Bits 'n' Pieces

Aquarium Offers Free Online Programming

Though it has been closed to the public since mid-March due to the pandemic, the Aquarium of the Pacific has had its virtual doors open to people around the world. With many kids and adults staying at home, the aquarium is offering them free online resources with daily live and on-demand content, including new additions, like the live penguin nest cam.

You can visit the Aquarium’s website or follow their social media channels for live feeds and updates. Here are some of these offerings broken down by age group and all accessible via

Live animal webcams (all ages): Find out which penguin couples decide to build a nest this season with the new nest cam and watch their antics underwater. Take a virtual dive through colorful coral reef habitats teeming with fish or through a lagoon filled with sharks. Feel the tranquility that watching mesmerizing sea jellies can bring, and explore kelp forests with some very big fish. The Aquarium of the Pacific currently features seven webcams where you can experience all of this live, along with accompanying educational resources.

The Daily Bubble show featuring the comedy of the Pacific Pals (all ages): Looking for a laugh while learning? The Pacific Pals hope they can help. This group of puppet characters includes Axl the axolotl, Seymour Shark, Piper the seahorse, Captain Quinn, and the newly added character, Quinn’s son Kevin the crab. You can meet Kevin in this episode, but we won’t say more so we don’t ruin the surprise. In their Daily Bubble show, the Pacific Pals bring you Aquarium news, education, home craft ideas, and updates in their own special way. You can also download Pacific Pals coloring and activity sheets.

Live interactive classes for kids (grades K-12): The kids are home and school is in session with Aquarium of the Pacific educators. These interactive sessions are offered live, and kids can send in their questions via text or email to the aquarium educator, but can also be watched on-demand. The classes are divided by grade levels: Pre-K to second grade; third to fifth grade; sixth to eighth grade; and ninth to twelfth grade, and feature interviews with Aquarium animal experts, live looks at animals, and opportunities to draw with the Aquarium. These classes cover a diverse range of topics, including learning about animals and their habitats, ocean exploration, marine science, and even about careers in the field. Parents can print out certificates of completion for their fin-tastic students at home.

Virtual Visitor Guide embossing activity with digital prize (all ages): Virtually explore the Aquarium’s galleries and search for answers to questions about the animals. You can download the Visitor’s Guide and use the Online Learning Center to find the answers to all eight questions. Once you complete the activity, you’ll unlock a digital surprise, courtesy of the SoCal Honda Dealers Association.

Lifelong learning through the Guest Speaker Series and Aquatic Academy (adults): If you have an interest in environmental subjects, the Aquarium offers a tremendous volume of lecture videos on-demand, featuring scientists, artists, journalists, and Aquarium staff. These lectures cover a wide range of topics, from ocean research and conservation to how we can use art to build connections to nature. Each speaker also records a short aquacast at the aquarium, and that podcast is also archived on the Aquarium’s website. In addition, the Aquarium has made its Aquatic Academy six-part courses a free online resource. These courses feature leading experts teaching adults about environmental topics, including the most recent series from last month about the effects of Earth’s health on human health.

Seafood at home with Seafood for the Future (adults): Looking for recipes to cook at home or ideas on how to make responsible seafood choices? The Aquarium of the Pacific’s Seafood for the Future programs offers online resources to help. This includes the Ocean to Table video series featuring chefs and seafood farmers and its Storied Seafood series, which includes videos in both English and Spanish.

Info: (562)-590-3100 or

Thomas Modica Appointed City Manager

The Long Beach City Council unanimously voted last week to appoint Thomas B. Modica as Long Beach’s next city manager.

Mayor Robert Garcia and the Long Beach City Council provided a joint statement: “Tom has lived in Long Beach for nearly 18 years and has committed his career to our great city. During this current health crisis and for the years before it, Tom has demonstrated excellent leadership and will be a fantastic city manager for Long Beach. We welcome him and look forward to his leadership and stewardship of our organization.”

Through his leadership, Modica has guided the city through some of the city’s most significant projects, initiatives and issues in recent history. He has been instrumental in the city’s financial planning and budgeting, as well as coordination of housing policies including affordable housing, tenant assistance, short term rentals, and coordination of major innovative policies regarding homelessness.

He has championed the city’s innovation and environmental efforts and has been highly involved in major positive shifts in recreational water quality and coastal area project development. He also led efforts for the implementation of the Long Beach Civic Center project and the city’s $150 million infrastructure investment plan, as well as the oversight of the $120 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act investment plan.

Modica will be responsible for the administration of all departments except the City Attorney, City Auditor, City Prosecutor, City Clerk, Civil Service Commission, Harbor Department and Water Department. Leading a team of City Management staff and department directors, Modica will be responsible for providing municipal services for the community and directing and implementing city programs in accordance with City Council policies, the City Charter and the Municipal Code.

Pursuant to the City Charter, Modica was appointed acting city manager on Sept. 21, 2019, following the departure of City Manager Patrick H. West. He has worked for the City of Long Beach for 18 years, starting as a management assistant in 2002, has served in several roles for the city including assistant to the city manager, government affairs manager, director of government affairs and strategic initiatives, deputy city manager and acting director of development services.

He was appointed assistant city manager in 2014, where he was responsible for assisting the city manager in operating the municipal enterprise, including oversight of city departments and leading special projects required to facilitate citywide priorities, programs and initiatives.

Modica lives in Long Beach with his family. Modica’s appointment will start immediately.

Hajat Carroll is the New CCEJ Executive Director

The California Conference for Equality and Justice (CCEJ) announced that Reena Hajat Carroll has been named as executive director of the nonprofit that is dedicated to eliminating bias, bigotry and racism through education, conflict resolution and advocacy.

Hajat Carroll, a seasoned nonprofit and social justice leader with nearly 13 years of executive director experience, shares “I am honored to work in partnership with the board, staff and community to advance CCEJ’s meaningful and relevant mission. Starting a new job during a public health crisis is challenging, but I am grateful that our staff are serving our community as we continue to advocate for justice.”

CCEJ Board Chair Rosecarrie Brooks shares, “I know our entire community will join me in welcoming Reena and providing her with support to successfully take the helm of CCEJ, which includes spearheading the development of new online programs to meet the needs of our community.”

Reena Hajat holds a masters of social work from Washington University in St. Louis Brown School of Social Work with an emphasis on social and economic development and an undergraduate degree in sociology from Occidental College in Los Angeles.

Hajat Carroll’s drive to work collaboratively with underserved communities is rooted in her strong belief that equity and inclusion are not negotiable in any segment of society. This value made her the ideal candidate to take the helm of Diversity Awareness Partnership in St. Louis (2007), which she grew from a one-person/$100,000 budget to a 10-person/$1 million budget organization.

In addition to serving as an executive director, she was also an adjunct faculty for Washington University in St. Louis, lecturing about the corporate and community implications of exclusion and discrimination. Her experience working with corporate clients, schools, and the St. Louis community in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson make her a sought-after speaker and trainer.

Hajat Carroll has trained over 11,000 people throughout the United States on issues of diversity, inclusion, equity and the importance of using dialogue instead of debate as a means to understand different perspectives.


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