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Beluga Bliss!!

August 15, 2011

To steal Liz’s catchphrase from yesterday, I think we were all in “Beluga bliss” after our encounters at Mystic Aquarium. Luckily I had the foresight at orientation in June to sign up for the first morning session of the encounters; I think I would have burst with excitement otherwise. The night leading up to the encounter was a little bit like Christmas morning…I had a tough time getting to sleep, and then woke up raring and ready to go see what Santa had brought me; in this case, it was a sweet Beluga whale named Naku. After arriving at the aquarium, I had to force myself to focus on the seminar at hand and the topic du jour: climate change and how it negatively influences  Belugas, African penguins, Harp seals, and different species of frogs. Mary Ellen was a phenomenal educator and kept us all motivated and involved throughout the seminar. Climate change talks can be a bit of a downer, so I love getting new ideas for how to broach the topic with the public without using complete gloom and doom. Mary Ellen was extremely passionate about the cause and making people realize that climate change needs to be addressed in our lifetime, but she was equally as passionate about showing people how to make a difference. Even the smallest of children can have a positive impact and as an educator I know that if you can get the kids on your side, the parents will often follow suit! Following the seminar was the Beluga encounter. The pouring rain did nothing to dampen our group’s spirits as we piled into waders and made our way into the 50 degree water. Thirty bliss-filled minutes later, our encounter was over and our hearts were forever changed due to a sweet 1600 pound whale named Naku. I’m looking forward to the rest of the trip, and it’s nice to know that in the back of my mind whenever I talk about climate change, I’ll be thinking about Naku and whales just like her whose lives hang in the balance every day we make bad decisions about the environment. I guess you could say Naku and her friends have become mascots for me, and I a champion for their cause. ~Natalie

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