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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UA Students find Nemo during Volunteer Spring Break

    The UA’s Marine Awareness and Conservation Society went to Long Beach, Calif. to practice habitat restoration and learn about local marine conservation issues.

    MACS helped restore Los Cerritos Wetlands with local conservation organization Tidal Influence. The club also visited the Aquarium of the Pacific to gain more aquatic knowledge for its outreach campaigns.

    Focusing on raising awareness about marine conservation issues, MACS spreads its message through public outreach and hands-on activities.

    “We can’t just turn back the clock,” said Whitney Graves, a naturalist with Tidal Influence.

    Graves explained that the goal of the restoration work is not to make the land look like it did before, but help the wetlands thrive to the best of its ability by removing invasive species.

    MACS members along with other volunteers were separated into two groups. One focused on removing invasive black mustard and the other helped to clear fallen palm fronds from the site, which is nestled between shops just a few blocks from Seal Beach, Calif.

    “It was interesting taking out all those plants,” said Rebecca Van Ness, an ecology and evolutionary biology freshman and MACS member. “It’s not what I pictured when I pictured wetlands.”

    Although it may seem counter intuitive to remove the plants, but Van Ness said that by removing the invasive plants it made room for the native species to return.

    A behind the scenes tour of the Aquarium of the Pacific allowed members to explore parts of the aquarium to which only employees and volunteers typically have access.

    Tour guide Lauretta Byrd showed the group a fridge containing bloodworms, squid, clams and shrimp, which are feed to the aquariums variety of animals.

    “Just look at all the pickings in here,” she said.

    After looking at aquarium food, the MACS group went to the top of a large aquarium where scuba divers were preparing to enter the water. The divers feed the predators in the tank at scheduled intervals throughout the day.

    Byrd handed out dried seaweed to the tour group, so they could feed fish in the aquariums.

    Van Ness, who said she especially enjoyed feeding the fish, emphasized the importance of marine conservation.

    “Most of the world is covered in water so it is important to keep it clean,” she said.

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