The Washington Times - September 29, 2009, 01:45PM

The folks over at the U.S. Postal Service have found a unique way to kick of the annual observance of National Stamp Collecting Month, which starts Thursday:

Creatures of the deep make a splash on stamps as the Postal Service delivers October as National Stamp Collecting Month with the underwater unveiling of theNature of America:  Kelp Forest stamps at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The public can view the event live in streaming video from the Aquarium Kelp Exhibit webcams.

This “Where’s Waldo?” of Monterey Bay’s National Marine Sanctuary highlights 27 fish, plants and animals on the front of the 10 stamped sheet. Students and families can “test their smarts” from the descriptions on the back

Hundreds of species live in the kelp forest, a lush undersea ecosystem in which the largest seaweeds, known as kelp, grow as tall as trees.

The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is a federally protected area encompassing 5,322 square miles of ocean off the central California coast. Here, a rich assemblage of marine organisms finds ample food and shelter. One species is especially important to the survival of the kelp forest itself. The sea otter likes to eat sea urchins, spiny kelp-eating creatures that can overgraze groves of kelp when otters are absent.


The event begins at 8:30 a.m. Pacific time, which means we in Washington will be able to view it online just before lunch; i.e., at 11:30 a.m. Eastern time. According to the USPS, the following folks are expected to participate:

  • “Nature of America” stamp series artist John Dawson
  • U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors member Mickey D. Barnett
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium Managing Director Jim Hekkers
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium Guest Program Assistant Manager Traci Reid
  • Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Research Specialist and scuba diver Chad King
  • Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Web Developer and scuba diver Scott Chapman

For this observer, it’s a happy marriage of two of my passions: philately and technology. For everyone, it should be an interesting show.