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Bermuda Youth Sign Sargasso Sea Declaration
Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Bermuda’s young people are setting the example for environmental awareness and conservation by signing a declaration to protect the Sargasso Sea.

Students will highlight Sargasso Sea at conference
Thursday, March 13, 2014

More than 80 Island schoolchildren are taking part in the biennial Bermuda Zoological Society’s (BZS) Youth Conference this week.

Protecting The Sargasso Sea Youth Conference
Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Bermuda Zoological Society’s [BZS] biennial Youth Conference is a two-day programme for middle and secondary students who have demonstrated interest and leadership in conservation and the environment.

Cahow Fossils Excavated In Southampton
Monday, March 10, 2014

The most recent newsletter of the Bermuda Zoological Society outlined the recent excavation of Cahow fossils in Southampton.

Romance Brews Between Tawny Frogmouths
Monday, February 10, 2014

Two Tawny Frogmouths who make their home at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo [BAMZ] started spending some “special time” together and an egg appeared, however unfortunately the egg is not viable.


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All the latest updates and news from the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum, and Zoo, one of Bermuda's leading visitor attractions!

Service with a smile gets Peg ‘seal of approval’
Royal Gazette
Wednesday, January 15, 2014

By Jessie Moniz Hardy
Published Jan 15, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 14, 2014 at 11:57 pm)

Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo Volunteer of the Year Peg Butterfield
dishes up breakfast for the fish.((Photo by Akil Simmons))

The best waitresses serve breakfast with a smile, no matter what, or who, they are serving.

That is probably why Peg Butterfield was recently named Volunteer of the Year at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo.

Every Tuesday morning she gets up early and doles out a (utterly) disgusting mishmash of blended mussel, kelp gel, squid and shrimp to fish in 20 tanks at the Aquarium, all without losing her own breakfast.

The Royal Gazette recently followed her on her rounds. She carried a tray with various fish dishes and a little ticket that explained the orders for the day. Some days one tank receives a serving of mackerel. Another day, it gets something else equally pleasant.

“The consistency of the kelp is a bit weird,” she said. “I admit, the first time I did this I had trouble holding on to my stomach.” To the fish she called out: “I hope you’re hungry.” Then she leaned across a tank and spooned in some briny sludge.

As it turned out, they were hungry, and went into a splashing frenzy fighting for a taste of what she offered.

It’s fish for breakfast for Bermuda Museum, Aquarium, Museum and Zoo
of the Year Peg Butterfield. ?((Photo by Akil Simmons))

Ms Butterfield volunteers five days a week at the Aquarium in a number of capacities, including working in the gift shop and answering phones, but fish breakfast is one of her favourite tasks.

“It’s really fun,” she said, “and I get to learn so much about the fish.”

To the uninitiated, working in an aquarium might sound pretty tame. You might think the fish just spend their days swimming quietly around. It turns out a lot goes on behind the scenes.

Sometimes a moray eel gets depressed and has to be taken out of its public enclosure for a little vacation. Some of the denizens of the deep get up to pranks. Once, a hog fish dragged a sore tooth across the glass in the North Rock exhibition tank, leaving behind a long, deep and expensive scratch. The scratch required the help of overseas experts to fix.

“The hog fish had to be taken out of the North Rock exhibition tank and put somewhere else,” said Ms Butterfield. “We told the children he was in ‘time out’ for being a naughty fish.”

Some of the fish are prone to cheekiness. The large grouper in the North Rock tank, known as Darth Vader, loves to be petted. Ms Butterfield often spends her lunch hour standing by the tank talking to him.

“He tries to draw me into the tank,” she said. “As I pet him he goes lower and lower in the water. Sometimes my entire arm gets wet. The fish have a lot of personality.”

Certain puffer fish also like to squirt water at her during feeding time, if she doesn’t look out.

She first started volunteering at the Aquarium at 14-years-old. Eventually, she went off to college and then moved to the United States to live. When she returned to Bermuda after many years she volunteered at the Bermuda National Trust for a time. Then in 2011 she made the move back to the Aquarium.

“I started by feeding the seals,” she said. “Once, I was sitting on a rock and got distracted. Suddenly Ariel was there nudging me on the side as if to say, ‘come on, hurry up with the fish’. My friend said that means I have the ‘seal of approval’.”

Ms Butterfield said she was very surprised when she won Volunteer of the Year.

“I had no idea what was going on,” she said. “When I first got the e-mail, I brushed it off thinking it was junk mail. Weeks later, I was told I had to go to the Centre on Philanthropy. I had no idea what it was about.”

She said working at the Aquarium was great, and there were a lot of laughs to be had.

“It’s just fun to be here,” she said.