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The real-life bay watcher

hen people see a whale, dolphin, sea turtle or seal washed up on a beach in Massachusetts, Maine or New Hampshire they alert Belinda Rubinstein ’92, senior animal care technician in rescue and rehabilitation with the New England Aquarium. “We receive close to 500 calls a year,” said Rubinstein. “I consider these inquiries an opportunity to educate the public as well as save a possibly injured animal.”

Her job is to calm the caller, ask questions to assess the situation and dispatch volunteers to the scene for minor problems. If the animal is in serious distress, Rubinstein may go into the field and give treatment or medication. In critical cases she brings the animal back to the New England Aquarium for rehabilitation or further research.

Rubinstein also conducts pinniped (seal, sea lions and walruses) research with the National Marine Fisheries Service. They tracked a 7 ft, 600 lb. female hooded seal from Connecticut to the coast of Newfoundland. “Using a satellite tag we were able to follow her as she traveled the 3000 miles in three days,” said Rubinstein.

Rubinstein has always been interested in marine life. While at Rowan she interned at the State Aquarium in Camden, where she fed fish and cleaned tanks. After graduation she applied and was accepted to Boston University’s marine program. In 1994 she volunteered at the New England Aquarium and three years later earned a full-time position there. She attributes some of her success to her classes in Rowan’s biology department. “Dr. Prieto was a great teacher,” she said, “I learned a lot from him.”

from fall ’99

 
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