Friday, July 27, 2012

Week 6 of Internship: The word at the VC

This week I got to talk to people out in the Visitor Center and get their opinions a little bit.  I had them choose what case study they would want to learn more about, from a set of 14 pictures.  (Species affected by global warming).
Pictures on a white board for visitors to choose from

I wrote down what everyone said and came up with some interesting trends, such as how the majority of women in their 20's and 30's as well as school age girls chose the emperor penguin over the rest.  This wasn't a huge surprise given the options.
So the next round, I removed the penguin and turtle to force a harder choice, so many in that age group switched to the next most familiar and cute creature: the clown fish.  As my fellow intern Nick puts it, they're only interested in "charismatic mega fauna".  :)
However, there was a very large number of people who chose things that were more local and meaningful to them personally.  My favorite comment I found funny was, "I chose Dungeness Crab because I like to eat them.  And I'm interested in keeping that going." :)
The two most surprising comments were from gentlemen who were roughly age 60 to 70.  This demographic is kind of stereotyped as being very skeptical of climate change.  One chose phytoplankton and said, "they are basic foodstuff.  They're at the bottom  of the food chain, so that has effects all the way up."  The other chose algae and said, "some people don't believe [climate change] and think it's 'business as usual', but I don't think so.  Algae will probably be one of the first affected."  Wooohoo!  You go dudes!

So my next challenge is figuring out how to do the rest of my formative evaluations to determine if people will tell a story and what media they want to help with that, as well as getting a more clear picture of what my final product (exhibit proposal) will look like.

I also got to work in the visitor center this week for a day and a half to help out.  That was fun.  I hung out at the touch tank for the first time and learned more about the animals there.  Hoping to do that again soon.  Here are a few pictures.  Sorry some of them are a bit blurry.  One of these days I swear I'll get a decent camera.  Hopefully before I'm 80.

Hatfield Marine Science Center tide pool touch tanks

variety of invertebrates in the touch tank

Giant green sea anemones, orange cup coral,
strawberry anemones, coralline algae


FYI on the above picture, the strawberry anemones are the tiny red ones dotting the rocks to right of the top anemone.  The coralline algae are the crusted pink stuff toward the top and also in circles around the bottom anemone.

Rock scallop
Sea stars galore, red sea urchin,
and sea cucumber (the long orange creature to the left of the urchin)
Leather star- very soft

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