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      Thursday, June 23, 2005

    Theresa M. Barbo
    (508) 487-3622 x103
    (774) 353-8034

    Interactive Exhibit on Stellwagen Bank National Marine
    Opens at PCCS Store at Aquarium Mall

    (Provincetown, Cape Cod, MA) - An interactive exhibit on the Gerry E. Studds/Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary - operated by touch-sensitive computer screens that highlight the diversity of the 842-square mile area in Massachusetts Bay - has opened in the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies' (PCCS) Gift Shop at Aquarium Mall, 205 Commercial Street.

    "It's wonderful to keep educational resources accessible to the public," says Paul DeRuyter, owner of Aquarium Mall and a PCCS Advisor. "The public has a 'ready place' to see something where they can learn about the fishing heritage of Provincetown, and the marine environment which supported that culture," he adds.

    NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Fisheries designed the exhibit for all ages, youth to seniors, explains PCCS Store Manager Steve Ruh. The exhibit "is a great venue for field trips for summer schools, church groups or anyone looking to discover what natural wonders exist in their own Cape Cod backyards," Ruh adds. [The National Ocean Service, which manages national marine sanctuaries, is an Office within NOAA Fisheries.]

    A visitor can call up a menu that includes: videos of breaching humpback and right whales; a whale being disentangled of gear; mammals' habitat; and songs of these leviathans. The exhibit explores the biodiversity that is Stellwagen Bank, its archaeological history, its importance to local marine culture and stellar geology. Because the interactive exhibit is so large - it fills an entire room - several people can learn at the same time. Over 12,000 years ago, Stellwagen Bank was above sea level before receding beneath melting glaciers. Not to be missed, according to Ruh, is "an eye-popping map in 3-D revealing tall 'mountains' and deep canyons in Stellwagen Bank."

    Stellwagen Bank, located about 25 miles east of Boston, is a rectangular-shaped underwater plateau stretching from Cape Ann to just north of Cape Cod. This marine protected area lies totally in federal waters and was named for U.S. Navy Lt. Commander Henry S. Stellwagen, the 19th century naval officer who discovered the region while working with the U.S. Coast Survey. In fact, Lt. Commander Stellwagen was the first person to map the region in its entirety in 1854-55. Stellwagen Bank NMS was re-named for retiring U.S. Representative Gerry E. Studds, a 26-year representative and legendary supporter of marine protected areas. [Studds is a former member of the PCCS board of directors.]

    Stellwagen Bank is a traditional and productive fishing ground, especially for flounder, haddock and cod, all groundfish species. Shark, bluefin tuna and herring are on the Bank, too. Its scientific importance and cultural heritage prompted the Center for Coastal Studies and Defenders of Wildlife to nominate Stellwagen as a marine sanctuary. Today, thousands journey onto Stellwagen Bank on Dolphin Fleet whale watch vessels led by PCCS naturalists to see not only humpback, fin, minke and right whales, but Atlantic white-sided dolphin, porpoise, seals and pilot whales and sea birds.


    The PCCS Gift Shop offers marine science books for all ages, and carries toys, field and tote bags, hats, jewelry and other enriching gifts. Included with every T-shirt or sweatshirt purchase is a Fact Sheet about marine mammals that appear on printed apparel. Becoming a PCCS member gets you a free T-shirt and 10% off your purchase(s) throughout the entire store. All proceeds go to the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies.

    Updated information about whale watch cruises and all other PCCS programs is available in the Gift Shop, as well as information on membership. The PCCS Gift Shop is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. Shop hours extend to 7 p.m. beginning July 1 through Labor Day. For more information, call the Gift Shop at (508) 487-6115, especially if your group includes more than 20 people. Visit our kiosk at MacMillan Pier, conveniently located near the Dolphin Fleet whale watch boats, and check out the myriad of colorful hats, sweatshirts and T-shirts.


    The Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies, founded in 1976, is a private non-profit institution dedicated to research and protection of marine mammals and coastal ecosystems. For information on PCCS programs, including our newest marine science education program, MassSail, call PCCS at (508) 487-3622 x101.

    # # #

    Theresa M. Barbo
    Director of Communications
    Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies
    (508) 487-3622 x103 (office)
    (774) 353-8034 (mobile)

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