Help the National Aquarium count dolphins off OC coast

July 21, 2011|By Michelle Deal-Zimmerman | The Baltimore Sun

Staff of the National Aquarium in Baltimore will be in Ocean City tomorrow for the Annual Maryland Dolphin Count and they're looking for volunteers to join them.

The count takes place 9 a.m. to noon Friday, along the beach at 40th Street and at 130th Street, where you can join the aquarium in sighting the dolphins off the coast. Aquarium staff will also be stationed at Assateague State Park (Day Use Area).

Volunteers who can spend a few hours on the beach watching the water and filling out data sheets are welcome at all three locations, where the groups will be divided into teams of counters. For their comfort, volunteers should bring a chair or blanket, water, sunscreen and binoculars (optional).

The annual dolphin counts help marine mammal specialists gauge dolphin populations, reproduction rates and ocean health. Bottlenose dolphins are typical off the coast of Ocean City, where they use the waters for summertime breeding, feeding and migrating.

I imagine this could be a bittersweet time for the staff after the tragic loss of two dolphin calves just last month at the aquarium.

The aquarium is also holding a fundraiser from 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. tonight at Seacrets to benefit its Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP). The fun begins in the afternoon with games and activities for the kids. All cover fees from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. will be donated to MARP.

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