A Whale of a Story
So many things draw us to the Mendocino Coast: the rugged beauty of a rocky coastline, bountiful local seafood, wild mushrooms carpeting the forest floor, and a community of people happy to be living exactly where they are. Soon, there will be another, very BIG reason to visit Fort Bragg. The largest animal on earth- the blue whale- will soon be the feature exhibit in the Noyo Center for Science and Education, a new state-of-the-art research and education center planned for development on the former Georgia Pacific mill site.
The story of the blue whale’s final home is one of triumph over tragedy. When the 73-ft blue whale suffered a lethal strike by a ship’s propeller and washed up in a cove in Fort Bragg in 2009, a determined team of community volunteers decided to work together to turn the tragedy into something good. With the help from whale experts, these folks carried 70 tons of whale up a 40 foot cliff and buried the bones in the forest to be cleaned. This ignited the community’s desire to see a marine center on the mill site, and during the four years the whale bones were buried, the City of Fort Bragg made significant progress planning for the Noyo Center, purchasing the project site from Georgia Pacific, and hiring an architect to design the project. When completed, the Noyo Center will be a showcase for “green” sustainable development, and have an education and research emphasis on sustainable fisheries and forestry practices that honors Mendocino’s deep connections to the coastal environment.
New Executive Director Hired
All of us in Fort Bragg have been celebrating the selection of Sheila Semans, executive Director of the Noyo Center. In her new position, Semans has the job of restoring the Blue Whale skeleton, and leading the fundraising effort to build the Noyo Center. Semans comes to us with two decade of experience in marine science and policy, most recently as a project specialist for the Coastal Conservancy and the California Ocean Protection Council. Keep you eyes open for future notices from Semans about volunteer opportunities to help with the bones!
You Can Help
Once completed, the Noyo Center for Science and Education will provide the venue to learn about our coast and ocean with leading research and innovative and engaging public exhibits. But they need your help to make it happen. If you’d like to make a tax-deductible donation to either the Blue Whale Project or the Noyo Center development, please contact Sheila Semans at firstname.lastname@example.org