Cristobal’s driftwood to become part of Mississippi Aquarium

Updated: Jun. 11, 2020 at 6:40 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Mother Nature left a big mess on the beach this week, but that has created an opportunity for the Mississippi Aquarium.

The Gulfport facility plans to recycle driftwood deposited on the beach by Tropical Storm Cristobal.

“They’re very beautiful, they’re going to look great in our exhibits,” said Alison Goetz, one of the aquarium’s animal care specialists who was working hard to move a huge section of wood from the beach to a waiting trailer.

The staff has been on the lookout for pieces of driftwood since the storm, and with blessings from Harrison County Sand Beach Authority, they have been busy gathering them. The pieces will become part of the habitats at the aquarium still under construction in Gulfport.

“We have a great crew,” Goetz said. “We’ve got a lot of girl power, of course, we’ve got our guys too, but we have a great crew and we are all so thrilled to be a part of this Mississippi Aquarium family together.”

“The crew that we have, all animal care personnel, they are strong, determined and ready,” said Ric Urban, vice president of animal care and conservation at the aquarium. “This is the dedication that you have at the Mississippi Aquarium. They take care of the animals with this dedication as well.”

The biology and marine science majors were more than willing to dig and scratch in the sand to help make the aquarium the best it can be.

“We are all just so thrilled,” Goetz said. “we have been working hard, and as you can see we are animal care staff, but we wear a lot of hats at this point as we get ready to get our aquarium opened.”

The aquarium was originally scheduled to open in April, but COVID-19 had put an indefinite delay on the opening.

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