Click to download our first official podcast! John Widick, a CMA Marine Mammal Trainer interviews Scott Carpenter, the second American to orbit the earth and the fourth American in space. Scott Carpenter also worked on Sea Lab II, a NAVY research lab that is 200 feet below the sea just off San Diego, CA.

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Stay tuned for more exciting podcasts!

Immense, powerful and eternal – all words that have been used to describe the ocean. Yet in spite of its timeless beauty, most of us are starting to realize the ocean is actually a fragile place.

What’s the greatest threat facing the deep blue? Take your pick. Global fish populations are being depleted rapidly due to unsustainable fishing practices. Plastics end up as ocean debris in even the most pristine places.

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Photo courtesy of  Project GreenBag

Big problems? Yes. Insurmountable? No. There are things everyone – including those of us that live nowhere near the ocean – can do to help. Buy sustainable seafood (there’s an app for that). Use less plastic (use reusable canvas bags). Support organizations that protect the ocean and the amazing life within it.

It’s true that here at Clearwater Marine Aquarium we think “ocean” every day. But as folks from across the globe come through our doors, we hear wonderful stories of things that ordinary people are doing to help the big blue. They adopt an ocean friend through one of our marine life adoption programs, make smart seafood choices or they find new ways to learn more about marine conservation.

What’s one of your favorite ways to help marine life and our oceans? What advice do you have for someone just getting started?

This guest blog comes to us from a visitor and fan of CMA.

My family and I seem to stumble into some of our best vacations. It’s not that we aren’t planners, it’s just that chance and circumstance have often handed us some of our best memories. My visit to Clearwater Marine Aquarium, for instance, wasn’t actually a vacation at all. My 8-year-old son and I made the most of a break in our schedules and tagged along with my husband on a business trip to Florida. We did some of the usual tourist stuff, but we wanted to do something just a little off the beaten path as well.

Ethan's Visit to CMA

There, not very far off the path at all, was Clearwater Marine Aquarium. My son and I spent an unforgettable afternoon watching Winter and her friends slip gracefully through the water. We explored the touch tank, wished we could see baby dolphin Hope (she was still in quarantine at the time) and got a glimpse of the amazing work the staff and volunteers at CMA do every day. While we were there we heard something about a movie, but at the time neither of us paid much attention. We were too absorbed in the moment, enjoying the atmosphere of a working rescue, rehabilitation, research and education center. It’s a place that has, since 1972, unwaveringly gone about making a real difference—in the lives of marine animals and in our own lives as well.

So our non-vacation turned out to be one of the most memorable trips we’ve taken. What are some of your family’s best vacation memories? Have you ever had an unexpected “vacation moment”?

As the Sea Turtle Nesting Team was out patrolling the beaches, they discovered a mama loggerhead nesting. This is normally done at night so it was quite a special treat to see this happening in broad daylight.

NESTING SEASON UPDATE: The 2011 sea turtle nesting season is off to a good start. As of July 5, we have found 68 nests in our patrol area which stretches from the south end of Caladesi Island State Park, through Upham Beach in St. Pete Beach. Our first nest was found on May 5, at Sand Key Park. For the 2009 nesting season our first nest was found on May 23, and as of June 22, 2010 we had found 31 nests. In 2010, we ended up with a total of 119 nests. Hopefully with the start that we have had this year, we will beat last year’s nest numbers.

Generally in our area we only see loggerhead turtle nests, but last year nest 119 was laid by a green turtle. This is the first time CMA has ever recorded a green turtle nest. This year we have already had a few unexpected surprises – we have already recorded two Kemp’s Ridley nests in our area. The last time we’ve seen these in our area was 2002. It’s already been an exciting season and it is still very early.

Nests will start hatching in the next week so it’s about to get even busier. Luckily we had a great turnout at our annual sea turtle nesting volunteer orientation meetings which were held early in June. Along with the team of eager nest sitting volunteers, we also have four enthusiastic interns, Christa, Dana, Emily, and Jessica. Also, Beverly Austin, who was a 2010 nesting intern, has stayed with us and is using her experience to help with morning patrol and to train the new interns.

Adopt a Nest Today!