My Salish Sea Summer:
In the beginning...
by Rachel Rickaby (photos and videos by Rachel Rickaby)
My name is Rachel and I am excited to be spending my summer as an Educator at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea! I am a 4th year Marine Biology Co-op student at the University of Victoria. The co-op program allows me to test out different biology-related jobs for 4 month intervals. This gives me the opportunity to explore an array of positions and gain experience before I graduate.
As a Summer Educator, I am responsible for a wide variety of tasks, but primarily I will be teaching visitors of all ages about the incredible biodiversity of the Salish Sea. This includes school groups, from kindergarten to grade 12, as well as presentations for the general public about our local species. Growing up I couldn't have imagined a job where I'd be presenting in front of large audiences. I've definitely been wary of public speaking! But here I am, taking the plunge (pun intended!).
I have often wondered what it would be like to work at an aquarium and I have not been disappointed! There is always something new to learn and exciting to see. I am proud to declare I discovered a mosshead warbonnet had laid eggs in our eelgrass exhibit! The warbonnet was camped out in an empty barnacle fanning the eggs with her tail, circulating water over them to keep the eggs healthy.
Her eggs were then tended by our Aquarists. Eye spots appeared and the young fish began moving around in their eggs.
A few days later I witnessed the hatching of penpoint gunnel eggs! My favourite part of that experience was getting to share it with so many aquarium visitors. Throughout the day we watched with anticipation as each new egg hatched, each one dodging the hungry rockfish.
Babies that swam up near the surface were scooped up by an Aquarist and are now living in our animal care room. They will remain there until old enough to fend for themselves. If we are lucky, we may see some of the baby gunnels in our exhibits soon.
Within the first few weeks of working at the centre I already feel at home. I am excited to see what the rest of the summer holds; stay tuned for more about me and my Salish Sea Summer!