Local schools learn about minke whales, assemble bones

By Bane Okholm | Mar 08, 2013
Photo by: Bane Okholm Sixth-grader Grace Wrona helps assemble the skeleton of a 24-foot minke whale at Hope Elementary School, Thursday, March 7. The activity — part of the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History's Bones, Baleen and Whale Ecology Program — was sponsored by Partners for Enrichment.

Hope — The George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History's Bones, Baleen and Whale Ecology program on March 7 visited Hope Elementary School to teach students about whale behavior and anatomy.

The program — which was sponsored by Partners for Enrichment — previously that week visited schools in Lincolnville and Appleton.

Carrie Graham, supervisor of Dorr Museum and first-year human ecology student Ariana Rambach instructed students in assembling the skeleton of a 24-foot minke whale, which washed ashore near Mount Desert Island during the 1980s.

Graham said the whale, a 6- or 7-year-old female, was found tangled in lobster gear, and had likely drowned. The whale's bones were subsequently varnished and have since been used in educational programs.

Graham and Rambach taught students about several different types of cetaceans including blue whales, which they said possess hearts the size of cars. Graham said students could theoretically go "swimming in [blue whales'] blood vessels, though I wouldn't recommend it."

Rambach spoke about the work of Allied Whale, COA's marine mammal training and research group. The organization's work includes whale necropsies, which Rambach said are "really long and really, really smelly."

Allied Whale is on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's list of approved organizations to respond to marine mammal strandings. Rambach said the group rehabilitates animals — primarily seals — along the Maine coast with the intent of releasing them "back where they need to go."

Camden Herald reporter Bane Okholm can be reached at 236-8511 ext. 304 or by email at bokholm@courierpublicationsllc.com.

Hope Elementary School students assemble the skeleton of a 24-foot minke whale, Thursday, March 7. The activity — part of the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History's Bones, Baleen and Whale Ecology Program — was sponsored by Partners for Enrichment. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
Sixth-grader Isaac Luce assembles the skeleton of a 24-foot minke whale at Hope Elementary School, Thursday, March 7. The activity — part of the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History's Bones, Baleen and Whale Ecology Program — was sponsored by Partners for Enrichment. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
From left, sixth-graders Kaitlyn Turnbull and Katie Southworth assemble the skeleton of a 24-foot minke whale at Hope Elementary School, Thursday, March 7. The activity — part of the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History's Bones, Baleen and Whale Ecology Program — was sponsored by Partners for Enrichment. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
From left, sixth-graders Charlie Cooper, Henry Cooper, Caleb DiLorenzo and Kaitlyn Turnbull assemble the skeleton of a 24-foot minke whale at Hope Elementary School, Thursday, March 7. The activity — part of the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History's Bones, Baleen and Whale Ecology Program — was sponsored by Partners for Enrichment. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
College of the Atlantic student Ariana Rambach instructs Hope Elementary School sixth-graders as they assemble the skeleton of a 24-foot minke whale, Thursday, March 7. The activity — part of the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History's Bones, Baleen and Whale Ecology Program — was sponsored by Partners for Enrichment. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
Sixth-grader Shelby Miller assembles the skeleton of a 24-foot minke whale at Hope Elementary School, Thursday, March 7. The activity — part of the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History's Bones, Baleen and Whale Ecology Program — was sponsored by Partners for Enrichment. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
Sixth-grader Bryce Tyler assembles the skeleton of a 24-foot minke whale at Hope Elementary School, Thursday, March 7. The activity — part of the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History's Bones, Baleen and Whale Ecology Program — was sponsored by Partners for Enrichment. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
The skeleton of a 24-foot minke whale sits fully assembled at Hope Elementary School, Thursday, March 7. The activity — part of the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History's Bones, Baleen and Whale Ecology Program — was sponsored by Partners for Enrichment. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
College of the Atlantic's Carrie Graham instructs Hope Elementary School sixth-graders about minke whales, Thursday, March 7. The activity — part of the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History's Bones, Baleen and Whale Ecology Program — was sponsored by Partners for Enrichment. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
Hope Elementary School sixth-grader Caleb DiLorenzo examines the fin of a 24-foot minke whale skeleton, Thursday, March 7. The activity — part of the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History's Bones, Baleen and Whale Ecology Program — was sponsored by Partners for Enrichment. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
College of the Atlantic's Carrie Graham shows Hope Elementary School sixth-graders rib placement of 24-foot minke whale, Thursday, March 7. The activity — part of the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History's Bones, Baleen and Whale Ecology Program — was sponsored by Partners for Enrichment. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
From left, Hope Elementary School sixth-graders Charlie Cooper and Henry Cooper regard a vial of preserve krill, Thursday, March 7. The activity — part of the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History's Bones, Baleen and Whale Ecology Program — was sponsored by Partners for Enrichment. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
Sixth-grader Liana Weidman examines a vial of preserved krill at Hope Elementary School, Thursday, March 7. The activity — part of the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History's Bones, Baleen and Whale Ecology Program — was sponsored by Partners for Enrichment. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
From left, College of the Atlantic's Ariana Rambach and Carrie Graham instruct Hope Elementary School sixth-graders from behind the skeleton of a 24-foot minke whale, Thursday, March 7. The activity — part of the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History's Bones, Baleen and Whale Ecology Program — was sponsored by Partners for Enrichment. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
The preserved eyeball of a minke whale stares from a jar of preserving fluid at Hope Elementary School, Thursday, March 7. The activity — part of the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History's Bones, Baleen and Whale Ecology Program — was sponsored by Partners for Enrichment. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
Comments (2)
Posted by: Amy D Russell | Mar 09, 2013 10:22

What an amazing opportunity for the Hope students! Big pat on the back for whoever made this happen.



Posted by: Donald Burr | Mar 09, 2013 10:16

GREAT COVERAGE and photography!



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