Posts Tagged 'DC aquarium'

National Zookeeper Appreciation Week: Nick Little

We’re joining zoos and aquariums from across the county in the celebration of National Zookeeper Appreciation Week

Our team of National Aquarium animal experts, including aquarists, herpetologists, aviculturists, curators, veterinarians and marine mammal trainers, have dedicated themselves to providing our  living collection of more than 17,500 animals the highest possible quality of care.

In addition to providing care and enrichment for the animals, our staff members are consistently involved in research projects as well as conservation and outreach work. We are incredibly proud of the collective impact they’ve made on the lives of our guests and our local community!

This week, we’ll be introducing you to just a few of our amazing animal care staff members! They’ll be sharing favorite aquarium memories, how they got started in their respective fields and more!

July 23, 2013: Meet one of our Aquarists, Nick Little!

nick little

How long have you been at the Aquarium?

I’ve been working at National Aquarium, Washington, DC for 4.5 years in the native, freshwater gallery!

What interested you to pursue your current career path?

Like many others in the industry, I have been surrounded by animals my entire life. My father and I kept and maintained a collection of 40 habitats, which housed various species including: African, South, and Central American cichlids, tetras, soft and hard corals, reptiles, and amphibians. Over the years, we were quite successful at breeding and rearing many species. My fate with animals was sealed long before I ever thought about having to find a job. My desire to learn about these animals, their natural environments, natural history, and preservation/conservation could not be quenched. My fathers’ shared interest in the hobby was certainly the catalyst that began my fascination.

Can you briefly describe for us what your typical day looks like?

I am responsible for the care, maintenance, and well-being of nearly 30 freshwater systems. My fish naturally occur in heavily planted cypress swamps, streams, ponds, lakes and rivers. Knowing the requirements of each species can be challenging, especially when trying to create micro-habitats within a confined space. Most fish are fed on a daily basis and are monitored for any signs of  injury or ailment. From time to time, I am lucky enough to see fish spawning and will attempt to rear the young.

Favorite Aquarium memory?

Working with native fish affords me the luxury to travel across the eastern U.S. in search of the fish used to stock my exhibits. Going on 2,000—3,000 mile road trips with coworkers certainly has its share of memories and laughs for that matter. I spent a long week in the Bahamas, capturing lionfish (photo above) for a Fresh Thoughts dinner back in 2011. That was an incredible experience!

Next big project you’re working on?

Helping to transition the animals in our DC location to their new homes.

Favorite animal?

There have been plenty of great animals that have been in my care since I started back in early 2009. But by far, my favorite group of fish are darters. More specifically, the Redline darter (which I even have a tattoo of!). These mountainous, stream inhabitants brave the currents to feed on benthic invertebrates. They forage throughout the day, ‘darting’ from rock to rock—which is how they get their name. Aside from their outgoing personalities, male darters are among some of the most stunning and colorful fish in the U.S … if not the world, in my opinion!

Stay tuned to the blog this week to meet more of our amazing staff!

Amazing Experiences Sweepstakes: Congratulations to our Third Winner!

loggerhead turtle

After weeks of excitement and thousands of entries, we’re happy to announce the winners of our Amazing Experiences Sweepstakes!

All week we’re announcing the winners of each of our amazing prizes right here on our WATERblog, on our Facebook page and through our email, Aquamail.

Today’s winner is Darren B. from Williamsburg, Virginia! CONGRATULATIONS Darren! You have won the chance to name our baby loggerhead sea turtle along with a behind-the-scenes meet and greet! This baby loggerhead sea turtle is part of National Aquarium, Washington, DC’s Loggerhead Head Start Program! Through this program, sea turtle hatchlings spend time in aquariums where they can safely grow before being released back to the ocean. As the winner of this amazing experience, Darren will give our newest turtle, which arrived this month, a head start towards success with a name to carry him (or her) into the future! Darren and up to three guests will get to have a private meet and greet with the turtle and, once on display, the turtle tank will feature a sign with the turtle’s name and the winner’s name!

loggerhead hatchling

Our new loggerhead hatching arrived earlier this month and is waiting for a name!

Congratulations again, Darren, we’re incredibly thankful for your support!

Didn’t win today? No worries! There are still two AMAZING prizes to win…

sweepstakes

December 20: Go to the Extremes in Australia - On this personal guided tour with the Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes curator, the winner and three guests will get the full behind-the-scenes tour of this incredible exhibit, up close encounters with National Aquarium’s most popular animals, participate in feedings, and see areas of Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes not usually seen by guests.

December 21: Go Behind-the-Scenes with the Dolphins - To get any closer, you would actually have to be an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin! The lucky winner of this amazing experience will go on a private meet and greet with the Aquarium’s dolphins, tour the dolphin area, see how National Aquarium staff prepare their food, check out the dolphin’s extensive toy collection, and learn behind the scenes secrets from the trainers. The winner will get to work with the trainer during a training session, learn how to communicate with the dolphins, and participate in enrichment and play activities!

Still haven’t entered for your chance to win? Well, not to worry. We will still be accepting entries until midnight on December 20th.

ENTER NOW!

How To Enter:
Five Great Ways to be Automatically Entered to Win:

Stay tuned this week to see if YOU are selected as one of our lucky winners!!!

Amazing Experiences Sweepstakes – Be the FIRST to See Blacktip Reef and Meet the Animals!

Blacktip reef shark

One lucky winner of our Amazing Experiences Sweepstakes will get a behind-the-scenes, “hard hat” tour of our new Blacktip Reef exhibit BEFORE it opens to the public this summer!

ENTER OUR SWEEPSTAKES NOW!

Blacktip Reef will be a vibrant, action-packed exhibit, replicating an Indo-Pacific coral reef!

In preparation for this exciting new addition to our Baltimore venue, we have been caring for new blacktip reef sharks and wobbegong sharks, in addition to our beloved 400 lb. sea turtle Calypso and zebra sharks Zeke and Zoe! Our new exhibit will also be home to a multitude of tropical fish and rays.

Napoleon wrasse

This vibrant Napoleon wrasse is just one of the many new fish in Blacktip Reef!

As part of our sweepstakes, one lucky winner (and up to three friends) will receive a “hard hat” tour of the exhibit space, as well as a behind-the-scenes tour of our Animal Care Center to meet some of the new animals!

In addition, our winner will also get to see how our salt water is made and tested and visit our coral fabrication shop, where we are currently creating pieces for Blacktip Reef.

blacktip reef coral

Behind-the-scenes testing coral

There are five great ways to be entered to win! 

Click here to find out all the details about our Amazing Experiences Sweepstakes!

Stay tuned for more features on our once-in-a-lifetime sweepstakes prizes! Winners will be announced on our Facebook page starting December 17!

National Aquarium is About to Make Santa Very Jealous…

National Aquarium Holiday Sweepstakes

Once-in-a-lifetime contest kicks off an entire season of holiday special events

Ever dreamed of working alongside a dolphin trainer or going behind-the-scenes in National Aquarium’s rain forest? What about experiencing extreme adventures in Australia or having the opportunity to name the Aquarium’s baby loggerhead sea turtle? Better yet, what about getting up close and personal with the sharks of the Blacktip Reef exhibit, set to open in summer 2013? This holiday season, National Aquarium will give away these once-in-a-lifetime Amazing Experiences.

ENTER NOW!

How To Enter: 
Five Great Ways to be Automatically Entered to Win:

Five lucky winners will be selected to win one of these Amazing Experiences. One winner per day will be announced from December 17 – December 21 on www.facebook.com/NationalAquarium and through the Aquarium’s e-newsletter, Aquamail

The Prizes: 

  • Go Behind the Scenes with the Dolphins: To get any closer, you would actually have to be an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin! The lucky winner of this amazing experience will go on a private meet and greet with the Aquarium’s dolphins, tour the dolphin area, see how National Aquarium staff prepare their food, check out the dolphin’s extensive toy collection, and learn behind the scenes secrets from the trainers. The winner will get to work with the trainer during a training session, learn how to communicate with the dolphins, and participate in enrichment and play activities!
  • Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes – The Extreme Experience: On this personal guided tour with the Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes curator, the winner and three guests will get the full behind-the-scenes tour of this incredible exhibit, up close encounters with National Aquarium’s most popular animals, participate in feedings, and see areas of Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes not usually seen by guests.
  • Meet the Animals of Blacktip Reef:The winner and three guests will go on a “hard-hat tour” behind the scenes of the construction of Blacktip Reef, and be among the first to meet the Aquarium’s newest additions currently being cared for before the exhibit opens in summer 2013. This amazing experience includes a tour of the Aquarium’s off-site Animal Care Center, including a look at how the Aquarium’s salt water is made and tested and a visit to the exhibit fabrication shop, where coral for Blacktip Reef is currently being made.
  • Experience the Rain Forest like Never Before: There is only one rain forest in Maryland, and it is at National Aquarium, Baltimore. One lucky winner will help care for this unique habitat side-by-side with the Upland Tropical Rain Forest staff for a morning. The winner will go behind the scenes and learn what it takes to care for the diverse and extraordinary animals and plant, prepare food and feed the exhibit’s 15 species of birds, learn about and tend to a wide range of tropical plants, including a cacao tree – where chocolate comes from, meet and feed the golden lion tamarin monkeys, and help care for poison dart frogs.
  • Name National Aquarium’s Baby Loggerhead Sea Turtle: The baby loggerhead sea turtles that are a part of the National Aquarium, Washington, DC’s loggerhead sea turtle early rehabilitation program are adorable! Through this program, sea turtle hatchlings spend time in aquariums where they can safely grow before being released back to the ocean. The winner of this amazing experience will give the newest turtle, arriving in December 2012, a head start towards success with a name to carry him (or her) into the future! The winner and up to three guests will get to have a private meet and greet with the turtle, and once on display, the turtle tank will feature a sign with the turtle’s name and the winner’s name.

Now through December 20th, enter our Amazing Experiences Sweepstakes and have a chance to win one of five once-in-a-lifetime behind-the-scenes experiences at the National Aquarium!

ENTER TODAY!

And the fun doesn’t stop there!

This holiday season, National Aquarium has something for everyone! On December 7, National Aquarium will celebrate World Holiday Traditions as part of the Cultural Series sponsored by Macy’s, between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. (exploring until 9:30 p.m.). In conjunction with the Fridays After Five, guests can enjoy a low admission price of $12 along with Nutcracker Ballet vignettes performances, live holiday jazz and an exhibit of nativity scenes from around the world. Children can make holiday cards to send to service men and women and there will be an appearance by the Aquarium’s mascot, Puffin, the Polar Express train conductor, and the jolly bearded man in red himself, Santa Claus!

Then, on December 15 and 16, celebrate the holidays with an exciting weekend where guests can meet Diego from Nickelodeon Jr.’s—“Go Diego Go!” Watch Polar Express in the 4D movie theater and meet the conductor! More special activities included with admission.

All season long, enjoy “The Polar Express 4D Experience.” Featured in digital 3D and brought to life with 4D multi-sensory effects, this is an immersive experience for the whole family to enjoy. Guests can add on a 4D Immersion Film to their admission ticket for $5 a person.

And it wouldn’t be an Aquarium holiday without diving Santa! Come see St. Nick and his helpful reindeer and elves take a dive in the Atlantic Coral Reef exhibit throughout the month of December.

Amazing Experiences Sweepstakes Rules
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  Void where prohibited by law.  Open to legal US residents, except those residing in NY, RI, and FL who are 18 years of age or older. Sweepstakes begins 12:00 AM EST on 11/26/12 and ends 11:59 PM EST on 12/20/12.  To enter, visit www.aqua.org and make a qualifying purchase. To enter for free, send a 3×5 card with name, address, and email to National Aquarium, 501 East Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21202, Attn: Amazing Experiences Sweepstakes. Five (5) Grand Prize Experiences (GPEs) will be awarded according to prize schedule in official rules. All participants in GPEs must be at least 8 years old (and older for certain GPEs); all children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Winners are responsible for providing their own transportation to the National Aquarium, and for taxes, tips or other charges not specifically included in the GPE.  ARV of each GPE: $1,000; Total ARV of all GPEs: $5,000. Odds of winning are based on the number of eligible entries received.  For complete rules visit www.aqua.org/win.

From our family—scaly, finned, furry, and feathered—to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

We have tons to be thankful for this year…From safely making it through Hurricane Sandy, to the many dedicated staff and volunteers who care for our animals and guests every day, and the millions of visitors who make connections with the aquatic world each year.

We are incredibly grateful to our members and the many donors who have helped us continue to achieve our mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures, and the excitement coming in 2013 with the opening of Blacktip Reef. We thank everyone who has made a personal commitment to conserve and protect our blue planet, and for the essential and critical work being done by our conservation team and the volunteers that support them.

In the spirit of the holiday, we asked some of our staff in Washington, DC and Baltimore what they are giving thanks for this year: 

Liz on-set with one of our budding TV stars!

Liz Evans, Manager of  Animal Training

“I am thankful to be able to look out my office window and see waterfowl enjoying the floating wetlands. I am also thankful to be a new homeowner and looking forward to BayScaping my new yard with native plants!”

Brian Weiner, Email, Online Media & Web Development Specialist

“This year I am thankful for my health, wealth, friends, and family. I am also very thankful for my Grandmother’s homemade stuffing. It has changed my life.”

Emma held onto a baby gator during a taping with NBC Universal

Emma Connor, Marketing Manager for National Aquarium, Washington, DC

“I’m so thankful for the opportunity to learn about and interact with animals on a regular basis. I think it’s safe to say that not many marketing gigs have that added perk! While I really marketing all of the wonderful and unique species that live at our Washington, DC, venue, it can also be a welcome change to spend some quality time with a critter after talking budget and attendance all day!”

Beth Scnheble, Aquarist

“I am extremely thankful to work with such amazing and fascinating animals that inspire me not only to work harder to provide them the best care I can, but also spread the word to our guests about their conservation and how important it is to ensure we as a society are doing what we can to preserve these incredible creatures for generations to come.”

Andrew Pulver, Animal Care Center and Marine Operations Manager

“Healthy animals and fabulous co-workers!”

Deb hanging out with one of our golden lion tamarins.

Debra Dial, Senior Aviculturist

“I am thankful to enjoy warm, flower-blooming, shorts-wearing, rain forest weather year-round! I am also grateful for this year’s bird hatchings and the knowledge that we have gained from each.”

Scott Barr, Consignment Sales Coordinator

“This year, I am thankful for the National Aquarium’s conservation paid time off!  It’s great to be part of an organization leading the conservation charge by spreading the message and actually taking

Scott used his conservation day to help rehab at Indian Head!

action.  As a lifelong Maryland resident, I know the importance of the Chesapeake Bay and the need to improve its health.  It’s rewarding to work within an organization that does more than just talk about the problems; spending a day outside planting bay grasses or repairing sand dunes is just plain fun, and the value to the bay makes it a worthwhile endeavor – getting paid while doing it is a windfall!”

John Seyjaget, Curator of Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes

 “We are thankful for baby ackies, star finches and gouldian  finches hatched this year!!! And of course our knob tailed geckos!”

Jenny Hamilton, Chair of Internal Conservation Committee

“I am thankful for my husband, my family, and my friends more than anything; they are my true source of joy. I am thankful for my coworkers; they are really, really good big-hearted people who relentlessly try to inspire others to care about the greater good. I am thankful for cranberry bread and changing leaves and walks with my dog.

And, for this kid:

I’m thankful there are other recycling weirdos out there. Together, we will keep our world clean! Polluters Beware!

Again, from our family—scaly, finned, furry, and feathered—to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! 


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