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. 

BEHIND THE SCENES AQUARIST APPRENTICE 
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. 

 BEHIND THE SCENES TOUR 
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. 

EXTENDED BEHIND THE SCENES 
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. 

FOR CHILDREN/PARENTS CHILDREN’S DISCOVERY TIME 
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. 

FINS AND FAMILY TOUR 
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. 

OUTDOORS & EXPLORATION CANOEING THE SALT MARSH 
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. 

SALT MARSH AND CRABBING 
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. 

SURF FISHING WORKSHOP 
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
 

NCCF offers lots of fun ways you can make a difference

7/1/2014 3:00:00 PM

NCCF offers lots of fun ways you can make a difference

The NC Coastal Federation relies on volunteers to protect and restore our coast. Thousands of people have helped to restore coastal habitat, push for stronger environmental rules and promote stewardship of our coastal resources. As environmental pressures increase, so does the need for protection of coastal resources and thus the need for continued volunteer support.

As a volunteer for the Coastal Federation, you will have the opportunity to meet new people, learn new skills and contribute to the community. Working with others to help protect the coast is an incredibly rewarding experience.

You can bag oysters for restoration projects, pass out brochures and sign up volunteers at a local festival event, or join others in planting a rain garden to protect the wetlands.  Fun, camaraderie and meaningful work for an important local organization.


Membership info

Upcoming activities and events

 

Sea glass designs are featured this month at Cape Fear Native

6/27/2014 12:32:00 PM

Sue Mixion of Hampstead makes unique jewelry from sea glass she finds on the beach. "After moving to the Topsail Beach area," Sue says, "walking and collecting sea glass became my passion. I wanted to share its beauty and began making jewelry for my family and friends. I wire wrap local sea glass and hand form each piece into lovely bracelets, pendants, and earrings. I was encouraged to consign in a local store and it just grew from there. 

 "I now do area festivals and markets. I also have consignments in three stores - Carolina Décor and Mermaids Purse in Surf City and here at Cape Fear Native." 

See more of Sue's designs 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.


 

Jared Tramaglini is featured at Cape Fear Native

5/28/2014 12:48:00 PM

Featured at Cape Fear Native this month is the colorful, nature-inspired works of Jared Tramaglini.   Tramaglini is a self-taught artist who tries to capture the simplistic beauty of nature. Heavily influenced by time spent sailing the Caribbean and exploring the Colorado Rockies, Jared’s work lifts the spirit, exuberant in nature’s beauty.   See some of his work here.

"I want my work to encourage people to keep their heads up while they walk down the street and appreciate the colors, animals and plants that surround us on a daily basis," Tramaglini explains. "The outdoors has, and continues to play a crucial role in my mental and spiritual well-being. I just want to pass that positive light on any way I can. I find it an achievement if, after viewing my work, people take on a different perspective about the community they live in.

“Wilmington is a beautiful and diverse pocket in the world to live, but only if we embrace it and keep a positive outlook.”

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!
 

Survey to identify NC recreation needs

5/9/2014 2:40:00 PM


The N. C. Division of Parks and Recreation invites you to participate in a statewide survey designed to assess the state’s outdoor recreation preferences and needs for the next 5 years. The results of the survey will help federal, state and local agencies to provide outdoor recreation opportunities as well as protect and restore natural resources.

The short survey is available online through May 31 at the division’s website.

Just look for this tag-




Please share this information with others who may be interested in participating in this important survey!
 

Eagle lands at the Aquarium

5/2/2014 7:00:00 PM

Perched on a log, sporting a set of powerful talons and a steely gaze, a new resident of the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher strikes the impressive pose of a survivor. A roadside rescue and the Aquarium’s desire to share a powerful, conservation story provided the bald eagle a second chance. 

In 2013, a juvenile bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) was found in western Wisconsin with an injured wing, unable to fly. Veterinarians determined the damaged wing was previously broken and healed poorly in the wild. Though efforts were made, the wing could not be repaired. A permanent home was needed. The eagle would not survive in the wild. Around the same time, the Aquarium decided to make changes to its fresh water conservatory. 
“Moving Luna, the albino alligator, to live with her natural colored cousins in a larger habitat created an opportunity. Our staff researched, planned and invested in the idea of sharing the important conservation story of eagles and introducing our guests to these majestic animals,” said Aquarium Director Peggy Sloan. However, finding the right match for both raptor and the Aquarium took time. Strict federal regulations and permitting requirements surround the protected species and took many months to secure. 

Finally, in February, the juvenile bald eagle traveled from Wisconsin to his new home in North Carolina. Upon arrival, staff gradually introduced the bird, who does not yet have a name, to his new surroundings. They carefully monitored the animal’s diet, behavior and health. They put finishing touches on his specially-designed habitat complete with perches of varied heights, soft moss and a water feature. 

“The introduction of the eagle to the public is based on his adaptation to his surroundings,” said Aquarium Curator Hap Fatzinger. “His long-term health and well-being are our primary concern.” 

 Guests may now meet the Aquarium’s newest animal ambassador in the fresh water conservatory. Some guests are surprised by the bird’s appearance. It will take several years for the young animal to grow the characteristic white head feathers and yellow beak of mature bald eagles. For now, he sports a mottled array of white and brown feathers. 

 Hunting, habitat loss and the once widely-used pesticide DDT depleted the bald eagle population to near extinction in the mid-20th century. Populations have since recovered, supported by the Environmental Protection Agency ban of DDT in the 1970s and large-scale protection of nesting places. Eagles were removed from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in 2007, a conservation success seen in few animal species.