Monday, May 20, 2013

Splashing into the museum

Rather than slowly easing into the job on the first day, I decided to make a splash! Well, it wasn’t really my decision, but I’m glad it was done. After manning the touch table in the morning (more on that later), Carrie and I headed down to Lime Kiln State Park where the second graders of San Juan Island were having a field trip. There were several stations, and I only help manned two, but it was really interesting to see the programming, and also learn as well!

For the programming, we focused on how boat engines interfere with orca communication by grouping the kids into “Orcas” and “boats” and then creating different settings, such as Orcas with no boats, Orcas with noisy boats, and Orcas with polite boats. It helped the kids realize the difference and need for the protection and laws associated with whale watching.

My focus in life is museum education; basically teaching kids about what’s in the museum and doing fun activities along with it. I have little to no background in marine animals, marine biology, or marine anything, and so I’m taking this opportunity to work at the Whale Museum as a challenge. Right now, I’ve got about three or four books on marine mammals and identification guides for San Juan Island on my nightstand and I skim parts of them before bed. I’m used to knowing what I’m looking at, be it out the window, on my walk, or out the car, so I’ve been rather rattled by only being able to identify poplars and the fact that ‘that tree is a conifer’ and the like. I really need to bone up on this information. And that’s not even including my dearth of knowledge on whales.

As Mom said, it’s going to be a steep learning curve for me, but I’m positive I can make it. And sometime soon it will be I giving the lectures on baleen whales vs. toothed whales and what exactly a pinniped is in the upstairs of the Whale Museum. Soon it will be me…

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