Awwws Aplenty: Sea Otter Awareness Week

Visit Morro Bay to eye a display, and take part in activities, in September.

SEA OTTERS, those whiskery, mollusk-craving, thick-of-fur, ocean-floating superstars, aren't terribly difficult to locate, if you have a general sense about where to look. True, many an otter might be seen at an aquarium, but finding one chilling just yards from the shore is not too difficult if you're somewhere along the Central Coast (they do adore calling upon the Great Tide Pool at the Monterey Bay Aquarium). Honoring these magnificent animals, and caring for their future, is an important mission for anyone who cares for the health of the Big Water and all of its denizens. There are numerous organizations that raise money for otter-specific causes, and there is the annual Sea Otter Awareness Week, which seeks to help land-lubbers understand the flipper-rocking mammal beyond its pop culture role in our hearts, storybooks, movies, and toy boxes (sea otter stuffed animals seem to be a staple of every ocean-close gift shop). Get better acquainted with...

FRIENDS OF THE SEA OTTER, one of the backers of Sea Otter Awareness Week, along with the Sea Otter Foundation & Trust, the Minnesota Zoo, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and the Morro Bay National Estuary Program. You can visit the program's Nature Center from Sept. 18 through 24, 2016 — the official dates of the event — to read informational displays (plus there are "coloring activities," too). Even if you can't make it out to the Pacific's edge during the week, or to aquarium or zoo habitat where you can wave at an otter up-close, you can get up to speed on "the various conservation issues facing" this beloved critter. How can you help our sea otters? The furry 411 begins here.

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