Captain's Log

A Training Team Newsletter - 5.2016


Animal Spotlight: Green Sea Turtle

Chelonia mydas

Tank never fails to catch the attention of guests and team members alike when he settles in the Ocean Voyager tunnel or swims by the theater window. It’s not hard to see why – this male green sea turtle weighs about 450 lbs. (204 kg.) and measures about 5 feet (1.5 m) in length, so he’s nearly impossible to miss! As the only sea turtle currently on exhibit at Georgia Aquarium, Tank plays an important role in helping us spread awareness about all sea turtles and the threats they face in the wild. Next time you’re in Ocean Voyager, share a couple of these facts with a guest and help them appreciate these charismatic reptiles.

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  • This species is the only herbivorous sea turtle.
  • Diet consists of sea grasses and algae.
  • The term "green" in its name is due to the fact that the turtle's subdermal fat is green.
  • Of hard-shelled turtles, this species is the largest.
  • Mating season in southeastern U.S. is April through July, with turtles nesting in late June through early September.
  • "Endangered" on the IUCN Red List.
  • Passes entire life in the ocean, save for hatching and nesting events.
  • Spends much of its time floating at the surface or resting on the substrate.
  • Lifespan in human care averages 75 years.
  • Tank's story: Tank is a long-term human care specimen that was deemed non-releasable because his geographic origins are unknown.

Photo credit: Dr. Al Dove

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Employee Spotlight: Calvin Phillips

If you work or volunteer at Georgia Aquarium, chances are that you’ve met Calvin Phillips. He’s the guy who always has a smile on his face and makes a point to say hello. If this sounds like a lot of people, then good! He’s been setting this example since 2005. Cal enjoys the comradery of the GAI team and naturally, is the volunteer coordinator for his department.

Where does he work? Cal is the Senior Pump Mechanic for Life Support Systems and takes pride in being part of the original LSS/PE team. What does that mean? He maintains and repairs all of the pumps and machinery that ensure appropriate water motion for exhibit systems. For example, the picture above shows Cal with the wave machine and filtration equipment that he maintains for the Kelp Forest exhibit. His dedicated efforts ensure that the machinery works efficiently, helps save power and ultimately ensures that life requirements are sustained for each exhibit.

When asked what advice he would give to new team members, he replied, “Find a mentor so that you always have someone to learn from, keep a smile on your face and contribute to a positive work environment.

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Volunteer Spotlight: Jean Coles

Jean Coles joined the Georgia Aquarium family in 2012. When she retired from teaching, she thought the Aquarium would be an ideal place to enjoy her free time. She and her husband had lived and worked abroad – she had taught biology and chemistry; he had been a foreign services officer. This had enabled her to enjoy people from a variety of cultures. It is her love of interacting with people and sharing her passion for the sciences that makes her an ideal person for our guests to meet.

Jean has volunteered in a variety of roles with the Guest Services, Guest Programs, Entertainment and Education departments. She has conducted surveys, assisted with school groups, helped out in the 4D Theater, worked in the SPA and assisted with Aquarium Wide Events. Her favorite place to volunteer is in our galleries – especially in Tropical Diver and River Scout presented by Southern Company. Talking to guests about animals like the albino alligators really puts a smile on her face. If you’ve ever seen her in action, you’ll know that this puts a smile on our guests’ faces too!

When asked what advice she would give to new team members, Jean replied,” Take as many classes and try as many positions as you can. This will help you find your niche.

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Department Spotlight: Marketing & Communications*

We would like to give a huge shout-out to the Marketing & Communications* team for working so hard to keep our name ever-present in people’s minds. Most people don’t realize that when we say Marketing & Promotions, this includes: Public Relations, Promotions, Marketing, Graphics, AV and Exhibits, Digital Marketing and Content Management. Your collaborative work to keep the gas in our tank is appreciated!

For those who are unaware, this means the planning, logistics and facilitation of community outreach, onsite promotions and fundraisers. It also means the creation and use of signage, digital media and other support materials to keep the public connected with our animals, programs, and of course, our research and conservation efforts. How do they do this? Through advertising, e-newsletters, our social media channels, the GAI website and app, not to mention through our Caring Together videos and Ocean Mysteries with Jeff Corwin series. The most recent campaign, “Become a Fan,” is an excellent example of the team’s creativity toward driving attendance, bringing awareness to our conservation initiatives and encouraging support.

*Correction: An earlier version of this newsletter incorrectly referred to the team as Marketing and Promotions. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.


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Hospitality Corner

Parking Deck Etiquette

Your shift starts in five minutes. The only thing standing between you and the time clock…the parking deck. It can be tempting, in that rush to make the punch, to completely disregard the speed limit signs (did you know our parking deck has speed limit signs?), along with other vehicles and people. Common courtesy and respect for others aside, the way we conduct ourselves when behind the wheel raises safety concerns that are not to be taken lightly. We are a go-to destination for children and families, and we need to be acutely aware of their presence in the deck. If we truly care deeply for each and every guest we serve, that care should extend to our parking deck as well.

So, as a reminder...

The 5 mph speed limit is more than just a suggestion - please follow it - regardless of when your shift begins or ends. We often have children in our deck, whether it is for birthday parties, normal operations or sleepovers, and it is possible for them to dart out from behind or alongside a car. In addition, we often have programs running outside of our typical operating hours, so arriving early or leaving late is no excuse for disregarding parking deck safety.

Please drive carefully!

Safety 101

Automated External Defibrillators

OSHA 3185-09N 2003

  • There are 220,000 victims of sudden cardiac arrest per year in the United States; about 10,000 sudden cardiac arrests occur at work.
  • Waiting for the arrival of emergency medical system personnel results in a survival rate of approximate 5%.
  • Studies with immediate defibrillation have shown the survival rate increase to 74% after sudden cardiac arrest.

Terms to Know:

Automated external defibrillators

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a medical device designed to analyze the heart rhythm and deliver an electric shock to victims of ventricular fibrillation to restore the heart rhythm to normal.

Sudden cardiac arrest

Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when ventricular fibrillation takes place or when the heart stops beating altogether. Without medical attention, the victim collapses, loses consciousness and becomes unresponsive. Most victims have no prior history of heart disease and are stricken without warning.


An AED is compact, lightweight and portable. This medical device is designed to be easy for anyone to operate.

Did you know?

There are currently 19 (plus 2 more with the addition of Pier 225) AED locations throughout GAQ.

Most can be found:

  • near restrooms
  • gallery topsides
  • behind-the-scenes areas

Training is available at GAQ for AED use as well as CPR. This class is available once a month. You will receive a 2-year ASHI certification card.

Seafood Savvy - Recipe of the Month

Thai-Style Tuna Burger

Servings: 4

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Seafood Watch Tuna Recommendations

Not sure what type of canned tuna is best to buy? Check out the Seafood Watch recommendations here.


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a small bowl combine mayonnaise and ginger; transfer 2 Tbsp. to a large bowl. Cover remaining mayonnaise mixture and chill. To the same large bowl add eggs, panko, fish sauce, and Asian chili sauce. Flake tuna and add to bowl. Add celery and green onion and stir. Let stand 10 minutes. With wet hands, shape tuna mixture into four 3/4-inch-thick patties.
  2. Place tuna patties on a greased or foil-lined baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until done (160 degrees F).
  3. To serve, spread ciabatta halves with remaining mayonnaise mixture. Add a tuna patty to bottom half of each bun, bottom side up. Top with pea shoots or micro-greens, thinly sliced peppers, and top buns.
Source: Georgia Aquarium Seafood Savvy Pinterest board

(from Better Homes and Gardens (

for more information visit:

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Looking for the Training Calendar?

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A friendly reminder from the Training team:

While we understand that navigating traffic and the parking deck can be a challenge, we kindly ask that that you plan to arrive to the aquarium 15 minutes ahead of your scheduled class time. Arriving late to class can be distracting to the trainer, the other participants, as well as cause you to miss valuable information. The training staff reserves the right to deny admission to any staff or volunteer that arrives after class has begun. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to Jill Giles, Manager of Training Programs at 404.581.4098 or We look forward to seeing you in class soon!

Georgia Aquarium Training Department

Candice Taylor (4217)

Diana Welty (4208)

Erin Burnett (4324)

Jen Richards (4276)

Terri Frazier (4271)