National Aquarium's annual dolphin count begins Friday

July 11, 2013|By Leah Polakoff, The Baltimore Sun

Make the most of your beach vacation by volunteering for a good cause. 

Join the National Aquarium for the Annual Maryland Dolphin Count on Friday in Ocean City. The free event takes place from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.  and uses volunteers to help determine the state’s dolphin population, reproduction rates and ocean health.

Volunteers will stay on the beach and record the dolphins that swim by at four locations. An aquarium representative will be available at each site to answer questions.

Volunteers should report to one of these beach locations: Assateague State Park Day Use Area (6915 Stephen Decatur Highway, Berlin, MD 21811); or at the beach on 40th Street, 81st Steet or 130th Street.

Last year, more than 100 volunteers partnered with about 30 aquarium workers to count the dolphins. Only 31 Atlantic bottlenose dolphins were spotted, a relatively low number compared to 107 sightings in 2011. Marine mammal specialists use previous years results to determine the health of the ecosystem and abundance of prey.

To prepare for the event - or just to have fun - join the National Aquarium from 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. today at Seacrets: Jamaica USA for the annual Animal Rescue Fundraiser. Crafts, games and other family-friendly activities will take place from 3:30 to 5 p.m. After that, adults 21 and over can participate in games and raffles with the chance to win a behind the scenes experience at the National Aquarium. Tickets are $5 and all proceeds go to the Animal Rescue Program.

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