Winter and Hope Update


Here's a kiss to the Keys saying "This is the life".

Here’s a kiss to the Keys saying “This is the life”.

Hey there everyone,

This is Jenna writing finally, after a while. I have been very busy lately due to online college work and my current internship at a Theater of the Sea in Islamorada, FL which has slowed me down a lot recently to the point where I no longer had anytime to blog about my experiences. So, now that my finals for the semester are out of the way, I can finally get to blog about how things have been going down here in the Florida Keys.

Theater of the Sea

I personally love my internship at Theater of the Sea. So, far, I have had the best five weeks of my life getting my foot in the animal training field through some hands-on experience with the dolphins, sea lions, and rays at the park. So far, I have done some water-work training sessions with the dolphins and a sea lion named Bella as well as a couple of feeding sessions here and there with the sting rays at stingray beach. In addition, I have been assisting a lot with getting music ready for the shows and picking out volunteers to meet the animals up-close in person. Some of these people have even asked me to picked them to meet the animals too like this one grandmother from France who came to the Keys with her young grandson because he wanted to see a dolphin. When she came up to me, I was so touched by her story how it was her grandson’s dream to meet a real dolphin that I had to pick him to meet one and so, after I fulfilled his wish, I picked him for a second time to toss rings to Wilbur the sea lion and believe me, he wowed the crowed by throwing the ring from a far distance. It felt so good granting some kid his life-long wish because this is the kind of stuff that most people may never get the chance to do and also, it was Christmas and I was taught for a long time that Christmas is not really about the presents you get under the Christmas tree, it’s more about caring for those who really want to be cared for.

Winter had been paired with Hope (Photo by Bay News 9)

Winter had been paired with Hope (Photo by Bay News 9)

Winter has Finally been Paired with Hope

With a lot of delight, I am very happy to day that Tampa Bay’s Bay News 9 has confirmed that Winter the dolphin has finally been paired with Hope almost one year after Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s youngest bottlenose dolphin was first moved to the Winter Zone from the Dolphin Zone where she had been residing since the winter of 2011. The CMA staff is reporting that Winter and Hope have been getting along very well and the introduction has been a huge success. Congrats to Winter and Hope and a very successful introduction.

Theater of the Sea Family Portrait

Theater of the Sea Family Portrait

Back to Life in the Keys….

Since my internship is a paid one, I have decided that I will be using all my current paychecks to pay to have my SCUBA lessons be done down here in Key Largo since I found out that it’s very expensive to get certified up north while it’s cheaper down here. Plus, I have always wanted to go scuba diving in Florida’s coral reefs  and see the ship wrecks that are down there. This would mean I would have stay in the Keys long after my internship ends and that would also mean finding a job down here too so that I would be able to help pay for the condo my mother and I are renting at the Moon Bay condominiums in Key Largo.  I am so glad that I’m spending the holidays in paradise because I don’t have to worry too much about the cold weather. Any way, I hope you all are having a great Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Merry Christmas everyone,

~Jenna~

Merry Christmas from the Florida Keys.

Merry Christmas from the Florida Keys.

 

A Letter to Congress Concerning the Exclusion of the the John H. Prescott Grant Program


Boomerang, a young California sea lion who resides at Mystic Aquarium, was rescued by the California-based non-profit, the Marine Mammal Center. Both Mystic and Marine Mammal Center operate Prescott grant-funded rescue and rehabilitation programs.

The following post is a letter I just wrote to my congressman Charlie Bass (R-NH) about my concern over the exclusion of the John H. Prescott Grant Program from next year’s federal budget. This grant was established by NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service 12 years ago to provide government funding to marine mammal rehabilitation facilities, such as Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Mystic Aquarium, Marine Mammal Center, SeaWorld, National Aquarium in Baltimore, and Monteray Bay Aquarium in order to continue their work to rescue, rehabilitate, and release marine mammals in trouble.  

To Congressman Bass,

I am writing on behalf of marine mammal rehabilitation facilities nationwide that could suffer from budget cuts if the John H. Prescott Grant Program continues to be excluded from the 2013 federal budget. Last summer, I did an internship at the Clearwater, FL-based Clearwater Marine Aquarium and I saw the work they have put in rescuing and rehabilitating troubled dolphins, otters, and sea turtles in all hopes that they could go back into the wild someday.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium, like all other marine life facilities that specialize in marine mammal strandings and rehabilitation, coordinate with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service and respond to over 5,000 animals each year. In response to the public demand for funding, NOAA established the John H. Prescott Grant Program in 2000 to fund the works of all these organizations which has financially sustained them for the last 12 years. Sadly, however, the Prescott funding has not been included in the 2013 funding.

Marine mammals, such as orcas, dolphins, and seals play a huge role in the marine eco system and often serve as sentential of ocean health and are often early indicators of unhealthy ocean conditions, such as the effects of oil spills, pollution, habitat loss, and the ever growing concern of climate change which has been recognized with bottlenose dolphin populations in the Gulf Coast that have been effected by the most recent oil spill.

Organizations, such as Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and the California-based Marine Mammal Center, are all funded by the Prescott Grant and serve as America’s first responders in these cases and provide the only chance biologists will get to study and understand the how and why marine mammals strand in the first place and provide surveillance for possibly dangerous risks. Without this grant, these organization will have a hard time funding future rescues, rehabilitation and conservation efforts, and just to make matters worse, they may not be able to fund their own future projects in regards to facility upgrades nor operation costs. Because these facilities rehabilitate marine mammals, they meet certain standards of care for their patients which has been established by the US National Marine Fisheries Services and if the Prescott grant continues to remain excluded from next year’s funding, the animals that are being rehabilitated by these facilities will suffer too.

Many zoo and aquarium professionals, patrons, and marine biologists are all calling for this life-saving grant to be included in the 2013 federal budget. This is because it allows organizations to continue their work to rescue, rehabilitate and release marine mammals in trouble as well as study the unhealthy effects on the marine ecosystem and what could be done to protect marine mammals and their habitats. I myself am also calling for Congress to restore the Prescott funding because it allows these organizations to keep going on preserving and keep a pulse on marine life and the health of all marine ecosystems.

Thank you for taking the time for understanding the importance of the  John H. Prescott Grant Program and how it’s used to keep marine mammal rescues going.

Sincerely,
Jenna Costa Deedy
Student at Nashua Community College                                                                                                                                                                                               Writer for the aquarium internship blog, the Winter Dolphin Chronicles
Nashua, NH.

You too can write to your representative and tell them that we can’t afford to cut the Prescott grant program because without it, marine mammal rescue organizations will have a difficult time funding rescue and conservation efforts just go to https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml and start writing.

Have a good evening everyone,

~Jenna~

More CMA Updates


The following below is a video containing a video clip of Winter, photo montage from my visit to CMA along with some updates on Clearwater Marine Aquarium around 5:30 into the video.

For those who may not want to watch the video because it’s long, well, I will give you the news on this post right now.

Janis and I are experiencing a "hurricane" at Winter's Dolphin Tale Adventure which is located in downtown Clearwater.

  • Clearwater Marine Aquarium has a new facility that is located in downtown Clearwater. The museum, appropriately  named “Winter’s Dolphin Tale Adventure” is the only movie museum in the entire world that’s dedicated to displaying props, recreated scenes and costumes from the movie “Dolphin Tale”. These props includes the real-life movie touch tank where you can meet and touch the real life resident critters of the pool and Winter’s real life prosthetic tails from the six years she has been at CMA. I have personally got to visit this museum and believe me, the staff and volunteers did a really great job putting this amazing museum together. You can get there by taking a trolley that back and forth from CMA to the museum.  It’s a really nice place to visit for anyone who loves “Dolphin Tale”, Winter the Dolphin, or CMA in general.

You can now see Bailey the Green sea turtle at the Dolphin Deck exhibit (the pool that was used to film certain scenes with Winter during the filming of "Dolphin Tale"). Photo by CMA.

  • Bailey, a paralyzed green sea turtle has been moved to the Dolphin Deck exhibit to fill the exhibition void that was left behind by bottlenose dolphin Hope when she was moved to the Winter Zone exhibit earlier this month. There, he will have enough room to swim around and receive therapeutic sessions from his care takers after living in the Turtle Cove exhibit for many years. He loves to hang around at the windows to check both himself and the public out. So, the next time you visit Clearwater Marine Aquarium, be sure you check Bailey out at his new home in the Dolphin Deck exhibit.

You are never too young to save sea life (photo by CMA and the Davies Family).

  • In lieu of  of birthday presents, five year old Lucian Davies had birthday and New Year’s Day party guests donate specific items that would be useful to care for sick, injured, and orphaned dolphins, sea turtles and otters who come to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium for rehabilitation purposes. The youngest has managed to collect 1,683 items including towels, zip-lock bags, dish-washing liquids, and sponges. They were delivered to Danielle O’Neil, director of the marine turtles programs at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium last week. Great job Lucian and keep up the great work! :-).

A bird's eye view of what Winter the dolphin's new home would look like once it's complete (photo by CMA).

  • Clearwater Marine Aquarium has so far raised $3 million for their expansion project that would include a new home for Winter and her dolphin family. However, while construction has already started on the new facility, they still need to raise nine more million dollars in order to reach their $12 million goal. To learn more about how you can donate to the project, visit http://seewinter.com/get-involved/support-the-mission/ride-the-wave-capital-campaign and your donations will help both the animals at the aquarium and the project.

I hope you all have a great evening everyone and take care.

~Jenna~

 

Update on Hope (A.K.A., Winter’s Sister)


Hope in her new home at (Drums rolling).................The Winter Zone.

I am very happy to report that on January 4th (the day I visited Clearwater Marine Aquarium since the end of my first internship), Hope, a 14-month old bottlenose dolphin calf has been moved from the Dolphin Deck, to the Winter Zone. This move is just a major milestone for this dolphin because the plan is to introduce her to both Winter and Panama in the near future. However, Hope will likely be first paired with Panama who would serve as an adoptive mother to her like she has to Winter. If this goes well, then they will try to pair her with Winter who would serve as her adoptive sister (Winter tried to interact with Hope behind the gate walls just moments before her training session which left Winter swimming back to one of main gates). Just to keep you more updated, Hope has been weaned from her bottle and continues to learn new behaviors on a daily basis.

 

Merry Christmas Everyone


Even Winter says Merry Christmas too (photo of Winter was taken by a CMA photographer and the card was made on pizap.com)

Merry Christmas Everyone and may you all have a Happy New Year too. I hope you all got the chance to see Winter and her friends at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium this year and may you all get that same chance next year too.
~Jenna~

Update on CMA (A Report from my friends back in Clearwater)


If you plan to visit Clearwater Marine Aquarium, this little trailer is where you will have to get your tickets from. (photo by a Clearwater Marine Aquarium staff)

Here is a new update on CMA and how you will be expecting changes that will be going on there pretty soon. Yes, the aquarium is getting perpared. Here is what they have to say:

Keep your eyes open for a lot of upcoming changes…things are about to get crazy! Yet this is an extremely exciting time for us and we so honored to be able to spread the word and educate the world on our mission of rescuing, rehabbing and releasing marine life.

We have been making plans to expand our square footage to improve the guest experience. Also, with the West Side construction starting soon we needed to add portable restrooms as our old restrooms are being bulldozed very soonAdding tents on the North side of the building covered both issues. We are now operational with our new ticket trailers. These will relieve the bottleneck indoors where ticket sales and retail sales had shared the same area. Once our guest purchases a ticket they will walk into the fenced area where a Guest Service Specialist will greet the guest and verify they have purchased a ticket.Once inside the fence the guests are now free to roam the entire guest side of the building and come and go from the building to the fenced area to utilize the restrooms and the activities that the Hospitality team will provide under the tents.

We have designated new handicapped parking spaces beside the ticket trailers to ensure a positive guest experience for our disabled guests. We have reclassified the restroom by surgery as our ADA restroom as the restrooms outside are not designed for ADA.”

——Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s blog at blog.seewinter.com

Keep in mind that this is not the only current change that is going on right now, the aquarium has also reported that they completed renovation on the sea turtle ICU which re-opened last Monday. This area now has air conditioning, which will keep the turtles cool on the hottest of days, a new drop ceiling with improved lighting, a new glass door, which will allow guests to view the area and two cameras which will serve as “live feeds” for guests to watch the turtles in quarantine pools without having to go into the area. Meanwhile, CMA has recently been only opening up to the public at 1:00 PM due to media interest in the upcoming movie “Dolphin Tale”.

These are all the latest updates on Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Hope you get the chance to visit. Oh, Safe trip and great experience to everyone attending the 2011 IMATA (International Marine Animal Trainer’s Association) conference in Miami, FL this week. I hope you guys have a great experience.

~Jenna~

The Winter Dolphin Chronicles (WDC) is Now on Facebook


You can now like "The Winter Dolphin Chronicles on facebook.

Here is some good news to all of you WDC fans out there. The Winter Dolphin Chronicles is now of facebook. The facebook page has links to blog archives, links on various marine life and CMA-related articles, photos from CMA, and of course, updates on the site itself. So come visit WDC at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Winter-Dolphin-Chronicles-A-Blog-By-An-Aquarium-Intern/198874656839412 and hope to see you there.

~Jenna~