Sunday, May 1, 2016

Alicia's Aquarium Journal -Wrap - Up

This is the 6th time I have participated in IFJM. I didn’t get my inspiration for my theme this year until a few days before I needed to start. Although Roz suggested “a shift in place “ I decided to do a storied theme like I have done in the past. My character was working in an aquarium. I started by compiling a list of creatures that would be found in an aquarium and possible events that would take place there. For each sea creature I selected I did some research on facts or something that could be put in as a detail in the story. I did use photo references that were “royalty free” if possible and if not I changed the image as well as the setting quite a bit. At times I wasn’t sure I would have enough creatures for each day of the month, so I perused many aquarium websites for creatures to include. I ended up having one possible post that I didn’t use. I knew I had to be willing to do quite a bit of research to make this work, but I knew it would be worth it.
As the month went on I had a serious family medical problem to deal with. My father-in-law was at the end of his days with cancer, and my husband and I were helping out at his apartment nearly every day. I just brought along my computer and sketchpad and worked on the journal when he was sleeping. I think it was good for me because it gave me something I could control and concentrate on in the middle of a terrible time. He passed away on Thursday. While I was there and he was still aware of what was happening, he enjoyed seeing the pages I was creating.
I am happy with the way my journal came out. There are several things I need to remember or think about for next year.
• The sketchbook I was using didn’t have enough pages so I bought a second one thinking I would just add the additional pages to the spiral as I did in the past. However I didn’t get the second sketchbook until I had already started the journal and will now have to remove all the pages from the filled one and put the last 4 pages behind them so they are all together. Maybe I should just do individual pages and have them bound at Staples after I finish.
• When I was nearly done I wished I had used a material that was different from what I usually work with. I always use watercolors and some ink. I rarely experiment or go out of my comfort zone. Maybe next time I will think about using gouache instead, since I have wanted to experiment with that for a while. Working on a collaged background might be fun too.
My thanks to Roz and all the participants. It has been a joy to follow your journals this month! There were days that I was able to find time to comment, but not always…be assured that I did look even if I didn’t comment. It is great to be in the company of so many talented people.
When I have a bit more time I will go to Roz’s page and find the blogs that are listed and revisit them to read them together. I hope to see all of you back for IFJM 2017!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Alicia's Aquarium Journal - April 30

How would you like to sleep with the fishes? You can!!!
Tonight there is a family sleepover at the aquarium. Once the crowds are gone, our family groups have the aquarium to themselves. We'll have a private tour, a scavenger hunt, snacks, and crafts...
Bring your pillow and sleeping bag, and snuggle down in font of your favorite fish. You won't forget this visit.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Alicia's Aquarium Journal - April 29

Here at the aquarium we offer shark dives if you're feeling adventurous. I've done it several times and just love the thrill of it. You can watch if you want...or evensong up to try it if you meet the requirements. All the necessary equipment is provided for you. Come join us and meet the sharks up close and personal! Friends and family can watch from outside the tank.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Alicia's Aquarium Journal - April 28

Here at the aquarium we have some wonderful bottlenose dolphins. You can get a glimpse of their daily life. Watch how they learn, play, and interact with each other. You can watch them below and above the water.
Our marine animal experts will explain what it is like to teach, care for, and form relationships with these social creatures.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Alicia's Aquarium Journal - April 27

The anglerfish is not a pretty fish, but it is unusual. They live mostly in the murky depths of the Atlantic and Antarctic Oceans, up to a mile down.
What's unusual? The female has her own built-in fishing rod above her head with a lure that is illuminated. She dangles this above her mouth filled with sharp teeth. The mouth of the angler is so be and its body can stretch to swallow prey up to twice its size whole! The angler's sharp teeth keep the prey form escaping while it is digested. 
The female's lure also attracts a smaller male (or up to 6 males) that will latch onto her and become a parasite, getting nutrients from her body for the rest of his life.
There are more than 200 species of anglerfish.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Alicia's Aquarium Journal - April 26

The clownfish became so popular after the movie, "Finding Nemo." People always come into the aquarium asking where Nemo is. lol Clownfish are named for the multicolored sea anemone in which they live. Yes, they make their home in the anemone. The clownfish is immune to the deadly sting of the fish-eating anemone. The clownfish and the anemone have a great relationship and help each other survive.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Alicia's Aquarium Journal - April 25

Today is the last scheduled visit by the first graders. We will be going outside to our Koi Pond. Kor are Japan's national fish, and are bred to produce many different colors and markings. Although they are related to goldfish, koi can grow up to 3 feet and live 50 years.
The kids had a lot of fun feeding the koi and learned about their diet.
The koi pond contains some aquatic plants like water hyacinths, water lilies, papyrus, and cana that help the koi survive.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Alicia's Aquarium Journal - April 24

Have you seen our electric eel tank? Electric eels are not really eels, but members of the knife fish family. Their bodies contain about 6,000 special cells that store power like batteries. They can emit a burst of at least 600 volts, which is 5 times the power of an electric wall socket.
Electric eels live in muddy waters in South America. They are mostly blind, and rely on their electric power to explore their surroundings, kill prey, and to protect them from predators.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Alicia's Aquarium Journal - April 23

We have a group of harbor seals that are very popular. They perform several times a day. If you make arrangements ahead of time, you can help us feed them. The seals eat squid, crustaceans, mollusks, and different kinds of fish.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Alicia's Aquarium Journal - April 22

Today is world wide Earth Day. There is a serious problem with man-made pollutants and trash that reaches the ocean. Some sea creatures get caught in nets or ropes that have been discarded. Pollutants collect at the ocean's depths, where they are eaten by small marine organisms and then become part of the global food chain. Help us protect the earth!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Alicia's Aquarium Journal - April 21

Today we received a new resident at the aquarium. An abandoned baby seal was found at a beach nearby. The mother was nowhere to be found, and the pup wouldn't survive on its own. The baby seal was carried back here. After a medical checkup the baby was cleaned up and fed by hand. We will raise him here, and he will have company when he can join our other seals.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Alicia's Aquarium Journal - April 20

Our aquarium has sea creatures that are crustaceans like the lobster. Most of what people know about lobsters has to do with cooking them. Here are some other facts about lobsters.
*Lobsters are not red in nature. They can be green, yellow, or even bright blue!
*Lobsters can swim forward and backward.
*They have very poor eyesight.
*Lobsters have very tiny brains.
*Lobsters have a good sense of smell and taste.
*Lobsters usually feed on bottom dwellers like clams, snails, and crabs.
*When scared lobsters scoot away in reverse by rapidly curling and uncurling their tails.
*Lobsters can live for as long as 100 years!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Alicia's Aquarium Journal - April 19

People like to watch the trainers teach the animals to perform, but what else does an animal trainer do? They provide physical and mental activities that keep the animals healthy and happy. They are in charge of the diet and feeding of their animals. Trainers keep health and behavior records, make sure the habitat is kept in good condition, and speak to the public during programs.
Would you like to help the animal trainers? We are looking for volunteers.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Alicia's Aquarium Journal - April 18

Today is the third visit by the 1st graders. Today's lesson is on the characteristics of frogs. Here are a few of our frogs that were their favorites. Which one would be your favorite?

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Alicia's Aquarium Journal - April 17

River otters are just so fun to watch. They love floating in forests of kelp or seaweed. They often use seaweed or kelp to anchor themselves while they sleep or gather in groups.
They are often busy with a clam or a mussel on their chest. They smash the shellfish until it breaks open for a tasty meal.
Sea otters eat sea urchins, clams, mussels, crabs, squid, and fish.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Alicia's Aquariium Journal - April 16

The sea anemone is called the flower of the sea. It looks pretty...but watch out! They look like plants, but are really man-eating animals.
In the center of the anemone is their mouth. In order for the sea anemone to eat, they must wait for their food to swim by. Then they sting it with their tentacles, and then push it into their mouth.
Sea anemones spend most o their lives in one place They can attach themselves to rocks, ore even bury themselves in the mud.

Alicia's Aquarium Journal - April 15

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Alicia's Aquarium Journal - April 14

One of the small sea creatures here at the aquarium is the seahorse. The seahorse is a bit unusual.
Seahorse Facts
They are very pool swimmers and are usually found with their prehensile tail wrapped around something stationary.
The male carries the eggs in his pouch until they hatch.
Seahorses pair for life.
They have excellent eyesight and their eyes work independently one each side of their head. They can look forwards and backwards at the same time!
Their thin snout can reach into narrow openings to find food.
They suck food up through their snout like a vacuum cleaner.
Seahorses eat small crustacea. An adult eats 30 - 50 times a day!
Baby seahorses are known as fry and when they are born are totally on their own.
Seahorses change color very quickly and can match any surroundings, even red.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Alicia's Aquarium Journal - April 12

Do you know why penguins are black and white? It's camouflage!
From above their black backs help them blend in with the dark, deep ocean waters.
When penguins are in the water, their white chests camouflage them from being seen from below as they blend in with the sky.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Alicia's Aquarium Journal - April 11

Today the first graders are back for their second visit. We will be learning about alligators and crocodiles. Can you tell them apart? The kids can. Let the fact sheets help you tell the difference.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Alicia's Aquarium Journal - April 10

We have an aquatic veterinarian on staff here. When one of our creatures is sick or needs to be checked out, she can conduct basic exams, give vaccinations, take blood samples, administer meds, or even do surgery if necessary.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Alicia's Aquarium Journal - April 9

We are having an aquarium wedding, none of our sea creatures are getting married, but we do hold wedding receptions and other parties here.
Imagine taking your vows or photos in front of one of our fish tanks or in front of your favorite sea creature. Maybe our beluga whale will pose with you.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Alicia's Aquarium Journal - April 8

One sea creature that most people don't like is the jellyfish. But look at them in the tanks and see how beautiful they look as they float.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Alicia's Aquarium Journal - April 7

Our aquarium is located on the east coast of the United States and we try to include some of our local fish here in our tanks. Signs below the tanks will help you identify them as they swim or crawl by you.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Alicia's Aquarium Journal - April 6

Today is a great day to go outdoors and see our walrus exhibit. Walruses are very social creatures and in the wild they are often found in packs of up to 100.
At our aquarium we have 3 walruses who keep each other company. Here is Sadie. Isn't she cute?
* A walrus swims at an average speed of 4.35 mph.
* The mustache of a walrus contains around 450 highly sensitive whiskers.
* Their whiskers help them find food, especially clams.
* Male walruses are almost double the weight of females, and can weigh 1.5 tons!
* Female walruses give birth to a single calf at a time.
* Calves are able to swim as soon as they are born. They live with their mother until 3 years of age.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Alicia's Aquarium Journal - April 5

When you think of an aquarium I'm sure you think of sharks. We have a large shark tank. It is one of our most popular exhibits. They look scary when they come close!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Alicia's Aquarium Journal - April 4

Today we have a 1st grade class here for a visit. They are taking part in an on-going program and will be visiting every Monday in April. Today's lesson is observing how turtles and tortoises live an thrive.
Tortoises live on land. They have feet that are round sand stumpy for walking on land. Turtles live in water and have webbed feet and streamlined bodies to glide through the water.
We teach the students to respect all life!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Alicia's Aquarium Journal - April 3

I'm checking out the coral reef now. This exhibit has about 800 types of fish and sea life and each has a role in this special self-sustaining ecosystem.

We have both soft and stony coral. The coral reef is a colorful exhibit!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Alicia's Aquarium Journal - April 2

April 2, 2016
Our aquarium has a great touch pool. The kids love it and so do the adults. Who doesn't like reaching in and having a stingray swim by close enough to brush your hand over its back?

Stingrays are not aggressive so don't worry! You can pick up some of our other touch tank residents.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Alicia's Aquarium Journal - April 1

I'm Alicia and I'm an oceanographer and the director of the South Bay Aquarium. I've loved marine life since I was a kid and my mom still eases me that I was a mermaid in my former life!

I love working at the aquarium. Follow my journal and I'll tell you about my days.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

International Fake Journal Month - April 2016 - Introduction

Once again starting tomorrow I am participating in Roz Stendhal's "International Fake Journal Month." Please remember that the blog entries you will read here for "Alicia's Aquarium Journal" are FAKE. This is not my real life. I think that some people were confused last year and actually thought I was working at a florist. The idea behind the fake journals is a "shift in place." I will be shifting to the life of Alicia who works in an aquarium (which as far as I know does not exist). I hope you enjoy following along each day as Alicia journals about the aquarium. Here is the title page for my fake journal.