Local photographer Richard Pape is featured at Cape Fear Native

10/24/2014 2:12:00 PM

      Featured this month at Cape Fear Native are the wonderful nature photographs of Richard Pape. 

      Pape describes what he enjoys about his photography. "Recently I was asked what my philosophy was in taking photographs and was surprised that I couldn’t come up with an answer. I gravitate to nature but also like architecture and people. I look for striking light, patterns, colors and abstract images but also am moved by the dynamics and directness of a black and white image. My goal is to try to make photographs that move me and hopefully move the viewer. 
      "I first studied photography under Aaron Siskind at the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology where I received a Masters Degree in Visual Design. My studies there were a nice complement to my fine arts background where I concentrated on illustration and painting. Most of my professional life was spent designing and illustrating children’s books, animated films, and interactive software, as well as working on my personal photography. As Art Director for a major children’s book publisher and Creative Director for their multi-media company, I helped develop their award-winning product. 

     "Today I’m living in Wilmington and concentrating on my photography." 

      Cape Fear Native features the works of local artists and craftspeople inspired by nature. Here you'll find original paintings on canvas and reclaimed river wood, handmade jewelry, local photography, sail bags, handmade wood products, tiles, note cards, historic maps, books and our exclusive Wilmington city map tees/totes/prints. Come in and support your local creative community - they have much to offer us!

Volunteer with the NC Coastal Federation

10/10/2014 2:24:00 PM

The N.C. Coastal Federation has some great volunteer events that will allow us to enjoy these cooler temperatures. In October and November, there will be three opportunities to come out and help the federation finish the last of the renovations to the new Fred and Alice Stanback Education Center in Wrightville Beach. 

Help Paint the Trellis & Latticework 
When: October 17 & 24, November 7, 2014 from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm 
Where: Fred & Alice Stanback Coastal Education Center, Wrightsville Beach 

Thanks to our great volunteers and members, we are just about finished with the transformation of the 1948 historic Pamlgren-O’Quinn cottage into the Fred and Alice Stanback Coastal Education Center. The last step in the renovation process is to paint the trellis of the lowest level of the house to protect it from the coastal elements and preserve its integrity for years to come. Join us and be a part of the last step of a project that has been years in the making! You can join us for an hour or for the whole day. All the supplies, refreshments and a light lunch will be provided. 

Join us and bring your friends!  Click on the links below to get more information and register for the volunteer event of your choice. Please feel free to contact Ben Brink at (910) 509-2838 or benb@nccoast.org with questions. 


Share your opinion and help protect NC birds

10/4/2014 3:16:00 PM

Research is important in conservation. It takes measurement and evaluation to make sure we are on track and helps identify challenges, right? Now, we need YOU to help us with some research. By completing this survey you'll be helping Audubon North Carolina learn more about our flock - all of our supporters and donors. 

This quick survey will take less than 10-minutes to complete and then you can enter to win a $100 REI gift card.


Loggerheads must be protected

10/4/2014 12:15:00 PM

Loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) live in temperate and tropical waters around the world. Unlike other turtles, sea turtles cannot withdraw into their shells for protection. Instead, thick, scaly skin on their head and neck ward off predators.

Beachfront development, human encroachment and nesting predation threaten this and many other species of sea turtles. Loggerheads are listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Because of their protected status, it is illegal to disturb a nesting female loggerhead turtle or to remove her eggs from the nest.

Loggerheads nest on area beaches including Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area from May to late October. Three juvenile loggerheads live at the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher and swim daily in the Turtle Talk exhibit.

Featured artist is Ryan Stokes

9/27/2014 11:55:00 AM

Featured this month at Cape Fear Native are the strikingly beautiful paintings of Ryan Stokes. Stokes paints on reclaimed and river wood from the Cape Fear.

A native North Carolinian, Stokes holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Appalachian State. He has worked in graphic arts locally for ten years, starting Ryan Stokes Art as a way to showcase his unique approach. "I have experimented with many different mediums from painting, wood building, stone sculpture and photography," he shares. "Much of my art is a reflection of what is going on in my life. Common themes that run throughout are internal struggle, desire, transformation and exhilaration."

"I draw inspriation from the natural beauty of this great state," Stokes continues. "My most recent works are created on reclaimed wood from the Wilmington area. I came up with a unique process of using a combination of different paints and stains to create abstract images. This creates a rich surface texture and makes the images pop off the wood, creating depth. Specific areas are left bare to let the natural beauty of the wood shine through."
Cape Fear Native features the work of local artists and craftspeople inspired by nature, including original art, photography, jewelry, candles and pottery.  Come by and find a unique gift for someone special, or beautiful art for your own walls.


The Aquarium offers lots of programs in September

8/26/2014 3:33:00 PM

These are the wonderful programs available in September at the Fort Fisher Aquarium. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO REGISTER FOR A PROGRAM, please call (910) 458.7468 or visit ncaquariums.com/fort-fisher. For all programs, ages 14 and younger must be accompanied by an adult, except for camps. ALL programs require preregistration and fees. 

Saturdays, September 6, 13, 20, 27 at 2 p.m. 
Check out a dirty job you’re sure to love. Join staff on a behind-the-scenes tour and learn about Aquarium animals, what they eat, how they live and how to care for them. Then assist aquarists with food preparation and help feed the animals. Participants also observe aquarists during daily care and maintenance tasks. This limited opportunity is only open to 10 participants. Participants should wear closed-toe shoes and be prepared to smell fishy. For ages 10 and older. Ages 14 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Fee: $28 for ages 13 and older, $26 for ages 10-12. Aquarium admission included. PREREGISTRATION REQUIRED. 

Saturdays, September 6, 13, 20 at 11:15 a.m. Sundays, September 7, 14, 28 at 11:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. Sunday, September 21 at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. 
Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at an aquarium? Space for animal holding, husbandry, life support systems and access to exhibits is hidden behind the Aquarium walls. If you have ever cared for a home aquarium, you may have some idea of what it takes to operate a collection of salt and freshwater exhibits, with hundreds of animals. Accompany Aquarium staff on a guided tour of animal quarantine, life support, food preparation and access areas. Participants should wear closed-toe shoes. For ages 8 and older. Ages 14 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Fee: $18 for ages 13 and older, $16 for ages 8-12. Aquarium admission included. PREREGISTRATION REQUIRED. 

Monday, September 1 at 2 p.m. Wednesdays, September 3, 10, 17, 24 at 2 p.m. Fridays, September 12, 26 at 2 p.m. 
It’s feeding time, and you’re invited to watch. Visit the top of our largest exhibit, the Cape Fear Shoals, during an expanded tour behind the scenes. Get a birds-eye view of this 235,000 gallon tank as sharks, stingrays, moray eels and other fish swim below! Aquarists feed the animals during the tour, offering a unique opportunity for close-up viewing. Participants should wear closed-toe shoes. For ages 8 and older. Ages 14 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Fee: $23 for ages 13 and older, $21 for ages 8-12. Aquarium admission included. PREREGISTRATION REQUIRED. 

Friday, September 5 at 11 a.m. – Backyard Buddies 
Thursday, September 11 at 2 p.m. – Back to Schooling Fish Friday 
September 19 at 11 a.m. – Freshwater Friends 
Thursday, September 25 at 2 p.m. - Hermit Crab’s Companions 
Creatures come alive in this story-telling and critter-creating program. For ages 3-5. Fee: $14 per child. Aquarium admission included. Parents pay admission only. PREREGISTRATION REQUIRED. 

Tuesdays, September 2, 16, 30 at 10 a.m. Thursdays, September 4, 18 at 2 p.m. Tuesdays, September 9, 23 at 2 p.m. Thursdays, September 11, 25 at 10 a.m. 
A short and sweet tour behind the scenes for the young and curious. This 30-minute exploration packs in gallons of hidden fun and learning specifically for families with children 3 to 7 years old. Staff shares fin-tastic animal facts and assists in creating a fishy craft to take home. Then follow the hidden passages to the top of the Aquarium’s largest habitat for views of sharks, rays, a green sea turtle and much more. Participants should wear closed-toe shoes. For ages 3 and older. Fee: $16 for ages 13 and older, $14 for ages 3-12. Aquarium admission included. PREREGISTRATION REQUIRED. 

Saturdays, September 6, 13, 20, 27 at 9 a.m. 
A three-hour exploration of the Zeke’s Island Estuarine Research Reserve by canoe. Activities may include crabbing, seining, or birding. Participants should be able to swim and be capable of sustained physical exertion. For ages 8 and older. Ages 8-12 must be accompanied by two adults. Participants should wear closed-toe shoes. Fee: $25 per participant. Admission to Aquarium is not included. PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED. 

Saturday, September 27 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. 
 Join us for this hands-on program that introduces participants to the challenge of catching blue crabs. Lessons in crab biology and crabbing equipment prepare participants for an exciting expedition outdoors to catch (and release) crabs. All bait and equipment is provided. For ages 7 and older. Fee: $19 for ages 13 and older, $17 for ages 7-12. Aquarium admission included. PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED. 

Saturdays, September 6, 13, 20, 27 at 9 a.m. Saturday, September 27 at 1 p.m. 
This 3-hour workshop includes one hour of classroom discussion, then surf fishing on the beach nearby. All equipment and bait provided. Program is rain or shine, with extra activities added in event of bad weather (e.g., throwing a cast net). Ages 10 and older. Fee: $15 per participant. Aquarium admission is not included. PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED.

Lori Peterson is featured at Cape Fear Native

8/22/2014 1:23:00 PM

Featured this month at Cape Fear Native is colorful, inventive artist Lori Peterson. Peterson describes her approach to art as not only an emotional outlet, but also one of tactile expression. 

"I use my art to express my feelings, emotions and my love of people and nature. Art to me is like poetry. I deem it a privilege to use paint, pastels, or charcoal to translate my ideas on paper. This year, I have been getting outside more and painting from life. Wilmington has such much natural beauty and I have been diving in, capturing scenes. 

"There is nothing like painting in the open air, battling the elements and seeing the results. I love keeping my style loose, so I can have fun painting and get messy while painting. I let loose with the paint and see where it leads me. 

 "I truly believe there is beauty in most everything and my goal is to capture it."

See more of Peterson's work here.

Cape Fear Native features the works of local artists and craftspeople inspired by nature. Here you'll find original paintings on canvas and reclaimed river wood, handmade jewelry, local photography, sail bags, handmade wood products, tiles, note cards, historic maps, books and our exclusive Wilmington city map tees/totes/prints. Come in and support your local creative community - they have much to offer us!


Jenny McKinnon Wright is featured at Cape Fear Native

7/26/2014 11:30:00 AM

Featured this month at Cape Fear Native is the colorful original art of Jenny McKinnon Wright.  Her original oils and giclees capture the warmth and essence of our beautiful coastal environment. 

 Wright is an award-winning artist who believes that working in plein air allows her to "capture the emotion that only painting in that location can offer." Her sense of color shines through with each piece, and though she is personally enlivened by the locations she paints, those places can become the viewer's own experience as well. 

Describing her approach, Wright is influenced by the light at the scene. "Something captures my eye — the light, the lines, the colors that I actually see. If the light on an old building is glowing in the late afternoon, I might underpaint the scene in a warm red. Later, that underpainting will shine through and give the painting the glow that captured me earlier." 

A plein air painter who works primarily in oil, Jenny McKinnon Wright's formal art training began at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, and continued with graduate work in Atlanta at Georgia State University. She has taught art in the North Carolina and Georgia school systems and instructs private students. Inspired as a student by the Impressionists, Wright continues to study with recognized plein air painters.

Cape Fear Native features the works of local artists and craftspeople inspired by nature. Here you'll find original paintings on canvas and reclaimed river wood, handmade jewelry, local photography, sail bags, handmade wood products, tiles, note cards, historic maps, books and our exclusive Wilmington city map tees/totes/prints.

Come in and support your local creative community - they have much to offer us!


The eagle is named Maverick

7/1/2014 3:48:00 PM

What’s as American as apple pie, fireworks and the stars and stripes? Maverick the bald eagle, now residing at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. 

In June, Aquarium guests and social media friends voted, democratically of course, to pick a name for their newest family member. Votes were cast for one of three names previously selected by Aquarium staff: Aquila (a constellation and eagle in Latin), Fisher and Maverick. A total of 1,067 votes were collected and more than $229 were raised for Aquarium conservation efforts. 

“Eagles offer a powerful conservation story,” said Aquarium Director Peggy Sloan. “We are honored to care for this beautiful animal and thrilled so many of our friends voted in the naming of this special ambassador.” 

Visitors have an opportunity to meet Maverick seven days a week, 363 days a year. Aquarium staff anticipates he will make an impression on guests and help them better understand the species’ survival story. Eagles were once nearly extinct in the United States but were saved by decades of conservation efforts. The young eagle survived a roadside accident in Wisconsin. He arrived at the Aquarium early in 2014. The bird's left wing was damaged in the accident and left him unable to fly. He could not be returned to the wild with his disability. 

Permitting from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service allow the bird to remain in the care of the Aquarium. The young eagle sports dappled brown feathers and will likely mature into adult coloring of white head feathers and yellow beak within several years.

Moon jellies are food for many

7/1/2014 3:31:00 PM

Moon jellies are a delicious treat for tuna, shark, swordfish, spadefish, banner fish, ocean sunfish, blue rockfish, sea turtles and even other jellyfish. A species of Pacific salmon, a type of goby off the coast of Africa and mushroom coral in the Red Sea also find them irresistible. Sea slugs are also known to feed on young jellyfish polyps and can store the jellies’ stinging cells for their own use, and it’s thought that other marine animals graze on the young polyps.

In countries such as China and Japan, people consider jellyfish a culinary delicacy. Two marine animals in particular are reputed to be major jellyfish consumers – leatherback sea turtles and ocean sunfish. Leatherbacks can weigh 2,000 pounds and feed almost exclusively on jellies. Ocean sunfish can weigh in at nearly 5,000 pounds. Ridley and loggerhead sea turtles also eat the floating spheres, and some sea snails and crabs nibble on jellyfish tentacles. Sea birds will eat jellies by pecking at the inner tissue to avoid the tentacles. Jellies are 95 percent water, thus requiring predators to consume large quantities to glean much nutritional value.

One has to wonder how jellyfish predators avoid stings. One factor to consider is that although all jellyfish can sting, not all pack the same punch. Examples are the common moon jelly and cannonball jelly, whose stings aren’t strong enough to penetrate human skin. In addition, jellyfish predators often have thick skins, tough scales or mucus-covered bodies that prevent penetration. Still, how some tolerate the painful, toxic stings is not fully understood; however, it’s thought some predators build up immunity.

Jellyfish deliver stings via thousands of small, capsule-like structures called nematocysts that line their tentacles. Depending on the species, tentacles can range from a few feet to more than 100 feet in length. The nematocysts house barb-like, spring-loaded lances that fire when triggered by the slightest disturbance. Even after a jellyfish is beached, its nematocysts can still discharge.

Although most jellyfish exhibit a slight pulsing motion for a bit of locomotion, they rely primarily on waves, currents and, in some cases, winds for transportation. Surprisingly, a variety of sea animals live on or among jelly tentacles, notably certain types of crabs, shrimp and small fishes. Such an arrangement provides food, shelter and protection for the hitchhikers.

Jellies are found in all seas and oceans worldwide. There are also freshwater and deep sea varieties, and new species continue to be discovered. These graceful drifters often appear en masse in what are called “blooms” or swarms that can number as many as 100,000 individuals. Cutline: Jellyfish are a dining delight for leatherback sea turtles, which can weigh up to 2,000 pounds, and ocean sunfish that can weigh in at 5,000 pounds.

from "Ask the Aquarium," Photo by Charlotte Marsh, courtesy of N.C. Aquariums