Aquarium of the Pacific unveils new Kelp Forest stamp underwater

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kelp-forest-stamp-aquariumCreatures of California’s kelp forest swim into the nation’s mail stream on the U.S. Postal Service’s newest 44-cent First-Class postage stamps ― the Nature of America: Kelp Forest stamp pane. To celebrate their arrival, a special ceremony will take place at the Aquarium of the Pacific at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, October 21, 2009, where divers will unveil an enlargement of the beautiful sheet of underwater stamps …underwater.

Stamp ceremony attendees who arrive prior to 9 a.m. on the day of the event will receive free admission to the Aquarium at the Members Express Entrance. Those that arrive after 9 a.m., may still purchase general admission tickets.

“Stamps are fun and educational tools that commemorate America’s history, heroes and leaders,” said Long Beach Postmaster Ken Snavely. “They also pay homage to the land we love and the great diversity and natural beauty of our country.”

The Nature of America stamp series was introduced ten years ago and is dedicated to the unique ecosystems across our nation. The Kelp Forest set — the 11th in the Nature of America series — not only highlights the complexity of the kelp forest as an ecosystem, but also captures the incredible beauty of this remarkable undersea wonderland. Each of the 27 species depicted in the colorful acrylic painting by Artist John Dawson are identified on the backside of the sheet.

Dawson, of Hilo, HI, created the artwork for the entire Nature of America series under the direction of art director Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, MD. To illustrate the biodiversity of a kelp forest, Dawson depicted 27 species in his colorful acrylic painting. The scene itself is imaginary as a dense grouping of creatures was necessary to illustrate as many species as possible on the stamp sheet. Even so, all of the species could be encountered at or near the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the area featured on the pane. All of the species and their interactions are appropriate and were recommended by scientists.

The Postal Service will have stamps available for purchase at the Aquarium on October 21 until 10:15 a.m., and will also offer a special pictorial postmark based on the Aquarium’s logo to commemorate the event. This collectible postmark may also be obtained via mail by enclosing item to be postmarked, with applicable First-Class postage affixed, inside a cover envelope with requestor’s return address and mailing to:

Special Pictorial Postmark
c/o Postmaster
300 Long Beach Blvd.
Long Beach CA 90802-9998

The Aquarium of the Pacific is located at 100 Aquarium Way in Long Beach. The special underwater unveiling of the Kelp Forest stamp will take place at 9:00 a.m. Arrive early for free admission to the Aquarium. For directions, visit www.aquariumofpacific.org or call 562-590-3100.

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