NC Aquarium Visits Oak Island

 

Learning and Exploring for All Ages

STORY BY: DEAN BLAINE

 

On a recent Tuesday, Andy Gould, the Outreach Coordinator for the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, introduced an assortment of turtles from the aquarium to a group at the Oak Island Recreation Center. Andy discussed land, freshwater, and sea turtles to a fascinated audience. He also discussed turtle behavior, feeding habits, anatomy, and ways to protect the turtles in our environment.

The program, entitled The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher comes to Oak Island, was part of a series of events sponsored by the Oak Island Beach Preservation Society and the Oak Island Department of Recreation. Forthcoming programs include Our One Ocean, at the Oak Island Recreation Center on July 12 at 2:00pm, and Jammin’ Jellies, also at the Center on August 9 at 2:00pm.

Our One Ocean will discuss several different ways that the ocean affects our environment. The program explores how ocean currents, cultures and creatures connect every continent together. People all over the world are connected to the same ocean, Gould said, and we should take responsibility for our piece of the ocean. Gould will also introduce animals from the aquarium.

Jammin’ Jellies will explore one of the most numerous animals in the ocean. Gould will discuss which jellyfish are native to North Carolina and the important role that they play in our ocean. Expect interactive activities and props, and live jellyfish.

These programs are open to the public and great for all ages, said Rebecca Squires, Director of Oak Island Parks and Recreation, they’re for kids, families and adults too. Participants find these events very informative. “Everything they talk about surrounds us,” Squires added, “it’s our ecosystem, it’s our future.” The programs are also very hands-on. Everyone gets a chance to see the animals up close. “We hope that people will learn al little bit about aquatic wildlife that we have in our region,” Gould said. “It may be important for people who live around here to know who their neighbors are. If they are visiting, it may be animals that they’re not as familiar with, animals they may see during their stay.” These programs get packed, Gould added, come early if you want a good seat.

Gould will also present Aquarium Olympics at Harper Library in Southport on July 11 at 11:00am, and the same program at Barbee Library on Oak Island on July 13 at 11:00am. This program is appropriate for kids age pre-K to teenagers. The event includes the reading of a story about the largest animal in the ocean. Then kids participate in Olympic events where they compare their abilities to those of animals in the wild. They complete a long jump, for instance, to determine who can jump the farthest, kids or frogs. Gould will have live animals on hand. Kids are encouraged to get there early.

The Oak Island Department of Parks and Recreation also has a number of other events taking place this summer:

Alligator Walk and Talk takes place at the Recreation Center on June 23 at 10:00am. Participate in an alligator habitat seminar and then visit a live gator area with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.

Bees on Oak Island takes place at the Oak Island Nature Center on 52nd Street, June 27 and July 11 at 10:00am. Participants will join in a discussion about bees and view a live bee observatory.

Up Close with Coastal Water Birds will be held at the Oak Island Nature Center on June 29 at 11:00am. Join the Oak Island Sea Biscuit Wildlife Shelter to meet native coastal birds including Tim the Pelican, Shadow the Barred Owl and Scarlet the Red Tailed Hawk.

Salt Marsh Interpretive Kayak Tour takes place at the Oak Island Nature Center on July 14 at 9:00am. Join the NC Wildlife Resources Commission to explore coastal marsh and wildlife on a light kayak paddle through the intra-coastal waterway. Single and tandem kayaks are available.

Ocean Casting Seminar and Tour will be held at the Oak Island Recreation Center on July 20 at 9:00am. Learn ocean casting technique and what fish to catch with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.

Caring for Aquatics Through Con- servation Habits (CATCH) Workshop takes place at the Oak Island Recreation Center on July 25 and 26, at 5:00pm. For kids ages 8 to 15. Use the CATCH curriculum guide with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission to explore ways to teach about aquatic environments through fish biology, outdoor ethics, water safety and fishing skills. Participants must attend both three-hour evening classes to receive credit for the workshop.

Bat Fans of Oak Island is held at the Oak Island Recreation Center on July 28 at 7:00pm. Learn about bat behavior, build your own bat box and see live bats with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.

Tracking Your Living Island takes place at the Oak Island Nature Center on August 4 at 9:00am. Explore Oak Island searching for tracks left behind by wildlife with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.

Coastal Reptiles and Amphibians will be held at the Oak Island Nature Center on August 18 at 9:00am. Get up close and personal with native reptiles and amphibians with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.

Oak Island Tree Life takes place at the Oak Island Nature Center on September 1 at 11:00am. Join the NC Wildlife Resources Commission to learn about trees native to Oak Island.

For more information on any of these programs, call the Oak Island Parks and Recreation Department at (910) 278-5518.

 

 

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