Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Inflatable, life-sized model of Salt, the humpback whale.

Salt, our inflatable humpback whale

This week, we finished our inflatable model of Salt, the humpback whale. NECWA staff and interns have been working on this life-sized model since early winter. This model is made from sheet plastic and held together by packaging tape. We made sure that it was anatomically correct in every way from the length of the body to the length of the flippers. And since we created this model after Salt, the most famous humpback whale in the world, we made sure the top of the dorsal had white on it, just like hers.  And we marked in the ventral tail pattern to have her exact pattern.

This model is inflated with a small fan that sits under the tail stock. You can enter Salt through a slit on the right side of her body. Once you get inside, you can't believe how big she is on the inside and out!

We will be debuting this model at our upcoming school program at the Middleboro Memorial Early Childhood Center scheduled for early June. Each spring, NECWA presents these children a fun and hands-on program on marine wildlife. We use Salt as our Ambassador as we tell her story in a fun and meaningful way.

Not only will we have the children view our new life-sized inflatable of Salt, from the inside and out, but we will also get them involved in a number of hands-on activities to help them better understand the biology of marine mammals. They will try out our blubber gloves to see how blubber helps to insulate marine mammals in a cold environment, and they will try their hand at filtering their food in a clean ocean and one filled with marine debris. Can't wait for all the fun!

I want to thank everyone who helped with this inflatable model from the start to the finish. Thanks to the students and parents of Northbrook Academy who helped in the early stages of construction as well as Liz and Ron from Bridgewater State University. Big thanks to Tammy and Tiffany from NECWA during the middle part of construction. But the biggest thanks goes to our intern Rob, for a job well done. Rob worked with Krill on every stage of construction from start to finish. Without his help and constant words of encouragement, I don't think I would have been able to get this model finished in such a timely manner.