And the Winner is…..

And the 2014 MARC Naming Theme Winner is…….

MAINE ISLANDS!

Earning nearly 20% of the public votes, “Maine Islands” was the clear winner of the 2014 MARC Naming Theme.  We are thrilled to have the chance to learn and share information about Maine’s Islands with each and every animal we help this year.  And with over 3000 Maine islands, we’ll certainly have plenty to choose from.   The website waterfrontpropertiesofMaine.com has a nice brief summary of Maine island history.  They state that:

“Maine’s coast has close to 3000 offshore islands – from small granite ledges to Mount Desert Island which encompasses Acadia National Park. Many of these islands represent the tops of mountains formed before the Ice Ages. Most are uninhabited by humans, but all are natural habitats for small sea life, seals, sea birds, plants and animals. Some have thriving villages serviced by daily ferry service from the mainland. A few have only lighthouses. About 1,200 islands comprise an acre or more; roughly 600 of these, representing 95% of Maine’s total island acreage, are owned by individuals.”

We’ve been really excited to reveal the name of our first patient of 2014.  But first, a let’s take a little walk down memory lane.

Back in 2001, The Marine Animal Rehabilitation Center (MARC) opened its hospital doors on the University of New England campus.  In March 2002, the first animal, an adult male harp seal who stranded in Chatham, Massachusetts was rescued by Cape Cod Stranding Network (CCSN) (now a part of International Fund for Animal Welfare, aka IFAW) and sent to MARC for care by Stranding Coordinator, Kristen Patchett.  He was successfully released several months later after treatment for wounds caused by entanglement in fishing gear.

Jump to the year 2006.  After several years at CCSN, Kristen Patchett was hired here at MARC as the Senior Animal Care Technician, eventually taking on the role of Program Coordinator.  Here at MARC, she helped develop hospital protocols, improve animal care practices and was a great role model and resource for our student and community population.  For nearly 8 years, Kristen made MARC her home and helped the program grow to what we are today.

In November 2013, we learned that Kristen would be returning to her roots, joining the IFAW Marine Mammal Rescue Program (formerly known as CCSN), and returning to her previous love: helping stranded cetaceans (dolphins and whales) and pinnipeds on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  Kristen’s departure from MARC was very bittersweet, but we are so lucky that we’ll still be connected to her through the marine mammal stranding network.

On January 1, 2014, Kristen called us from her new position at IFAW.  After years of accepting animals into rehabilitation at MARC, she was calling us to see if we could care for a newly stranded seal on the Cape.  The young male harbor seal was severely dehydrated and suffering from respiratory infection.  We offered him a place here at MARC and he is making great strides towards a full recovery.

Because Kristen has been a part of MARC since our opening, we extended her the honor to select the name for the first seal of 2014.  Kristen’s choice is quite fitting to her return to Cape Cod.  We’d like to officially introduce our first seal, “Cape” (Shown above, photo by Sam Burgie)

“Cape” is listed in the Maine Islands registry as an island in Cape Porpoise, Maine.  For more information, visit here.

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