Captain's Log

A Training Team Newsletter - 4.2016


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Animal Spotlight: Banded Archerfish

Toxotes jaculatrix

They may be small, but banded archerfish pack quite a punch. If you've been lucky enough to catch a feeding in person, you'll know why - they can shoot droplets of water up to 5 feet (60 inches)! That's particularly remarkable for a species that typically reaches about 8 inches (20 cm) in length. Make sure you take a few extra moments to admire these powerful little fish next time you're walking through River Scout, and share them with the guests around you - they'll be amazed too!

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  • Occurs from India eastward to the Philippines and south to Indonesia, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Northern Australia.
  • Found primarily in brackish mangrove estuaries, but also penetrates adjacent rivers and small streams.
  • Feeds at the surface during the daytime on floating debris which includes insects and plant material.
  • Renowned for its ability to "shoot down" insect prey by expelling beads of water from its mouth with considerable force.
  • Shooting range is about 60 inches (150 cm).
  • Uses its jaw muscles to pump water through a tube formed by its tongue and a unique channel in the roof of its mouth. The stream of water droplets knocks its prey into the water where it is easily devoured.
  • Can compensate for visual refraction while looking from beneath the water surface to a target in the air above.
  • Very accurate aim due to special adaptions in the eye which give it an unusually large area on the retina in which it can focus an image and still have the image be clear.
  • "Least Concern" on the IUCN Red List.
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Employee Spotlight: Jennifer Gaither

Leading By Example!

Jennifer has been a dedicated member of the GAI family with Guest Programs since 2005. For more than ten years, she has represented Georgia Aquarium with kindness, respect and positivity. You have seen her engaging guests in the galleries, conducting Behind the Seas Tours, mentoring new team members (both staff and volunteers alike) and pretty much stepping into any role they ask of her. Her gentle, unassuming way has made countless people feel the need to contact our leadership and emphasize how much of a difference Jennifer made in their visit. She was drawn to Georgia Aquarium by the opportunity to be around animals and talk with guests about them so that they will feel inspired to help preserve them.

She is a model of dedication in word and deed. In addition to inspiring others to support conservation, Jennifer has "walked the walk" in her free time. She has been volunteering with our Fish and Invertebrates team since 2011. What does she do? She helps with food prep in the Commissary, feeds animals when asked and helps with habitat maintenance. Outside of the Aquarium, she supports wildlife rehabilitation with AWARE (Atlanta Wild Animal Rescue Effort). Does this organization sound familiar? It is where the opossum recently found in our parking deck went. When asked what advice she likes to share with new members of the team, Jennifer smiled and replied, "Embrace change, strive to do your best in your role and LOVE what you do!"

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Department Spotlight: Sea Lion Team

We would like to give a huge shout-out to the Sea Lion Team for their dedication and hard work in preparation for the opening of the SunTrust Pier 225 gallery.

You have done so much in a relatively short time - it truly is impressive!

  • You sent team members to provide support for the rescue and rehabilitation efforts of the Unusual Mortality Event victims in California.
  • Your vision and expertise was instrumental in the planning and design of our new gallery.
  • Your dedication to animal comfort, enrichment and safety has been obvious in the countless hours of reinforcing behaviors to develop a trust bond with the sea lions.
  • Last, but certainly not least, your flexibility and generosity in including the rest of us in the sea lions' desensitization process to life at GAI has been such a delight! We appreciate the opportunity to enjoy glimpses of their growth and development.

For all of these reasons and so many more, we thank you!


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  • Palometa occur in the Western Atlantic from Massachusetts and Bermuda south to Argentina, including the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Found in shallow water above sandy bottom and near coral and rocky reefs, usually at depths of 1 to 35 feet (1 to 10.7 m).
  • Palometa is also known as the banner pompano and the longfin pompano.
  • Usually encountered in small schools.
  • This species has been known to be attracted by bubbles and will curiously approach divers.
  • "Least Concern" on the IUCN Red List.
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Content updates for the month of MARCH

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Hospitality Corner

Who are we?

In this edition, a reminder of why we do what we do.

Our Purpose


Making a difference by helping people see the world differently.

Our Core Values

We amaze to inspire

We care deeply

We share knowledge

We respect everyone

Our Essence

Make a difference

Safety 101

PPE: Protective Footwear

OSHA 1910.136(a)

General requirements. The employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses protective footwear when working in areas where there is a danger of foot injuries due to falling or rolling objects, or objects piercing the sole, or when the use of protective footwear will protect the affected employee from an electrical hazard, such as a static-discharge or electric-shock hazard, that remains after the employer takes other necessary protective measures.

This is OSHA’s general standard for protective footwear. Here at GAQ our requirement is that you wear closed-toe and heel shoes with non-slip soles. This is for your protection from wet surfaces in front-of-house and behind-the-scenes areas. The floors are concrete and also painted in some areas, which can be slippery wet or dry.

Be safe and wear safe shoes!

Seafood Savvy - Recipe of the Month

Pan-Seared Trout with Pecan Browned Butter

Servings: 4

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Pan-Seared Trout

Preheat the oven to 200°F. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with canola oil and place in the oven to warm.

Combine the pecans, breadcrumbs, and parsley in a shallow bowl or pie plate. Season with salt and pepper. Press the flesh side of each fillet into the pecan mixture.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place 2 trout in the pan, crust side down, and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and cook until fish is opaque in the center and just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer the trout to the prepared baking sheet, crust side up. Place the baking sheet in the oven. Repeat the process with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the remaining 2 trout fillets. Transfer to warmed serving plates and serve immediately, garnished with the lemon.

Pecan Brown Butter

Basic panfried trout is elevated to brilliant when dressed with Pecan Brown Butter. Wipe the skillet clean with paper towels. Add 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter and melt over medium heat. Allow the butter to foam and turn medium brown, swirling the pan occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat, add the finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon, 1/4 cup chopped pecans, and 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley; season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place the trout, crust side up, on warmed serving plates. Drizzle with the pecan butter. Serve immediately.

Source: Georgia Aquarium Seafood Savvy Pinterest board


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Georgia Aquarium Training Department

Candice Taylor (4217)

Diana Welty (4208)

Erin Burnett (4324)

Jen Richards (4276)

Terri Frazier (4271)