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Go Fish

The SeaDoc Society is sponsoring fish and invertebrate identification classes for those interested in learning more about the many creatures living in our waters.

Although the courses are designed for SCUBA divers, they will be of interest to anyone who appreciates our marine ecosystem and is eager to learn more about aquatic wildlife.

The adult-level classes, which are free, will also prepare divers and snorkelers to conduct REEF (Reef Environmental Education Foundation) marine life identification surveys in the Pacific Northwest. Participants will learn how to identify about 45 fish and 45 invertebrates.

The schedule is as follows: Friday, July 28, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Pacific NW fish ID class; 1 p.m.-5 p.m., optional dive, depart from and return to West Sound dock. Saturday, July 29, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Pacific NW invertebrate ID class; 1 p.m.-5 p.m., optional dive, also leaving from the West Sound dock.

Please bring a sack lunch to eat in class if you plan to go diving. Completion of the class quiz plus two dive surveys will qualify attendees as REEF level 2 surveyors. Deep Sea Charters is operating the dives, which will be $65 for two tank dives.

Janna Nichols of REEF is instructing the classes. The REEF Survey Project allows volunteer SCUBA divers and snorkelers to collect and report information on marine fish and invertebrate populations. The data are collected using a fun and easy standardized method, and are housed in a publicly accessible database on REEF's website (www.reef.org). These data are used by a variety of resource agencies and researchers.

The classes will be held at the West Sound Community Center, on Deer Harbor Road in West Sound, Orcas. Go to www.westsoundhall.org for directions and parking information.

The registration deadline is July 27 and space is available on a first come, first served basis. Send an email with your name, mailing address and phone to Lavonne Hull at lwhull@ucdavis.edu and indicate whether you will attend both sessions or one only. Also mention if you plan to go diving.

To make reservations for the dives, contact Deep Sea Charters, Captain David Patterson, 360-661-6101 or 360-658-5024, (www.deepseacruise.com). Space is available for 16 divers.

Visit www.seadocsociety.org to learn more about the innovative work the SeaDoc Society is doing to promote the health of our marine ecosystem and wildlife.

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