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Padilla Bay newsletter

Our e-newsletter is published quarterly with current events, articles, and program information.
Chandler Colahan, Padilla Bay Reserve's newest education specialist.

Welcome to our new education specialist

Though new to the position, educator Chandler Colohan is no stranger to Padilla Bay. Since 2011, Chandler has helped thousands of school children, parents, and teachers become acquainted with the excitement and mystery of Padilla Bay’s mudflats and eelgrass meadow. She’s worked here as a seasonal educator for seven years, joining us for the busy spring and fall field trip seasons.

Chandler earned a Bachelor's degree in ocean science, education, and creative expression from Western Washington University. She’s taught children at Moran Outdoor School on Orcas Island, managed passengers and crew on ships along the Northwest coast, and counted jellyfish from a small plane. She’s shared her passion for marine wildlife and the Salish Sea ecosystem aboard boats in the San Juan Islands, analyzed plankton in the lab, and taught watershed science and conservation in Morro Bay, California. Whether the topic is orcas, surf scoters, tiny jellyfish or keeping streams clean and cool, Chandler has deep knowledge and teaching experience. Ask her about bioluminscence and her eyes light up like phytoplankton stirred by a kayak paddle.

Chandler will continue teaching classes and school programs. She will assist and coordinate Padilla Bay’s volunteers, and can be found greeting visitors at the interpretive center on Saturdays. So stop in to say, “hello.” We’re delighted to finally have Chandler as a permanent member of the education team, and look forward to exciting estuary education adventures in the coming years.

Three hand-crafted glass light fixtures shaped like jellyfish that brighten up the

Swimming with glass jellies

Come see three new colorful and elegant jellyfish in our exhibits! Don’t look in the aquariums however; our new "jellies" are hand crafted glass light fixtures that brighten up the Hands-on Room. 

These unique marine art lamps were commissioned and donated by Andrew House. Brad and Annabelle Fox and Andrew were also kind enough to carefully install these fragile glass creatures. During our darker winter days, these curving glass jellyfish add an especially warm glow of color above the reading nook!

A northern spearnose poacher fish displaying a pink florescent coloration under an orange lighting at an aquarium tank at the Breazeale Interpretive Center in Skagit County, Wash.

A fish with 'flare'

Our resident northern spearnose poacher fish or "Whiskers," as we like to call him, has been keeping us in the dark about his secret identity. It was only recently that we discovered that Whiskers is biofluorescent. Our educator, Chandler Colahan, discovered his illuminating properties while researching biofluorescence in our aquariums. 

Biofluoresence is not a chemical reaction like bioluminescence; biofluorescent organisms do not give off light from their own power source. Instead they absorb high energy light and transform it into a lower-energy wavelength. Chandler was able to see his fluorescence by the use of an orange filter under a high-energy blue light. Under these conditions Whiskers glows a brilliant red. Come by our aquarium to see this lackluster fish with his lustrous secret.

Two people holding oversized $100,000 donation check from Shell Puget Sound Refinery made out to the Padilla Bay Foundation.

Shell Puget Sound Refinery supports education at Padilla Bay

The Padilla Bay Foundation recently received a generous donation of $10,000 from our neighbor across the bay. Education, environment, and sustainability are three priorities for the Shell Puget Sound Refinery, and Padilla Bay’s K-12 education program incorporates all three priority topics. Donations such as these from Shell help the reserve provide environmental education to about 8,000 school children annually.

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