Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Day 2: The Monterey Bay Aquarium and National Geographic Experts

EDITOR'S NOTE: For our second blog entry, NGSE's blogger-in-residence has elected to pass the keyboard to one of our journalists-in-training, Christina Spiewak. After spending the day blasting aquarium guides with question upon question, Christina still had enough energy to crank out 250 words (like a true journalist).

Day 2

Today, the students experienced their first outing as National Geographic explorers, departing UCSMB campus to explore the world renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium. This former sardine canning factory is home to a number of exhibits ranging from jelly fish to sea otters. As any visitor to the aquarium could testify, it's difficult not to be mesmerized by the wonder that is marine life. Marine biology, journalism and photography students alike took notes on the world below the surface of the ocean.

After two hours of exploration, the students were divided into groups and given behind the scenes tours of the aquarium. They witnessed the workings that go into sustaining these creatures as well as the work required for such a massive undertaking. Stories of octopus escape artists and rapidly growing kelp kept the students interested and curious to learn more. A walk through the lively town of Monterey brought the students to a local beach inhabited by a number of sea lions. Lying lazily on the rocky shores, these sea mammals posed for pictures and entertained onlookers with their stubborn feelings towards humans.

The day concluded with an introduction to the National Geographic experts, Tierney Thys and Kip Evans. Tierney entertained the group with a biology lesson and a catchy rap for remembering the eight phylum that make up the animal kingdom. Kip explained that he would be accompanying the group on a journey to Big Sur on Tuesday. The first official day of exploring gave the students an up and close look at the marine ecosystem along with a glimpse at the beauty of Monterey; an exciting start to the many explorations to come.

Below is a photograph of one of the more popular exhibits at the aquarium: The jelly fish.

Photo taken by student Alex Mastromarchi