Yesterday, I went on an all-day field trip with four other studios to the National Marine Life Center in Buzzards Bay. The studios that attended were the two Great Pacific Garbage Patch groups as well as the two Waste in Wildlife groups, as they all focus on the effects of waste in our oceans. The studios learned about the rehabilitation and release of cetaceans, pinnipeds, and sea turtles.
The executive director Kathy Zagzebski started with a presentation about seals, sea lions, whales, dolphins, and sea turtles. It focused on the different types of marine animals we see around Cape Cod and the reasons why they get stranded on land. Kathy said that the mission of the National Marine Life Center is to rescue and rehabilitate these animals while researching them and educating others about them.
Once the presentation was over, the four studios split up to cycle between four activities. The activities ranged from the causes of injured and stranded animals to the process of how they are rehabilitated. One activity was about oil spills and how they can affect marine life, while another focused on pollution and its potential to cause harm to marine life. A different activity had the students measure and name stuffed turtles and seals as if they were entering the NMLC for rehabilitation. My favorite activity, however, was the dolphin rescue simulation. The students watched Kathy demonstrate how to lift a dolphin so it could be carried to either a care center or the ocean. After a run-through with a stuffed animal, Kathy played the part of the dolphin and the students lifted her up with the mat as if they were rescuing her. It was an interesting and informative demonstration, and all of the studios enjoyed it.
This field trip was an informative and eye-opening experience, both for the studios and for me. Learning about waste and its powerful effect on marine life can be startling, but having the chance to see the direct impact on animals makes it that much more real. The National Marine Life Center gave insight to the rehabilitation process of marine animals, showing the studios how our waste can cause serious problems.