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Sea Otter Savvy

Sea Otter Science And Community Outreach

Color Me Savvy

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For those indoor-activity days, we have sea otter savvy coloring pages to inspire artists and doodlers young and old. Click the link below any of the options in the gallery below to download and print our coloring pages at home. Got masterpieces? Share and tag @SeaOtterSavvy on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter!

Murphy Otter Coloring Pages

Murphy Otter Coloring Pages

Check out these new super savvy designs created by young cartoonist Murphy Otter! Follow Murphy Otter on YouTube, Instagram, and Fiverr.

Printable Coloring Pages

Mermaid Scientist Mandala

Mermaid Scientist Mandala

Love this mandala? See more from the talented Mermaid Scientist at: https://mermaidscientist.com/

Printable Coloring Pages

Sea Otter Headbands

Sea Otter Headbands

  1. Color
  2. Cut out
  3. Attach posterboard strip with staples or tape to wear as a headband

Printable Coloring Pages

Kelp Connection Activity: Do it Yourself!

The Kelp Connection activity in action!The Kelp Connection activity in action!

The Activity 

Be part of the kelp forest community! The kelp connection demonstrates organisms are interconnected. Students act as members of the kelp forest community, showing the important role sea otters play in keeping that web together.

The Kelp Connection cardsThe Kelp Connection cardsStudents are given cards with photos of various kelp forest animals including a sea otter, sea urchin, and one for the kelp forest. Give out lengths of cord to link each “animal” to the kelp forest. A cord also links the sea otter to the urchin. If the otter is removed, the urchin population can grow and wipe and destroy the kelp forest, creating an urchin barren. Have the student with the otter card drop their cord. What happens then? The urchin population can grow and destroy the kelp by eating it at the base. Have the student representing the kelp forest drop all the ends of their cords, which leaves the animals because the community is no longer there. Click here for a diagram that should help you visualize the web.

How to make it yourself 

Materials needed for kelp forest activity:

  • Photos of kelp forest residents (click here to use ours!)
  • Printer
  • Good quality printer paper or cardstock
  • Laminator (optional)
  • Hole puncher
  • Yarn, string, or light rope

Instructions:

Print out cards of various animals that use or live in kelp. If the cards are to be reused it is a good idea to laminate them. Alternatively, you can print them on cardstock, but they won't be as durable as the laminated cards.  Punch two holes at the upper side of each card. Run yarn through the holes and tie so the cards hang from the necks of the students like necklaces, with the photos facing out. Cut lengths of cord about 5 feet long. Cut enough so there is one for each “animal” and the kelp forest, plus one extra one for the link between the sea otter and kelp.

Have feedback on this activity or these instructions? Let us know at !

How to Apply Your Sea Otter Savvy Kayak Sticker

Kayak decal 350Our watercraft stickers are designed as a way for kayak, stand-up paddleboard, or electric boat rental customers to take a sea otter savvy reminder with them even after they've left the beach or dock. These appealing stickers are provided free by Sea Otter Savvy to cmmercial, private, and educational outfitters—just send a request to

Are you ready to apply our Sea Otter Savvy stickers to you kayak or paddleboard fleet? Just a few simple steps can assure stronger adherence and assure the stickers remain tightly attached to your boats. 

 

Step 1: Identify location for placing the sticker. Choose places where the sticker will be easily seen by the paddler, while also considering the potential for wear and surface smoothness. Stickers will not adhere to textured surfaces or those coated with wax or UV protectant. 

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Step 2: Clean the surface thoroughly with denatured alcohol to remove dirt, sand, and any other residue. 

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Step 3: Sand area smooth.

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Step 4: Apply heat to the surface with a acetylene torch or blow dryer until the surface is hot.

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Step 5: Position sticker and smooth out carefully. You may apply one more blast of heat and smooth the sticker again.

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These steps can be accomplished in 10 minutes and will greatly increase the durability of your stickers. For support with sticker application or if you need more stickers, email .  Special thanks to the staff of Monterey Bay Kayaks for testing, evolving, and sharing these methods! 

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Thanks to all the outfitters on the California coast who have put these stickers on their fleet:

Blubber Glove Activity: Do it Yourself!

The Activity

activities blubber gloveThis activity demonstrates how the blubber layer that other marine mammals (like seals, sea lions, dolphins, and whales) have, protects them from the cold. Ask your students line up. Remind them that sea otters don't have blubber and they have a luxurious fur coast to keep them warm.  If sea otters fur gets dirty, or if they aren't able groom it well enough, they can feel the cold ocean (like the ice water in this activity). Sea otters have to do a lot of grooming to keep their fur waterproof.

Explain blubber glove activity and ask students to predict which hand will feel the warmest.

Students dip a hand protected in a “blubber glove” in ice water and compare to the other hand dipped in ice water without protection. We recommend students make a fist before putting their hand in the blubber glove to avoid tearing or flooding the glove.You may want to attach a blubber glove to the ice water container using a big clip to avoid flooding.

activities blubber glove expressionWhich hand is warmer? Does the hand in the blubber glove feel the cold water at all? How would students feel if they were swimming in cold water? What would happen to a sea otter if the cold water got to their skin? If students are familiar with Scuba diving, ask how the sea otter's fur is like a suit divers wear.

Have a towel ready to dry each student's hand an wipe up drips.

 

 

 

How to make the blubber gloves

Gather these materials to make two blubber gloves:

  • 4 freezer Ziplock quart bags (2 for each bag)
  • 4 sticks of Crisco (2 for each bag)
  • sturdy plastic wrapping tape and duct tape (if you want to try that step)

Step by step:

Use the Ziploc freezer quart bags (those are sturdier than the regular quart bags). You will need 2 Ziploc bags for each blubber glove.

It is easier to use the Crisco sticks than to try and scoop the stuff out of a can and in between the bags. You will need 2 Crisco sticks for each bag.

Place one Ziploc bag inside another.

Place one Crisco stick in between each side, being careful to not get it inside the center bag or on the upper edges. You will have to play with it a bit to get the technique down. Gently unwrap the stick except for one side and loosely cover it again so when you are sliding there won’t be globs that get on the outside or top edges.

activities blubber glove sample2Once the stick is inside, toward the bottom, unroll the wrapper and remove it, being careful to avoid a mess. Using the sticks is faster and not as frustrating as scooping and inserting. But there is no right or wrong way – whatever works for you is the way to go.

Gently mash the Crisco on each side to create a uniform layer inside the double bag.

We use the sturdy plastic packing tape to enclose the tops. This is tricky too. It can be easier to use smaller pieces than try to wrap all around the entire top in one piece. We start with the long sections and tape those, then the corners (straightening them helps). Several layers are needed to firmly tape the bags at the top. Go down the side a bit in consecutive layers. Optional: Use duct tape to seal the inside layer for added protection and placed duct tape along the inside bottom. Taping the inside bottom is said to protect from ripping by fingernails.

There you go! You are ready for the blubber glove activity!

Vocabulary words:

Blubber: a layer of fat that protects most marine mammals from the cold ocean

Grooming: The things that you do to make your appearance clean and neat (for example: brushing your hair and teeth), OR the things that  animals do to keep their fur in good condition.

Marine mammal: a mammal that lives in the ocean. Examples from California: harbor seals, sea lions, elephant seals, dolphins, orcas, gray whales, humpback whales, sea otters.

Volunteer

citizen science cal poly 400x300WHY MONITOR SEA OTTER ACTIVITY?

Sea Otter Savvy, US Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Monterey Bay Aquarium and Friends of the Sea Otter invite you to join efforts to monitor sea otter behavior and activity at selected locations on the central California coast.

Research is an important component of the Sea Otter Savvy program. Our goal is to assess and mitigate the effect of marine recreation activities on sea otters. In order to better understand the effects of human-caused disturbance as well as assess the efficacy of program measures, we are monitoring sea otter behavior in designated study areas while simultaneously monitoring the proximity of water craft and other potential sources of disturbance. Our Citizen Science Team collects data that will be analyzed, published, and used to informed agencies tasked with protecting sea otters in California. 

Volunteers are needed to help observe sea otters, and record data on behavior, presence of disturbance stimuli and other information. 

CITIZEN SCIENTISTS—WHAT YOU’LL DO

volunteers02Citizen science team members work in pairs to complete scan “sessions” within designated areas. During each 2-hour scan session, observers will scan a defined area every 15 minutes using binoculars or spotting scope and record data for each otter within that area. Data will include sea otter behavior, group size, proximity and type of water craft, and certain environmental factors. Between scans observers  engage with the public, providing information about the research they are conducting, sea otter natural history and conservation, and responsible wildlife viewing. Volunteers in San Luis Obispo county may also participate in weekly counts of sea otters in Morro Harbor.

TIME COMMITMENT

Volunteers are required to commit to at least 1 3-5-hr shift per week for a minimum period of 3 months. We will be collecting data across all daylight hours and each shift may be variably scheduled between dawn and dusk.

REQUIREMENTS

All volunteers should have:

  • An interest in sea otter behavior, natural history and conservation
  • A calm, friendly, helpful demeanor when interacting with the public
  • Skill with binoculars and spotting scope
  • Strong attention to detail and the ability to work well independently and as part of a team
  • Excellent organizational and record keeping skills
  • The ability to conduct outdoor work in a variety of weather conditions
  • A valid driver’s license and a personal vehicle that can be used for travel to and from field sites
  • A cell phone, since communication in the field is essential
  • Experience in field data collection and data entry is desired but not essential

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

All volunteers are trained how to observe sea otters, how to recognize a range of sea otter behaviors, and how to create records of their observations consistent with project methods and objectives.

Volunteers will be provided with training and materials so that they may provide accurate information relevant to project objectives with the public. 

Patience, a good sense of adventure, and a strong desire to learn about sea otters and contribute to their conservation.

school web activity 400x300OTHER VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

Outreach and Education: These team members will assist with special events, workshops, school presentations and more. Outreach volunteers will help share information ranging from sea otter natural history, the important role of sea otters in coastal ecosystems, recognition and understanding of human-caused disturbance, and effective action for preventing disturbance and harassment with people of all ages. They will guide visitors in participation in a range of interactive educational activities and serve as ambassadors for sea otters and Sea Otter Savvy. Outreach volunteers contribute as needed based on scheduled events. If you are interested in working with kids, our Sea Otter Savvy in the Classroom program might be for you! Join our team as they head out to classrooms throughout Central California sharing hands on, engaging activities that foster knowledge and stewardship of sea otters.

" I love going to the schools because kids are the future and the best way to enforce conservation of wildlife is to embed its principles into the minds of the next generation. I find it so fulfilling and enriching to teach and learn from children of all ages and to see what they know and what they can teach me." – Ashley Y. Sea Otter Savvy team member

Organization: We are always looking for help with administrative and organizational duties necessary for the growing program. Sea Otter Savvy is currently recruiting volunteers for help with:

  • Volunteer team management
  • Social Media
  • Graphic Design

TO APPLY OR ASK QUESTIONS

Contact Gena Bentall
Program Coordinator, Sea Otter Savvy

pdfDownload our volunteer application.

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