Posting by Caroline Seitz

Jennifer Rafter was one of the first staff members of Reptiles Alive.  She started in 1999 and has been an important part of our team ever since.  Caring for our animals, rehabilitating injured wildlife, and presenting awesome live animal shows were all part of her contribution here.

Jennifer has moved on from Reptiles Alive to become the Aquarium Curator at the Delmarva Discovery Center. It is a brand new museum in Pocomoke MD that showcases the culture and natural history of the Delmarva Peninsula with a focus on the Pocomoke River.

I had the chance to visit Jen at her new job last week – and I am SO EXCITED for her.  The Discovery Center is fabulous.  The cultural exhibits are up and they are very good.  Children and adults will enjoy the various interactive displays and hands-on activities the center offers.  But the best is soon to come…

A 7,000 gallon aquarium was just installed and Jen is spending all her time getting it sealed, plumbed, and working.  It takes A LOT of work to get an aquarium of that size up and running.  It took almost 12 hours just to the aquarium through the Center’s doors and installed in the display area!

The Pocomoke City Fire Department was called to fill the aquarium for its first water test.  After the test, the tank was drained so that concrete features such as fallen trees and branches can be added.  After the plumbing and concrete work is done, the fire department will re-fill the aquarium.

Jen will then spend time cycling the water to prepare it for the fish.  Live bass, catfish and other fish found in the Pocomoke River will be featured in the aquarium, but the star attraction will be the sturgeon.

In addition to the large aquarium, the Discovery Center also has touch tanks that allow visitors to touch animals such as snails, horseshoe crabs and more.  Jen will also be adding live reptile and amphibian displays.

Special events such as a Haunted Halloween tour, lectures, art classes and other fun activities are offered at the Center.  Activities adjacent to the Center include a special Pocomoke River boat cruise tour, a boardwalk trail through a naturally occurring cypress swamp, and shopping at art galleries and boutiques in the beautiful town of Pocomoke.  Of course you can also visit Chincoteague, VA, Ocean City, MD and Assateague National Seashore which are all about 30 minutes away.

I am sad to see her go – but I am so excited for her too!  Jen’s new home and new job are really awesome and I know she is going to have a great time.  I urge anyone who visits the Eastern Shore to visit the Delmarva Discovery Center and say hello to Jen.

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