Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hibernate for winter? We don't THINK so.

Just because we're closed for the winter season doesn't mean we've stopped!
We have a crew of 5 working over the winter thanks to a Job Creation Program grant from the Ministry of Housing and Social Services.

Kane, Kat, Dave, Danielle & Jack (Missing from photo is Ashlie) [UAS]

Let's hear about some of our exciting projects!

Refurbishing tanks
: Through volunteer efforts by UAS and generous donations from Living Elements Ltd., we have saved over 25 used aquarium tanks from the dump. They were obtained from aquariums and research facilities from as far south as Oregon and as far north as Resolute Bay in the Arctic. Their condition ranged from almost new and slightly scratched to VERY scratched with deep gouges. With the help of Mark Schnurr, an expert in plastic fabrication from Archer Plastics in Vancouver, we've been learning the correct way to remove dings and scratches from acrylic tanks to make them look like new.

Sand them down first

Buff them back to life [UAS]

The work is quite satisfying and takes very, VERY close attention to detail.

BUILDING BACKDROPS: We've been creating backdrops for the tanks in the aquarium that will spend months underwater in hopes that many wonderful clingy creatures will use them as a home. The backdrops are a lot easier to use than rocks from the ocean with existing life because the backdrops can be customarily shaped to fit in the tanks. They are also a lot lighter so will be safer when placing them into the restored tanks.

Using bricks & plastic mesh as a base, forms are covered in concrete & left to cure [UAS]

BUILDING INTERTIDAL GARDENS: We've been scouring the intertidal zone on the foreshore in front the the new aquarium site (to be built in 2011) and mapping out where to build our intertidal gardens! Using the natural bedrock as a frame, these new pools will be full of life and easily accessible to the public in a safe environment. We're excavating rocks by hand & shoveling the silt. There will also be a bed for surf grasses and plants against the existing concrete wall. True to our nature, all species of plants and animals will be native to the area. If you see us down on the shore in front of the Ucluelet Aquarium, be sure to say hi and see what we're building!

FIELD TRIP: . We’ve taken a field trip to visit local riversides and stream beds to learn about and identify native plants in our area. Similar species will be planted in our seagrass bed on the foreshore to offer a different type of habitat than the tidepools.

Investigating local grasses [A.Z.]

Taking field notes [A.Z.]

It's still a flurry of activity down at our workshop at 1980 Harbour Crescent. It’s almost time to start collecting specimens for opening day of March 6th 2010. You’ll see us out collecting substrate for the tanks soon! Tank sponsorships are still available for the 2010 season. Contact our curator, Dave Hurwitz at 250-522-2782 for more information.

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