Awesome location mixed with co-workers who also share a love for animals and the environment made for an unbelievable summer experience
Summer Internship Program, Seward, AK - June 21, 2014
I worked with the Alaska SeaLife Center from mid May, 2012 to early August, 2012 as the Aquarium Intern. Interns learn “on the fly” about the variety of tasks involved in sustaining a large aquarium operation. Alaska SeaLife Center is a research facility, with educational and marine life rescue missions wrapped in, as well. As an intern I had numerous opportunities to interact with scientists, veterinarians and educators beyond their normal technical workmates. The SeaLife Center has a small staff for the amount of responsibility and number of North Pacific animals they care for. I engaged with the schedule and flow of daily animal care, learning from and assisting the aquarists in health and system checks, prepping and feeding specific diets, monitoring water quality and fish health, and performing in tasks necessary for clean and clear water and display qualities. I also was a valued member of the team that presented Octopus Encounter to guests who selected this program for enhanced information and physical contact with an enigmatic and largely unfamiliar sea creature. I learned this program and quickly became proficient in solo presentation, gaining praise from several of the participants who commented to the center. I shared some insights and tips on presentation software and development of media-assisted information which we incorporated into later iteration of the program format. The head aquarist, also my manager, brought me into the marine invasive species monitoring activities in the local harbor area. As a team, we set out European green crab traps and tunicate settling plates and periodically monitored them for species-of-interest recruitment. This is an effort that more historically would be undertaken by environmental or natural resource agencies but has lately been adopted by citizen science promoters in local communities. It is a great example of how normal citizens can become involved in understanding and hopefully protecting their local environments. I took a strong interest in all the center had to offer me. I remember during the hectic 4th of July week I spent some time with a long-standing donor and supporter of Alaska SeaLife Center, giving her a personal tour viewing some special fish hatching which we were rearing at the time. In 2012, I was exploring merging science, recreation, business and education into something unique. A summer spent in Alaska with the members of the Alaska SeaLife Center team gave me some points of reference in that regard.