Tuesday, August 25, 2009

More Otters! Sea Otter Awareness Week

Sea Otter Awareness Week is September 27- October 3. Defenders of Wildlife organizes and promotes Sea Otter Awareness Week every year to educate people about the importance of sea otters in the marine ecosystem (sea otters are considered a "keystone" species*) and about various research and conservation programs. There are a variety of otter related events happening throughout the country with the most sea otter related events occurring throughout California. For more information about the various events going on, check out the Defenders of Wildlife website.

One of the special events going on in honor of Sea Otter Awareness week is a sea otter arts exhibit being sponsored by The Otter Project. There is a special opening night wine reception on Friday, September 25. The exhibit runs until October 24th at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History. The Otter Project is currently accepting submissions of otter-themed artwork for the exhibit until September 18. For more information on submitting artwork or attending the event, visit their Facebook fan page. The Otter Project is looking for artwork that is "focused on or inspired by sea otters, the ecosystems they inhabit, the near-shore coastal ocean, or issues that affect sea otters such as pollution, conservation management, species interactions, etc."

*From the Defenders of Wildlife website: In the marine ecosystem, sea otters are considered "keystone species," meaning that their presence or absence has a significant impact on other marine species and marine ecosystems. Sea otters help sustain vital kelp forests by feeding on the shellfish and other plant-eating species that would otherwise consume kelp forests. Kelp forests, in turn, serve as important nursery grounds for many types of fin fishes.

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