Thursday, August 28, 2008

Back to School

This time of year, a young person's thoughts naturally turn toward heading back to school. At DRC, all of our dolphins, including our youngsters, enjoy learning new behaviors and games all year long. Cayo, Ras, Jax, Gypsi and her mother, Tursi, wish you an interesting, successful year in your studies. Remember -- you're never too young, or too old, to have fun learning!

Friday, August 22, 2008

DRC Survived Tropical Storm Fay!

We're happy to report that everyone at DRC -- whether they live in water or on land -- survived Tropical Storm Fay.

Winds at DRC hit gusts of up to 70 MPH with rainfall that reached 7" with an expected 2" to 4" additional over the next day or so. We got lucky with Fay and the structural damage was minimal - this time. The damage to our facilities included many downed tree limbs and damage to plants and bushes. As the clean up efforts move forward more structural and ground damage may become apparent.

The bad news is that though our expenses continued, we lost all income for two days from admissions, gift shop sales, swims and other interactive programs. Our visitors' safety is of paramount importance to us. Therefore, when Monroe County called a mandatory visitor evacuation, DRC closed our doors. Past evacuations have always resulted in a loss from both those who left the Keys and from those who will now cancel their upcoming plans.

On behalf of everyone at DRC we would like to thank the caring individuals who know how this impacts us and have already contacted with concern and financial help to get us through this period.

If you'd like to assist, how about becoming a virtual visitor to DRC today? Just click here and enjoy a virtual visit along with the great feeling that you are helping to keep DRC going despite Tropical Storm Fay's attempt to keep us closed.

Regardless of losses the most important thing is everyone is safe! Thank you for your thoughts, your concerns and the financial help you've provided DRC. Once again, you have all shown that the DRC family is an extremely caring and thoughtful group of people!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Life's a Game & Everything's a Toy!

Gypsi (top) & Jax (bottom)
When you’re a young dolphin, just about anything in your lagoon gets treated like a toy. Different types of sea weed or sea grass, mangrove seed pods, small rocks – the natural lagoons provide a never ending supply of cool things with which to play. We often see one or two of the kids tossing these objects around and then swimming to get them before tossing them again. When staff members visit the docks for some casual playtime, Ras and Gypsi frequently instigate a game of seaweed toss. They arrive at the docks, carrying seaweed in their mouths and wait for the staff to remove it and then fling it out into the lagoon. The girls give chase and then pop back up at the dock for another go-round.

Recently, a coconut rolled into the front lagoon and shortly afterward drew the attention of the three youngsters living there -- Ras, Gypsi and Jax.

Although it sure was different than any of the balls they’ve played with before, the “kids” quickly got their game on. Gypsi swam around on her back, holding it in her pectoral flippers. Ras decided to jump over it a few times. Jax observed the antics, carefully inspecting the new object.

What fun to be a young dolphin!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

DRC Connections Around the World

One of the current Research interns recently applied for an intern position to assist with a humpback whale study in Australia. As it turns out, the person to whom she applied, and who eventually accepted her for the position, is a former DRC Research intern from 2004 who is a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland!

This reminded us that DRC might be located in the Florida Keys, but we have connections with people around the world. DolphinLab students continue to pursue their studies. Numerous interns who spent months at DRC gaining valuable knowledge and experience have gone on to work within the fields of marine mammal care, training and research. Many of our trainers explored new avenues in their careers by taking jobs at other facilities, or in related fields, around the country. We’re fortunate that many of them keep in touch so we know how they’re progressing with their individual careers.

Let’s not forget our family of members and donors who live in every state, and numerous foreign countries.

Then, of course, there are the daily visitors to Dolphin Research Center. On any given day, you can stroll the grounds and hear families excitedly greeting the dolphins in German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese, or other languages. Even the ones who speak English might sound a little different to the dolphins, with their British, Irish, Scottish, Welsh or Australian accents.

It’s like DRC is our own little United Nations – People from nations around the world united in their love of, and fascination with, dolphins!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

DRC Gets Corny!

DRC’s Gift Shop constantly looks for products that are good for the environment. We recently began carrying a line of goods that are made from corn! Corn is a terrific natural, biodegradeable, and renewable resource. This usage does not take a valuable product away from the country’s food supply. The type of corn used is field maize, and would not have been used for human consumption. Many farmers are adding this to the crops they grow in order to generate additional income.

The number of products made from corn plastic is amazing. Up above are pictures of a few that you’ll see in our Gift Shop, or online!

The commuter cup is solid and keeps your morning coffee or tea warm for your trip to work.

When you’re ready to begin shopping for school supplies, slip a pen and ruler made from corn plastic into your backpack – and spread the environmental joy with your fellow students.

Interested? Click here to visit our online Gift Shop.