Injured Baby Harbor Seals! The Marine Mammal Center.

Solar panels over the healing tanks for the seals and sea lions

Visited the Marine Mammal Center in the Marin Headlands this weekend. It was a gorgeous, sunny day before the fourth of July and I figured it would be mobbed! There were plenty of volunteers on hand and I found out the MMC is open almost every day except for two major holidays. 

The MMC rescues injured marine mammals, like harbor seals and sea lions, from all over the California coast. Reading through the exhibits, we learned about Niblet, the elephant seal and other patients of the MMC – animals that had been shot by humans, abandoned by their parents, injured by boats, or entangled in fishing line and plastic trash. As it turned out, plastic trash is a major focus of the Center – so much so that they were hosting a really unique exhibit of sealife-themed art sculptures created from ocean debris and plastic trash collected from beaches. 

That’s me inside the artistic recreation of the Pacific trash gyre

A great community art project headed up by Angela Pozzi, the Washed Ashore Exhibit is still open, so check it out! It is disconcerting to see such elegant and colorful sculptural forms recreated entirely from ocean trash – some pieces many decades old. The diversity of shape, color, texture, and size of trash collected makes an impact on the viewer. 

Fish created from the soles of foam flip flops. 

A seal!

The take-home message, of course, is to reduce trash disposal in our oceans – and to reduce our consumption of plastics. This isn’t always possible – I bought a product from the drugstore today, for example, that was enclosed in one of those horrible plastic clamshells – and you don’t always have a choice in how your products are packaged. However, plastic bags – which can easily drift or blow into the ocean – plastic water bottles, which are often thrown out instead of recycled, and discarded fishing lines and lures, are culprits in many of the injuries and deaths seen by the MMC. These products are also easy to avoid using if you choose to reuse a plastic or cloth bag or a resuable water bottle – the fishing nets, lines, and lures are a bit more difficult a problem to be sure. 

A fish of trash.

Make sure you visit the sick seals next time you drive across the Golden Gate Bridge to visit beautiful Rodeo Beach. If you’re lucky, this exhibit will still be up. 


It’s handicapped accessible!

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