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FOR RELEASE: Immediately
DATE: February 21, 2012
CONTACT: Kaddee Lawrence: (206) 592-3057,
Lisa Skari: (206) 870-3705,

Gray whale skeleton to be unveiled at HCC’s MaST Center

Whale display opens at Highline’s Marine Science and Technology Center

DES MOINES, Wash. —Highline Community College’s Marine Science and Technology Center (MaST) announces the arrival of its newest resident, a 40 foot long gray whale skeleton.  The unveiling ceremony and activities will be held March 3, 2012 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free and the public is encouraged to attend. 

“This truly has been a community project,” said Dr. Kaddee Lawrence, director of the MaST Center.  Nearly 1,100 hours of volunteer work and significant donations and resources from KeyBank, Foss Waterway Seaport, Cascadia Research Collective, Flying Colors Painting and United Rentals made the display a reality.   

The exhibition, “2010 Arroyo Gray Whale, Footprints of a Whale,” features the 1,700 pound gray whale skeleton. Interactive displays will be open through April, and include the blubber, unusual contents of the stomach, a smell station, slideshows and other unique ways to provide insight into the life of the whale. The preservation of the original baleen intact in the skeleton makes this gray whale display unlike any other on the west coast.

The gray whale’s arrival to the MaST Center has been a long process, nearly two years in the making.  The three to five year old male whale was discovered beached in April 2010 on Arroyo beach in West Seattle.  Highline’s MaST Center received the carcass for research and education.  Following the decomposition process, it moved to the Foss Waterway Seaport for assembly prior to its permanent display across the ceiling of the MaST Center. 

“We’ve created something that will continue to tell its story and turn a sad moment into something to celebrate,” said Rus Higley, manager of the MaST Center. “By displaying the Arroyo Gray Whale at HCC’s MaST Center, we give the community a chance to truly appreciate these magnificent animals.”

The MaST Center is located at 28203 Redondo Beach Dr. S. in Des Moines, Wash. For questions on the whale or event details contact Dr. Kaddee Lawrence at

Highline Community College was founded in 1961 as the first community college in King County. With approximately 18,900 annual students and 350,000 alumni, it is one of the state’s largest institutions of higher education. The college offers a wide range of academic transfer and professional-technical education programs, with day, evening and weekend classes. Alumni include former Seattle Mayor Norm Rice, entrepreneur Junki Yoshida and Washington state poet laureate Sam Green.

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