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scientist working with child
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Dana Gerlach helps six-year-old Antonio Utrera from Guelph, Ontario, match the pattern of callosities with the pictured right whale at the 2015 Endangered Species Day celebration. Photo credit: Shelley Dawicki, NEFSC/NOAA.
scientist and child measuring turtle shell
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Henry Milliken shows a young visitor how to measure a turtle shell with calipers. Photo credit: Shelley Dawicki, NEFSC/NOAA.
scientist demonstrating how to age salmon
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Ruth Haas-Castro of the Northeast Salmon Team explains how age is recorded in rings on an Atlantic salmon scale, visible under the microscope. Photo credit: Shelley Dawicki, NEFSC/NOAA.

May 5, 2016
Contact: Shelley Dawicki

Rare Marine Species Get the Star Treatment

It's Endangered Species Day at Woods Hole Science Aquarium

Saturday, May 21, is all about whales, sea turtles and Atlantic salmon - three endangered species found off our coast. NOAA’s Woods Hole Science Aquarium will be offering special public events in recognition of National Endangered Species Day and showcasing what is being done to recover these rare animals.

"This is a chance for people of all ages to learn about endangered and protected species and the research we are conducting here at the Woods Hole Laboratory and at our Maine Field Station in Orono," said George Liles, curator of the Woods Hole Science Aquarium. The laboratory and field station are part of NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC).

A variety of displays, exhibits and hands-on activities will be offered from noon to 2:00 p.m., after the seal feeding at 11 a.m. Weather permitting, a life-size inflatable humpback whale named “Salt” will be on display outside the Aquarium. Salt is always a big attraction. It's named after a real whale first sighted in the 1970s and still seen today in local waters; visitors can step inside and see the animal from a very different point of view.

Scientists conducting research on sea turtles, North Atlantic right whales and other whale species, and Atlantic salmon will be on hand to talk with visitors about their research.

The Aquarium features approximately 95 species of animals of the Northeast and Middle Atlantic region, as well as a behind-the-scenes touch tank where visitors may find spider crabs, hermit crabs, sea urchins, whelks, and a tautog among the animals found in local waters.

National Endangered Species Day is celebrated each year on the third Friday in May. The federal Endangered Species Act, signed into law in 1973, is administered by two federal agencies, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).

The Woods Hole Science Aquarium, the nation’s oldest public marine aquarium, is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed federal holidays). The seal pool area opens at 10:30 a.m., with seal feedings at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. most days. No off-street public parking is available, but limited on-street metered parking provided by the Town of Falmouth is available nearby. Admission to the Aquarium is free, but donations are accepted for education and conservation programs.

For further information and directions, contact the Woods Hole Science Aquarium at 508-495-2001, or visit the Aquarium web site at

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