Otter-things at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

When most people think about otters, they think about sea otters floating around in kelp fields. However, you don’t have to go that far to see the other type of otter that lives in North America, the North American River Otter. It is native to the Chesapeake Bay, but not much research has been done on its populations, habits, and role in the Bay’s food webs. In this talk I’ll share with you basic river otter biology, and introduce you to the research we’re doing at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center related to otters, their behavior, finding latrines, and parasites. We’ll also touch on the newly forming Chesapeake Bay River Otter Alliance.

Speaker: Karen McDonald, STEM Program Coordinator, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.  Karen’s work at the Smithsonian, including the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center as a program coordinator and educator and at the Smithsonian Science Education Center developing curriculum and helping with a video series, spans 15 years. Before entering the environmental education world, Karen did research on birds and bats.  She is a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature Otter Specialist Group and in her spare time she rescues birds of prey for Owl Moon Raptor Center.

For more workshops please check out the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Professional Development page.

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