On Tuesday and Thursday of this week, my colleague Jessi Shupe and I attended the Regional Aquatics Workshop (RAW), hosted by the Virginia Aquarium in Virginia Beach, VA. At the workshop, we attended lecture sessions with different speakers from all over the world!
On Tuesday, the sessions focused on water quality and life support systems, fee-based and animal interactive programs, and fish propogation. It was really neat to see what other facilities do with their animals. I even learned how to get started on any potential animal-interaction programs. I was especially interested in all Jeff Marliave from Vancouver Aquarium had to say on catching and raising wolf eels.
Thursday's sessions focused on husbandry, animal enrichment, and exhibit design. These three sessions were particularly useful to me as an aquarist, and the animal enrichment/behavioral conditioning was especially interesting. I really enjoyed learning how to train eagle-spotted rays and white sea bass to feed by hand. I also walked away with multiple new ideas for changing and maintaining our exhibits.
Overall I had a very pleasant experience at RAW 2011, and I really appreciate the museum allowing us to experience the workshop; we had a great time and learned a lot.