Texas State Aquarium’s Second Chances Wildlife Rehabilitation Program Reports Record Release Numbers for 2015

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The Texas State Aquarium is pleased to announce a record number of released and transferred Second Chances Wildlife Rehabilitation Program patients for 2015.

GHOW1 small258 patients were admitted for the year, 33 percent of which were rehabilitated and released back into their natural habitat, and 20 percent of which were transferred to other accredited animal facilities. This positive release rate included 32 different species of shorebirds and 15 species of raptors, making up a very high species diversity rate for the program.

Manager of Wildlife Rehabilitation Laura Martinelli said this year was a higher caseload compared to recent years, and she and her team worked hard to rise to the occasion.

“It presents certain logistical challenges as well as extra time and effort, but I am really proud of my team. It takes flexibility, hard work, and being able to adapt quickly to be as successful as we are, and volunteers are absolutely crucial to our mission and our success,” explained Martinelli.

LAGU Release3 small2015 was also a banner year for in-house surgeries. Martinelli and Aquarium Veterinarian Dr. David Stelling credit the advanced technological equipment in the Second Chances surgery suite for allowing them the opportunity to perform more surgeries and, ultimately, treat the medical issues of more patients.

“The more understanding we gain doing surgeries, the better,” said Martinelli, who also added the combined experience of Second Chances staffers provided a large boon to 2015’s great numbers.

The most common bird species Second Chances staff sees are Laughing Gulls, Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks, Brown Pelicans, and Great Horned Owls.
  

 

The Mystique of Massif

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Student scientists explain how the technology onboard the Falkor helps us map parts of the ocean seafloor never mapped before

Student scientists explain how the technology on board the Falkor helps us map parts of the ocean seafloor never mapped before

Dr. William Sager said his recent 36-day journey to map the world’s single largest volcano, the same one he named TAMU Massif, was a scientific expedition of epic proportions. At the same time, he noted that it was punctuated by creature comforts such as gourmet food, a small gym, and even a berth featuring a plush queen-sized bed.

“There were issues with that bed, though. Don’t get me wrong, it was comfortable; but when you’re on a ship at sea, you want to huddle up in a corner to stabilize yourself,” Sager explained. “Normally, I’d be in a small bunk sticking life jackets and whatnot into the bed frame to make a barrier.”

The purpose of the voyage was to further explore and map TAMU Massif, an underwater volcano Sager has been studying for the past 20 years. The geological phenomenon lies nearly 1,000 miles east of Japan, in the middle of what is known as the Shatsky Rise, an oceanic mountain range.

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Nanez-James

Sager acted as chief scientist on board the research vessel Falkor, a specialized ship lent to him and a team of scientists and students via the Schmidt Ocean Institute to learn more about the mysteries behind TAMU Massif. Aquarium Manager of Distance Learning and Outreach Suraida Nanez-James was also part of the crew, documenting the team’s findings via blog posts and other correspondence, while connecting with children in classrooms all over the world and giving them an inside glimpse at the historic expedition and what “science at sea” looks like.

Nanez-James broadcast to students in real time – meaning 2:00 p.m. for them and 1:00 a.m. for her – via Internet connection and took them on a tour of the vessel, all the while introducing them to various scientists, explaining about data mapping, expedition equipment, and more.

She explained to students, while stepping over sleeping crew members in the dead of night, that TAMU Massif is somewhat of a geological anomaly.  

“It has this Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality going on,” said Sager. He means that the magnetic striping of the volcano, produced by previous lava flows, run on some sides of the TAMU Massif, but not all sides. In addition, Sager says TAMU Massif looks like a single volcano built by lava flows going long distances, but that this behavior should not produce magnetic stripes like the team is finding.

“It’s definitely perplexing,” he said, “Seismic profiling is showing us that this may be a whole different kind of volcano.”

Other data collected from the expedition will help Sager and other scientists study more accurate magnetic soundings, topography and bathymetry maps of TAMU Massif and the Shatsky Rise.TamuMassifConeImage_PhotoCreditJohn Greene

“I was so excited to examine those soundings – all nearly 74 million of them – that I plugged the information into my computer when I got back, and it promptly crashed,” Sager said with a laugh.

Thankfully, there were no similar crashes while aboard the Falkor during the journey. Nanez-James said she had remarkably good Internet connections when she helped to show nearly 4,000 students what the middle of the Pacific Ocean looked like.

Nanez-James made 90 ship-to-shore connections to students from Corpus Christi and the Coastal Bend, as well as to those as far away as the Bahamas and Portugal.

“What was really cool and what I emphasized was that the information we shared with them and the data that they were seeing; they were the first in the world, in history, to see it,” Nanez-James said.

Being bilingual in Spanish and English gave Nanez-James a unique opportunity to reach more students.

“I was able to speak to a class at a field trip at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and they hardly spoke any English, so it was a very cool connection to make. They’d never been exposed to information or science like that before,” she said.

Another tidbit (or bite) Nanez-James shared with students featured “Maggie,” the ship’s magnetometer that the team used to collect magnetic field data, and how the area’s resident sharks tried to collect data about it.

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Maggie the Magnetometer with shark bite marks

“They really chomped on one (of the magnetometers),” said Nanez-James, “We actually had to stop using one of them because they bit the heck out of it.”

But for Nanez-James and Sager, the time spent away from family and friends, as well as visits from sharks and stormy weather and rocky sleeping situations, was all worth it.

“We have a fantastic new data set for future research and publications,” Sager said. “We’re talking years. It’ll take a while to work through all the data we have, but we’re very excited to see how it’ll help answer some of the questions we have about TAMU Massif and learn about how it was actually formed.”

Texas State Aquarium to Release Rehabilitated Brown Pelican

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Texas State Aquarium is pleased to announce that at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, January 20, we will be releasing a Brown Pelican back into its natural TXAQ-rehab-logohabitat at the Packery Channel Park in Corpus Christi.

The Aquarium’s Second Chances Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital took in the juvenile Brown Pelican on January 2, after the lethargic shorebird was found on Saratoga Boulevard in front of a restaurant and turned over by Corpus Christi’s Animal Care Services.

Brown PelicanThe underweight animal was found to have several older abrasions on its left wing and a bacterial infection on both feet, once inspected by Second Chances staff. According to staff, this was likely the pelican’s first winter and it was simply unprepared for and unable to handle the cold weather.

After monitoring the bird’s flying capabilities and weight gain, Second Chances staff has deemed it healthy and able to be returned back to its natural environment.

 

 

What: Photo/video opportunity: Release of Brown Pelican

When: January 20th @ 10:00 a.m.

Where: Packery Channel Park, Corpus Christi, TX 78418

 

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Texas State Aquarium–Connecting people with nature and inspiring conservation of the Gulf of Mexico.

The Aquarium is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums

and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums.

www.texasstateaquarium.org

Aquarium Dolphins to be Temporarily Relocated During Early Part of Caribbean Journey Construction

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Shadow & KaiAs the Aquarium embarks on the exciting beginning phase of construction for its Caribbean Journey expansion, the health and safety of the animals in our care remains our top priority. With that in mind, our Atlantic bottlenose dolphins – Shadow and Kai – will be relocated to our SeaLab facility as a precaution in case of any noise disturbances to the Dolphin Bay exhibit during the early part of construction. We are also going to use this time to perform some routine maintenance that needs to be done periodically to the Dolphin Bay pool and exhibit area. 

In preparation for the move, dolphin shows at Dolphin Bay will be discontinued as of January 1, 2015.  

We are not yet sure just how long Shadow and Kai will be at our SeaLab facility, but our hope is that it will not be for long. And rest assured that the Aquarium’s marine mammal trainers and veterinary staff will insure that Shadow and Kai receive the same level of daily care, enrichment, and mental stimulation as they receive today at Dolphin Bay. 

We know that you’ll all miss Shadow and Kai while they are gone, but we also know that you expect us to put their health and safety as first priority. 

We’ll keep you posted on how they are doing at our SeaLab facility, and we’ll let you know as soon as they return to Dolphin Bay. 

Aquarium Breaks Ground on Caribbean Journey Expansion

Aquarium Breaks Ground on Caribbean Journey Expansion
Texas State Aquarium staff and Board were joined today by elected officials and area leaders to celebrate the groundbreaking ceremony of its $50 million Caribbean Journey addition – the largest expansion in the Aquarium’s 24-year history.
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Texas State Aquarium staff and Board were joined today by elected officials and area leaders to celebrate the groundbreaking ceremony of its $50 million Caribbean Journey addition – the largest expansion in the Aquarium’s 24-year history. Caribbean Journey Expansion groundbreaking

Bringing the sights, sounds, and vibrant wildlife of the Western Caribbean to the shores of Corpus Christi, the  Caribbean Journey addition will complete the final two phases of the Aquarium’s original master plan and will transform the Texas State Aquarium from a leading regional aquarium to one of the one of the top aquariums in the nation. At four stories and 65,000 square feet, the new Caribbean Journey expansion will be significantly larger than the original Gulf of Mexico exhibit building.   

“This is truly a historic milestone for the Aquarium,” said Aquarium President & CEO Tom Schmid.  “Over 25 years ago, our founders had a vision to take our guests on a journey from the Gulf of Mexico into the Caribbean Sea.  Today, we begin construction on the final phase of the original master plan, and once open in 2017, this expansion will complete that vision.  We will have one of the nations’ great Aquariums right here in Corpus Christi.”

A public groundbreaking ceremony was held today on the Aquarium’s lawn, with speakers including State Representative Abel Herrero, Corpus Christi Mayor Nelda Martinez, Aquarium Board Chair Deneece Squires, and Aquarium President and CEO Tom Schmid. shovel & hard hat

In late 2012, the Texas State Aquarium launched the leadership phase of Campaign Caribbean, a capital campaign to raise the necessary funds for construction of the Caribbean Journey building. Since then, over $27 million has been raised towards the expansion project.

shovels up close

Visit texasstateaquarium.org/caribbean to take the Caribbean Journey.

Texas State Aquarium Announces December 7th Dollar Day Presented by H-E-B

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On Sunday, December 7, the Texas State Aquarium will host a Dollar Day, presented by H-E-B. The Aquarium’s extremely popular Dollar Days offer an admission price of one dollar for all visitors. Along with the special price, there will be an enhanced schedule of programs for the day, as well as a special gift from H-E-B for each family while supplies last.

“We’re thrilled to announce our December Dollar Day, which is possible thanks to the generosity of our longtime partner H-E-B,” said Tom Schmid, President and CEO of the Texas State Aquarium. “H-E-B has long been a generous partner of both the Aquarium and the Corpus Christi community. Supporting our Dollar Day program in order to help make the Aquarium accessible to all local families is just another way H-E-B gives back to the communities it serves.”

“This is a wonderful opportunity for H-E-B and the Aquarium to join in a partnership that will offer families some unique experiences and new memories,” added H-E-B Gulf Coast Group Vice President, Rob Hall.  “We hope families will take some time to walk through the amazing and educational exhibits the Texas State Aquarium has to offer for everyone.”

The Aquarium will operate on regular hours for the day, opening at 9:00 a.m. and closing at 5:00 p.m. Children two and under will receive free admission, and parking will remain $5.

Texas State Aquarium Announces November Dollar Day Presented by Whataburger

Dollar Day, presented by Whataburger, will be Sunday, November 16!
Along with $1 admission, there will be an enhanced schedule of programs for the day. The Aquarium will maintain its normal operating hours for the day, opening at 9 a.m. and closing at 5 p.m. Children 2 years old and under will receive free admission.
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Whataburger logo

November 10, 2014

CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – On Sunday, Nov. 16, the Texas State Aquarium will host a Dollar Day, presented by Whataburger. The Aquarium’s extremely popular Dollar Days offer an admission price of one dollar for all visitors. Along with the special price, there will be an enhanced schedule of programs for the day.

“We’re thrilled to announce this Dollar Day for November thanks to the generosity of our longtime supporter and partner, Whataburger,” said Tom Schmid, President and CEO of the Texas State Aquarium. “Whataburger has done so much for the Aquarium and the local community over the years, and our November Dollar Day is just one more example. Whataburger’s support of our Dollar Day program helps make the Aquarium accessible to all of the members of our local community for learning and enjoyment.”

“Corpus Christi is our birthplace, and we have a big place in our hearts for the Texas State Aquarium,” said Whataburger Vice President of Marketing and Innovation Rich Scheffler. “The Texas State Aquarium is an amazing place to learn and explore, and we are happy to help make it a little easier for kids and their families to visit and enjoy the exhibits.”

The Aquarium will operate on regular hours for the day, opening at 9:00 a.m. and closing at 5:00 p.m. Children 2 and under will receive free admission, and parking will remain $5.00.

 

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Texas State Aquarium–Connecting people with nature and inspiring conservation of the Gulf of Mexico.

The Aquarium is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums

and a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

www.texasstateaquarium.org

Whataburger to Sponsor First 4D Theater in Texas’s Coastal Bend at the Texas State Aquarium

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October 27, 2014

Million dollar contribution from Whataburger aids fundraising effort for Aquarium’s Caribbean Journey expansion

Whataburger 4D Theater check presentationCORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – The Texas State Aquarium is excited to announce another significant gift for Campaign Caribbean, the Aquarium’s capital campaign which will fund the largest expansion in its 24-year history. Today, longtime partner Whataburger announced a generous $1 million gift to Campaign Caribbean. The gift is earmarked for the naming of a 4D theater in the Caribbean Journey experience – the first theater of its kind south of San Antonio.

“Whataburger and the Dobson Family are proud to support the construction of the 4D theater which will be named after our mother and the woman who grew Whataburger into the company it is today, Grace Dobson. She had a deep personal commitment to the Corpus Christi community and incredible passion for this place,” said Whataburger Chairman and TSA Board Member Tom Dobson.  “I know she would be very proud.”

Texas State Aquarium President & CEO Tom Schmid commented, “Whataburger and the Dobson family have been steadfast Aquarium supporters and partners for many years. Thanks to their generous continuing support, we are going to be able to bring the Coastal Bend area its first 4D theater.  4D will bring guests the richest theater experience possible – the action spills out of the screen over the audience with thrill-enhancing sensory special effects—from water mist and smoke clouds to tremors beneath the feet.”

The Texas State Aquarium’s Whataburger 4D Theater will be developed by SimEx-Iwerks, which specializes in designing, building and operating 4-D Experiences® that feature blockbuster content licensed from the world’s major studios. SimEx-Iwerks is an expert in integrating the highest quality 3-D high definition projection with in-seat and in-theater effects to create fully immersive experiences. Their 4-D theaters include a variety of special effects, including bubbles, snow, scent, FX lighting, water mist, seat vibrations, and wind. 

The $50 million Caribbean Journey addition will introduce Aquarium guests to the sights, sounds, and vibrant wildlife of the Western Caribbean.  Its construction will complete the final two phases of the Aquarium’s original master plan and will transform the Texas State Aquarium from a leading regional aquarium to one of the top aquariums in the nation.

In late 2012, the Texas State Aquarium launched the leadership phase of Campaign Caribbean, a capital campaign to raise the necessary funds for construction of the Caribbean Journey wing. At 65,000 square feet, the new Caribbean Journey wing will be significantly larger than the original Gulf of Mexico exhibit building.  “The new wing will be 50 percent larger, however, in terms of indoor exhibit space. It will more than double what we currently have,” said Aquarium President & CEO Tom Schmid.  “This is going to be a multi-level, highly immersive, state-of-the-art experience.”

Visit texasstateaquarium.org/caribbean to take the Caribbean Journey.

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About Whataburger: 

Whataburger has focused on its fresh, made-to-order burgers and friendly customer service since 1950 when Harmon Dobson opened the first Whataburger as a small roadside burger stand in Corpus Christi, Texas. Dobson gave his restaurant a name he hoped to hear customers say every time they took a bite of his made-to-order burgers:  “What a burger!” Within the first week, people lined up around the block for his 25 cent, 100-percent beef burgers served on five-inch buns. Today, the company is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, with more than 760 locations in 10 states with sales of more than $1 billion annually. Visitwww.whataburger.com for more information on the company or become a fan on Facebook athttp://www.facebook.com/whataburger.

 

Texas State Aquarium: Connecting people with nature and inspiring conservation of the Gulf of Mexico.

The Aquarium is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums

and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

www.texasstateaquarium.org

Texas State Aquarium and Valero Make Major Campaign Caribbean Announcement

Valero $500K Announcement 042
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Half-million dollar contribution from Valero aids fundraising effort for Aquarium’s Caribbean Journey expansionCarribbean Campaign Logo Color FINAL

 September 4, 2014

CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – The Texas State Aquarium is excited to announce another significant gift for Campaign Caribbean, the Aquarium’s capital campaign which will fund the largest expansion in its 24-year history. Today, continued partner Valero announced a generous $500,000 gift to Campaign Caribbean, which surpassed the crucial midway point of achieving its $50 million goal earlier this year and has a groundbreaking scheduled for late this year.

The major gift will sponsor the new entryway into the Caribbean Journey experience, introducing guests to the sights, sounds, and vibrant wildlife of the Western Caribbean. “For more than three decades, Valero has been committed to the Coastal Bend Region through the jobs we create and the contributions we invest in our community,” said Dennis Payne, Vice President and General Manager, Valero Corpus Christi Refineries. “Today’s gift for the Texas State Aquarium is another demonstration of our commitment to Corpus Christi, especially causes that focus on education and environmental sustainability. It’s Valero’s hope that this new entryway will usher in a wave of excitement for tourists, residents, and businesses across the state.”

Texas State Aquarium President & CEO Tom Schmid commented, “Since the opening of the Aquarium almost 25 years ago, Valero has been a great partner and great patron. Valero has been consistently generous and helped us advance our mission. This latest investment affirms their commitment to environmental education, wildlife conservation, and economic development in this community, and throughout Texas.”

The $50 million Caribbean Journey addition – which completes the final two phases of the Aquarium’s original master plan – will transform the Texas State Aquarium from a leading regional aquarium to one of the top aquariums in the nation.

In late 2012, the Texas State Aquarium launched the leadership phase of Campaign Caribbean, a capital campaign to raise the necessary funds for construction of the Caribbean Journey wing. At 65,000 square feet, the new Caribbean Journey wing will be significantly larger than the original Gulf of Mexico exhibit building.  “The new wing will be 50 percent larger, however, in terms of indoor exhibit space. It will more than double what we currently have,” said Aquarium President & CEO Tom Schmid.  “This is going to be a multi-level, highly immersive, state-of-the-art experience.”

Visit texasstateaquarium.org/caribbean to take the Caribbean Journey.

 

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Texas State Aquarium: Connecting people with nature and inspiring conservation of the Gulf of Mexico.

The Aquarium is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums

and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

 

Valero $500K Announcement 042