Christine Hoekenga's blog

This Flu Season, Thank a Horseshoe Crab

Horseshoe Crab in Massachusetts
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Fever. Aching muscles. Coughing. Sniffling. It’s flu season. Have you had your shot? If so, thank a horseshoe crab.

Be Kind to the Beach

Summer Beach

Ah, summer (in the northern hemisphere, anyway). For me, despite growing up in land-locked cowboy country, the word summer has always been synonymous with beach. It’s that time of year when bathing suits come out of hiding, and we make our annual pilgrimages to visit the sun, the sand, and the surf.

A Watershed Moment for the Ocean

Cleaning an Oiled Pelican in Louisiana
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As the days grow long, school bells fade into distant memories, and families start taking long weekends at the beach, the Ocean Portal Team is preparing for the weeks ahead.

The way we see it, June 2010 is going to be a significant month for the ocean.

The Ocean Hits the Big Screen

Cameraman with Sea Nettles
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It may be called Earth Day, but April 22nd is a perfect day to remind ourselves that we actually live on a planet dominated by water. In fact, with 71% of the earth’s surface covered by water, we might just as well call it Planet Ocean.

This year, we’ll have a chance to explore the other three quarters of our planet on the big screen with Disney Nature’s release of Oceans, opening on Earth Day in theaters around Canada and the U.S.

Still Blue After a Century of Ocean Science and Exploration

More Than a Century of Smithsonian Marine Science

This year marks 100 years since the National Museum of Natural History opened its doors, but the Smithsonian’s work in marine science dates back more than 160 years.

Back to School, Ocean Portal Style

Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary Map Project
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At the Ocean Portal, we love the back-to-school season. There’s excitement in the air—new classes, new teachers, new friends, and new subjects to explore. We like to think of a new school year as a fresh opportunity for students of all ages to find something they are passionate about.

This year, we have a recommendation: get passionate about exploration itself.

There are few things in the world more exciting than embarking on a journey to an unfamiliar place, making a novel discovery, or beginning an experiment aimed at solving vexing a mystery.

Diving Into the Carnival of the Blue

Carnival of the Blue Logo

Exciting news for the Ocean Portal blog! We’re happy as clams to be making our inaugural appearance in the Carnival of the Blue, a rotating monthly compilation of the "best of" ocean blogging. This month, Michael Bok, a graduate student studying the visual system of mantis shrimp, is hosting the 39th edition of the carnival on his blog, Arthropoda.

Five Minutes for Mangroves

Former Mangrove Forest

Happy International Mangrove Action Day!

This occasion is a small but vibrant tradition that has been observed annually on July 26th for nearly a decade in countries around the globe, including the U.S., India, Ecuador, Micronesia, and many others. To celebrate, some communities organize protests or restoration projects. Some convene discussions or offer educational lectures about mangrove ecology. Others simply take a moment to appreciate the importance of mangrove forests.

Helping Kids Help the Ocean

International Beach Clean-Up
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An 11-year-old in Texas is saddened by the oil spill and begins searching for something she can do to help.

A 13-year-old in Washington, D.C., convinces her mom to make small changes in their daily routine that make their home more ocean-friendly.

A 7-year-old spends a part of his Saturday trip to the museum learning about the ocean—and some of the things that are harming it—and decides to donate the two prized nickels he found that morning to help the ocean.

From Sea to Shining Sea

Fireworks over water
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Happy (early) Independence Day! For many of us in the United States, the 4th of July is a time to celebrate and reflect on our national heritage. In many ways, the U.S. grew up on the water and remains a maritime nation to this day.

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