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M AGA ZINE OF THE NATIONAL AQUARIUM • SUMMER 2012

TAKE A PEEK AT THE NEW BLACKTIP REEF Coming Summer 2013

MAKING CONNECTIONS

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ENDANGERED SPECIES FINDS NEW LIFE IN DC

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EXPAND YOUR EXPERIENCE! DOLPHIN ENCOUNTER The Dolphin Encounter brings guests sideby-side with trainers in a hands-on training and play session.

Immersion Tours take you behind the scenes.

SLEEPOVER WITH THE SHARKS

DOLPHIN MORNINGS

Take a nocturnal prowl through behind-thescenes areas with an expert guide, and dare to walk the catwalk as sharks swim silently below.

Start your day with our dolphins! Enjoy an interactive program with trainers.

GALLERY TOUR

DOLPHIN SLEEPOVER Get the inside scoop on our dolphin family, enjoy reserved seating in the dolphin ampitheater and fall asleep next to these beautiful marine mammals!

SHARKS! BEHIND-THE-SCENES TOUR

The Gallery Tour gets you in before the doors open to the public. Enjoy a guided tour and see our most popular exhibits before other guests arrive.

GUEST DIVER PROGRAM Experience the best diving in Maryland in one of the Aquarium’s most popular exhibits—the Atlantic Coral Reef.

Get uncomfortably close to our shark collection with an expert guide, and dare to walk the catwalk as sharks swim silently below!

Visit aqua.org/immersiontours for a complete list of programs, dates and prices. Call 410-576-3833 for reservations.

NATIONAL AQUARIUM | aqua.org Baltimore, MD

Washington, DC

SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER HOURS: Open Saturday–Thursday 9 a.m.–5 p.m.;

Open every day 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. You may tour the Aquarium for 30 minutes after the last entry time.

Friday 9 a.m.–8 p.m.

NOVEMBER–FEBRUARY HOURS: Monday–Thursday 10 a.m.–4 p.m.;

Friday 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

You may tour the Aquarium for 90 minutes after the last entry time. Visit aqua.org for specific entry times of the day(s) you plan to visit.

Membership Office Hours Weekdays, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Main Aquarium . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 410-576-3800 Member Advanced Ticket Sales . . . . 410-727-FISH Annual Giving . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 410-576-8678 Aquadopt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 410-576-8840 Catered Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .410-576-3869 Corporate Membership . . . . . . . . . . 410-576-3866 Membership Services . . . . . . . . . . . . 410-659-4230 Program Registration . . . . . . . . . . . . 410-727-FISH Special Gifts, Estate Planning . . . . . 410-576-8535 TDD/TTY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 410-625-0720 Volunteer Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 410-576-3886

Membership Office Hours Weekdays, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Main Aquarium . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Membership Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . Volunteer Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Birthday Parties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rent our DC Facility . . . . . . . . . . . . . aqua.org/plan-an-event/dc

202-482-2826 202-482-2825 410-659-4230 202-482-0852 202-482-2782 202-207-5060

VISIT AQUA.ORG AND PLAN YOUR TRIP. The National Aquarium is a non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire conservation of the world's aquatic treasures


ON THE COVER:

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Making Connections New philosophy brings unique experiences

MAGAZINE OF THE NATIONAL AQUARIUM

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12

Take a Peek at the New Blacktip Reef Coming Summer 2013

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From the CEO

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Top Topic

Floating island project shows promise

© 2012 National Aquarium CFC # 11251

MCC # 4099

EDITOR

Tracey Lynn Shifflett watermarkseditor@aqua.org

CCC # 4099

DESIGN

Maryn Jacobs PHOTOGRAPHY

Aquarium joins forces with National Wildlife Federation

Spotlight Shine Rain Forest curator has charges that swim, jump, and fly

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Aquarium and partners advocate for sharks

17 Reaching Out Baltimore kicks off a star-spangled Sailabration

Making Connections New philosophy brings unique experiences

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16 Helping Hands

Animal Update Baby lagoon jellies arrive at Baltimore venue

CONTRIBUTORS

Kate Hendrickson, Tom Pfeifer, Katie Turner, Beth Walk

15 Partnership Power

for climate change summit

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18 Education Environment Aquarium's new animal e-encyclopedia

Take a Peek Blacktip Reef coming to National Aquarium, Baltimore, Summer 2013

19 Australia Day 2012 Australian ambassador celebrates Australia Day at the Aquarium

11 Places to Be

George Grall, Ken Stanek KIDS CLUB

Illustration Art: Jack Desrocher Design: Paul Azzam

Endangered species thrives at the National Aquarium, DC

14 Green News

Aquarium welcomes 80 institutions A copy of the National Aquarium’s financial statement is available upon written request. Documents filed in accordance with the Maryland Charitable Organizations Solicitation Act may be obtained from the Maryland Secretary of State.

Breeding Success

20 2011 Milestones

Kids Club 12 Breeding Success Endangered species thrives at the National Aquarium, DC

By printing on recycled paper using vegetable-based inks and wind power, the National Aquarium saved the following resources: TR EES

ON THE COVER

Blacktip reef sharks will soon be making an appearance at the National Aquarium

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fully grown

ENERGY

SOLID WA S TE

BTUs

pounds

50 Million

3,321

Impact estimates were made using the Environmental Defense Calculator.

WATER

GR EENHOUSE GAS

gallons

pounds

30,014

6,539


From the CEO

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year ago, I walked through the front door of the National Aquarium to begin my new life as its CEO. I came to Baltimore with high expectations and a good measure of humility. I knew I was being entrusted with the leadership of a great institution, one to which the modern movement towards care for our blue planet can trace much of its origins. I’m pleased to report it's been an eventful year. Here are a few highlights. • BLACKTIP REEF, OPENING SUMMER 2013: I am excited to announce the construction launch for Blacktip Reef, a breathtaking exhibit full of color and movement located in the heart of our Baltimore venue. With 15 fascinating animal species, including fast and sleek blacktip reef sharks and majestic 5-foot-wide reticulated whiptail rays, this diverse Indo-Pacific reef habitat will be an incredible and immersive experience at the National Aquarium. Construction on the new exhibit begins in September, as we wish the Wings in the Water exhibit a fond farewell. Please be patient with us during this process, and remember, great things are coming. • MAKING CONNECTIONS: There’s never been a better time to be a member at the National Aquarium! In Baltimore, we’ve more than

tripled our number of diver talks, animal feedings, trainer interactions and other daily presentations, and Washington, DC’s guest interactions and animal encounters have been enhanced as well. Our Making Connections concept has taken our entire Aquarium community by storm, and the idea of getting closer—to our animals, to our exhibits and to one another—has enthralled guests of all ages. • SPEND YOUR DAY WITH DOLPHINS: One of the greatest features of the new Dolphin Discovery is that now guests can spend as much time as they like with the dolphins. Guests who have experienced these animals understand the inspiration and awe that come from observing and interacting with these magnificent marine mammals. Our new single inclusive admission ticket provides everyone with the opportunity to make important connections with our dolphins and the aquatic world. • ONE-IN-TWO-MILLION SENSATION: In June, National Aquarium, Washington, DC, welcomed a very special new member to our Aquarium family, Toby the blue lobster. Toby, whose rare coloring makes him one-in-two-million, came to us from a fisherman who caught him off the coast of Ocean City, MD. You can see the cobalt crustacean on display in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary exhibit.

Beach. We’ve made great strides, including the restoration of more than 4,000 feet of shoreline at Indian Head, MD, planting more than 6,000 marsh grasses at Masonville Cove, MD, and even planting a native garden right here at Baltimore’s Pier Six Pavilion. These are but a few of the accomplishments of our incredible staff and volunteers in the past year—none of which would have been possible without the generous support of our members. Thanks to you, we are making a difference in our mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures. Yet, much work remains to be done. I’ve spent my entire adult life focused on inspiring people to care about our blue planet. Here at the National Aquarium, we are honor-bound by our mission to ensure the health and abundance of the world’s aquatic treasures for generations to come. It's been an eventful year in our quest, and believe me, you haven’t seen anything yet! Again, thank you for your support ... I hope you will stay with us for many years to come. Sincerely,

John C. Racanelli Chief Executive Officer

• CONSERVATION ACHIEVEMENTS: Chesapeake Bay wetland and habitat restorations have blossomed with the spring and summer, stretching from Barren Island to Virginia

National Aquarium Institute

EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERS

Ms. Jennifer W. Reynolds Chair

Mr. Andrew L. Good

Mr. K. Lee Riley, Jr.

Mr. Robert E. Carter

Mr. Randall M. Griffin

Mr. Thomas E. Robinson

Mr. Marc Bunting

Mr. Mohannad F. Jishi

Ms. Anna L. Smith

Ms. Jane W.I. Droppa

Mr. Donald Pettit

Ms. Tamika Langley Tremaglio

Mr. Michael Dunmyer

Mr. J. Scott Plank

Ms. C. Elizabeth Wagner

Ms. Ann T. Gallant

Mr. John C. Racanelli

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CONTRIBUTIONS COUNT

TOP TOPIC

Climate Change Summit Comes to Baltimore National Aquarium hosts climate change summit in Charm City

and brainstorming as a group about new tactics we gain real momentum on program initiatives,” explains Nancy Hotchkiss, National Aquarium’s senior director of Visitor Experiences.

The National Aquarium program ultimately will be shared with aquariums and informal science education institutions across the country, and Hotchkiss thinks it has the potential to transform how aquariums and related institutions address future complex environmental policy topics. “The public expects and trusts zoo and aquarium experts to inform them about environmental and ocean conservation,” she explains. “Not only are we in a unique position to make those connections between climate change and carbon pollution with ocean health, it’s our responsibility.”

National Aquarium’s project organized “youth ambassadors” to tell the story of how climate change affects world oceans and aquatic life. “We’ve learned a lot over the years about how our guests perceive climate change by opening up these dialogues,” Hotchkiss adds. “Our ‘climate interpreters’ have engaged guests in activities that connect this important environmental issue to the very animals they’ve come to the Aquarium to enjoy. It really brings it full circle.”

The initiative is being referred to as “the future of zoo and aquarium climate change education,” and it is reaching millions of people across the country with important environmental messages. Recent summit attendees left Baltimore energized, refreshed, and with a purposeful unity that will strengthen their outreach. “It’s clear this coalition is eager to grow and work together to make an impact on the devastating effects climate change has on the environment,” concludes Hotchkiss.

This spring, National Aquarium welcomed the second annual Communicating Climate Change and the Oceans Summit to Baltimore. This national summit showcases the collaboration and climate change communications programs being conducted by National Aquarium, Monterey Bay Aquarium, New England Aquarium, and nearly 30 other organizations, and is funded through a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

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eld at Fells Point’s Admiral Fell Inn, the three-day summit welcomed more than 80 delegates from aquariums, zoos, and marine conservation organizations. The event featured expert speakers who shared the institutions’ progress regarding nationwide public awareness of climate change through education efforts. Many of these institutions received a federal grant in 2008, administered by NOAA, to develop a national leadership initiative that enables education staff at aquariums and related informal science education institutions to engage and inspire millions of guests to take action to preserve and protect our planet. “By collaborating on our progress

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SPOTLIGHT SHINE

Tropical Workplace National Aquarium Rain Forest curator has charges that swim, jump, and fly The iconic angled glass pavilion on the top of the National Aquarium’s Pier 3 building in Baltimore contains more than a tropical rain forest with winged, scaled and furred creatures. It also contains a hard-working staff that specializes in the care of those creatures. The exhibit and the team are managed by Upland Tropical Rain Forest Curator Ken Howell. WORKING AT THE NATIONAL AQUARIUM National Aquarium (NA): Tell us about your job at the National Aquarium. Ken Howell (KH): I manage the Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit, which contains a collection of neotropical birds, golden lion tamarins, two-toed sloths, frogs, fish, and invertebrates; portions of the Amazon River Forest exhibit, which houses a nice collection of South American turtles, caiman, and frogs; and the Sea Cliffs exhibit, which has our puffins and sea birds. In order to care for the various exhibit inhabitants, my staff includes aviculturists, herpetologists, and a horticulturist. I like the juxtaposition of the hot tropics with that of the cold North Atlantic. Arriving at work and stepping into a lush tropical rain forest filled with an amazing variety of living things is a pretty good gig. NA: Do you have a favorite animal? KH: I have so many favorites. The opportunity to hand raise an orphaned two-toed sloth was an awesome experience for me and other staff members. I am passionate about every animal in our collection, from tortoises to deep sea anglerfishes. NA: The National Aquarium inspires conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures. How does your job inspire you? KH: When one observes and investigates living organisms and the world they inhabit, there is no denying that everything is connected to everything else—terrestrial systems are intricately linked to aquatic 4

WATERMARKS | SUMMER 2012

systems and vice versa. Watching a pair of paradise tanagers forage for food among the exhibit plants, observing a dart frog transporting tadpoles on its back in a perfectly maintained terrarium, or holding a newly hatched turtle in my hand continues to illicit the same powerful and positive responses in me as it always has. ABOUT ME NA: What was your first job? KH: I began my zoo/aquarium career just over 30 years ago, but had been interested in plants and animals for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I had a variety of pets. My parents were accommodating, but wisely drew the line when I wanted a monkey. Undaunted by their decision, I moved to Florida after graduating from college and worked with a large collection of monkeys at a facility called Monkey Jungle. I later worked at the Miami Zoo, and spent 17 years with the Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences before coming here. NA: What do you like to do when you’re not working? KH: I read and collect natural history books in a voracious manner, including many of the early classics. Books by Raymond Ditmars, Gerald Durrell, Carl Kauffeld, and others continue to entertain and inspire me. I also enjoy organic gardening and have become obsessed with growing apricots in my small garden plot. I am particularly interested in growing open-pollinated heirloom tomatoes, such as Oxheart, Black Krim, and Belgian Giant.

NA: What was the best advice you ever received? KH: You can follow your heart but be sure to take your brains with you. Ken Howell has been working at the National Aquarium, Baltimore, for seven years. He currently lives in south Baltimore with his dogs Henry and Dudley, seven tortoises, three turtles, two tanks of salamanders, an aquarium for several species of elephant nose fishes, and a collection of unusual plants.

Howell holds an adult yellow-foot tortoise.


ANIMAL UPDATE

Ghostly Guests

Spotted lagoon jellies (Mastigias papua)

National Aquarium welcomes young spotted lagoon jellies to Baltimore This spring, the National Aquarium received a special delivery from the Oklahoma Aquarium: baby spotted lagoon jellies!

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ational Aquarium Aquarist Danielle Dallis discovered the Oklahoma Aquarium had a surplus of baby jellies through an email listserv hosted by our accrediting body, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The national network of AZA member zoos and aquariums collaborate on collection populations and animal care for all different species through specialized listservs like the one in which Dallis learned about Oklahoma’s baby lagoons. “Lagoon jellies are difficult to breed, and they have relatively short lifecycles,” says Dallis. “So when we opened Jellies Invasion in 2009, we weren't really set up to breed them."

A Jellies Swarm As Baltimore guests approach the Pier 4 atrium they’re greeted by something new: more than 600 colorful, translucent, iridescent jellies that hang from the ceiling and sweep down through the space. This piece of art was given to the Aquarium by an anonymous donor this spring, and is located just outside Jellies Invasion. It was inspired by the translucent beauty, graceful pulsing movements, and massive numbers of real jellies.

Since we’ve never had lagoon jellies this young at the National Aquarium before, Dallis and other aquarists are watching them in our jellies lab as they develop and grow. At first they looked just like tiny blue blubber jellies, which also have relatively short lifecycles and are difficult to breed. As the jellies grew, they developed the distinguishing spots of lagoons and lost their bluish tint. They soon sprouted tentacles, and spots started appearing along the edges of their bells. Quite a bit goes into giving these jellies what they need to thrive. They have a high metabolism, so they’re fed at least three times a day, sometimes more. They also house algae in their tissue, so special metal halide lights are required, which are a different spectrum than regular lights. “Spotted lagoon jellies have a symbiotic relationship with the algae that live in them. The algae need the light to photosynthesize, and the jellies eat the waste products the algae make in the process,” explains Dallis. And because lagoons are among the jellies species that thrive in warm water, the intensity of the lights supplements the heat regulated by the water heater exchanges already in the tanks. EDITOR’S NOTE: Jellies Invasion: Oceans Out of Balance is a changing exhibit and is not a permanent part of the National Aquarium. Check aqua.org for updates on when these ghostly gliders will be gliding out of the National Aquarium, so you can see them before they go!

LEARN MORE! Read about this species at aqua.org/jellies

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Making Connections

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orking at the National Aquarium means every day is different, full of surprises and unique moments of discovery. Still, we can predict some things, including how curious our guests are about our behind-the-scenes world and how we care for so many animals! Every day, we answer the following questions: What do the animals eat? How do you feed them? How do you know if they’re sick? What do they do when you close? We love answering these questions! We welcome opportunities to connect with members and guests, and share our knowledge of the aquatic world. One way we do this is with our popular Immersion Tours. These programs bring kids 8 years old and up to sleep overnight with our animals, and tour the Aquarium from the other side of the exhibit glass with an animal expert to answer questions. During these programs, we are able to share animal interactions, such as routine physical exams and target feeding, and talk in depth about animal nutrition, enrichment, and biology. People walk away feeling like they’ve had an insider’s perspective on National Aquarium life―and they have. Historically, with the exception of these specialized experiences, we’ve tried to accomplish most animal care activities before and 6

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Interactive experiences now part of every National Aquarium visit

after visiting hours. We considered this to be the “business” part of running the Aquarium, and we wanted to conduct it during non-visiting hours, so guests could observe the animals, not us. But answering the same questions about what we were doing―and seeing how much it fascinated everyone―had us repeatedly asking a question of our own: How can we offer more of these moments with our animals and staff? Last summer, we found an answer . . . and it means 2012 is the time to come to the National Aquarium and connect with us! Aptly named, “Making Connections” is a themed program that consists of more than 40 interactions each day that highlight our animal collection and facilitates dialogue with our guests. So, what do we mean by “interactions”? Many different things, all of which are designed to give you more time with our animals and animal experts. Throughout all the National Aquarium buildings in both Baltimore, MD, and Washington, DC, there are scheduled and surprise opportunities to meet animals, watch feedings, touch fossils, learn from curators and other staff members, and even participate in play and enrichment activities with animals. The expanded program took resourcing and much collaboration Aquarium-wide, as it tripled our daily staff-guest interactions. “We have always offered special animal encounters and impromptu talks, but we’ve never organized and had enough of them so that they were a part of every National Aquarium visit,” explains Nancy Hotchkiss, senior director of Visitor Experiences. “We believe these changes will improve guests’ experiences and help them connect with the aquatic world, and each other, like never before.”


BY TRACEY LYNN SHIFFLETT

Because we know that dolphins are among our most enigmatic aquatic ambassadors, we decided to start with them. This May, we made changes to how our guests and members experience our Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. We heard people wanted to see all of our animals with a single ticket, and spend unlimited time with our dolphins. So we repositioned our traditional, added-cost dolphin show toward a new kind of experience, which is included in the cost of admission and memberships. In its new form, the dolphin program is no longer referred to as a “show” and remains open and accessible to everyone throughout the day. Every hour, National Aquarium staff present encounters, play sessions, and informal talks about the biology and intelligence of dolphins, and guests are invited to stay in the area for as long as they like.

Target poles are used for training.

Spotting the dolphins' unique characteristics.

to encourage their participation in medical exams is now at the forefront of the guest experience. “Traditional dolphin shows have always been a mix of conservation messages and entertainment. At the National Aquarium, we have struggled with that mix, leaning more heavily toward education that supports our conservation mission,” says Sue Hunter, director of Animal Programs, Marine Mammals. “This new format allows us to personally connect with our guests by sharing how we care for these animals, and it highlights the dolphins’ natural intelligence. Giving guests up-close encounters and interacting with them during these presentations will hopefully inspire them to really connect with our dolphins and develop empathy for the health of the ocean.”

Animal experts explain dolphin physiology.

“We believe these changes will improve guests’ experiences and help them connect with the aquatic world…” —Nancy Hotchkiss

A primary concern while considering the dolphin format change was guest expectations of a dolphin experience. “People want to see high-energy behaviors such as jumps and flips, and expect to see a certain amount of audio-visual in the presentations,” says Hotchkiss. “We have worked hard to find a good balance of these elements that still provide an involved experience.”

It’s called Dolphin Discovery, and it unveils much of the Aquarium world to our guests. Everyone will see more, learn more, do more, and enjoy more time with our dolphins. “The format change creates a host of new opportunities to engage with our audience and support our mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures,” says CEO John Racanelli.

It’s that “involved experience” that all of the “Making Connections” programming offers. Whether guests are playing with Mr. Potato Head while watching an octopus play in its exhibit with its own Mr. Potato Head; or standing right beside our blue hyacinth macaw, Margaret, as she greets people with a loud, scratchy “HELLO!”; or touching the “jelly wand” full of baby moon jellies; or watching the Australian barramundi fish jump up to get some lunch from a feeding pole, the National Aquarium is full of fun, educational moments of discovery like never before!

To prepare for Dolphin Discovery, the dolphin amphitheater underwent a mini-makeover designed to encourage more interactive experience. And when we looked at the dolphins’ care routines, we realized that much of the feeding, training, and even husbandry time can be conducted in the front pool and shared with guests. For instance, how our dolphin team works with the dolphins

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With YOU, We Make a Difference Tax-deductible donations are a great way to support the National Aquarium. Our Animal Care and Animal Rescue teams will gratefully accept the following items to help fulfill the National Aquarium’s mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures. • • • • • • • • • • •

Mountable vehicle safe Dry suits (M, L, XL-2XL) Portable generator Beach umbrellas Traffic cones 9-volt batteries Wooden toys designed for birds Stainless steel D-rings Purell hand sanitizer Digital camera Color printer

To make a tax-deductible donation, contact Suzanne Boyle at 410-576-8877 or sboyle@aqua.org. To learn more about the National Aquarium's Marine Animal Rescue program, visit aqua.org/care.

EAT, DRINK & BE EN LIG H T E NED Visit aqua.org/freshthoughts for dates and details for both Aquarium venues.

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CONTRIBUTIONS COUNT

TAKE A PEEK

New Blacktip Reef Exhibit Coming to Baltimore Feel your heart race as a pack of 5-foot-long blacktip reef sharks speeds towards you. Take a deep breath as you witness the rise and fall of a 5-foot-wide whiptail ray’s massive fins beneath your feet. Explore deeper and spot an ornate wobbegong shark camouflaged against the reef bottom.

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eginning in summer 2013, experience Blacktip Reef, a breathtaking exhibit full of color, light, and movement located in the heart of National Aquarium, Baltimore. The new exhibit replicates a saltwater Indo-Pacific ocean habitat and features several animals that are new to the Aquarium, such as blacktip reef sharks, reticulated whiptail rays and ornate wobbegong sharks, as well as some of National Aquarium’s most beloved animals, including Calypso, the 400-pound green sea turtle, and zebra sharks Zeke and Zoe. “Blacktip Reef is going to be an incredible addition to National Aquarium and one that will continue to inspire guests to preserve and protect our oceans,” says John Racanelli, National Aquarium CEO. “People travel around the globe to experience reefs in the Indo-Pacific region. Come next summer, they won’t have to travel nearly as far to experience some of the world’s most beautiful and essential aquatic treasures.”

viewing window that will allow guests to virtually step inside the exhibit and come face-to-face with the magnificent animal species and corals. “The ocean has many different types of habitats, and coral reefs are like the ocean’s Grand Central Station,” says Jack Cover, National Aquarium general curator. “This incredible ecosystem really gives you greater context, showcasing biodiversity and the relationships among the diverse plants and animals. It’s a complex living structure that continues to build on itself.” The namesake animal of the new exhibit, the blacktip reef shark, is a smaller shark species that can grow to about 6 feet in

fins. Blacktip reef sharks are found in the shallow waters of the Indo-Pacific, hanging around reefs to feed. These sharks are sleek, attractive, fast-moving, and hunt cooperatively in groups. “Blacktip Reef will show our guests that sharks not only play a key role in reef ecosystems, but are a thing of beauty that are very important to ocean health,” says Cover. Guests will also have the opportunity to engage with National Aquarium experts through daily interactive diver presentations and shark feedings. Informative computer touchscreens throughout the exhibit will provide photos, videos and further facts about the reef ecosystem. At the end of their Blacktip Reef visit, guests can share their experience on a new interactive wall by uploading photos and comments, and by making personal commitments to ocean health.

length and bears distinctive black tips on its pectoral, dorsal, pelvic, and caudal

STAY IN THE LOOP Follow our progress on Blacktip Reef online at aqua.org/blacktipreef, facebook.com/nationalaquarium, and twitter.com/natlaquarium.

Guests will be able to enjoy the new exhibit from many vantage points, including a new floor-to-ceiling pop-out

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NOW SHOWING IN THE 4D IMMERSION THEATER

BALTIMORE, MD | 501 EAST PRATT STREET • AQUA.ORG

ONLINE CONNECTIONS

NEW!

Follow the National Aquarium on Instagram and Pinterest Are you addicted to pinning? Or maybe you’re a die-hard “Instagramer” who loves to argue over which filter reigns supreme. Good news—you can now follow @nationalaquarium on Instagram and pinterest.com/natlaquarium for cute animal photos, aquatic inspiration, and peeks behind the scenes. Be sure to share your pics and pins with us! The National Aquarium version of "The Odd Couple."

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SEPTEMBER

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SEPTEMBER

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Virginia Beach Dune Restoration

Join the Aquarium Conservation Team along the sand dunes of Virginia Beach as we plant grasses to prevent the erosion of the dunes by waves. Visit aqua.org/care for more information.

Fresh Thoughts Dinner 6:30 p.m.–-9 p.m.

DC

Chef Xavier is back by popular demand and bringing you a spectacular four-course meal, featuring sustainable seafood. Enjoy a cocktail reception, a Q&A with the chef, and an afterhours stroll through the Aquarium. $79 for members, $89 for non-members. Visit aqua.org/ freshthoughts for more information.

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Latino Heritage Celebration 10 a.m.–-3 p.m. DC

FRE E ! * The National Aquarium Cultural Series celebrates Latino heritage at the DC venue with special programming and special guest: Dora the Explorer! This event will highlight traditions in art, music, dance, and literature. Visit aqua.org for character appearance schedule.

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Fresh Thoughts Dinner 6:30 p.m.–9 p.m.

Sign language interpreters narrate our public presentations including dolphin presentations, animal feedings, and dive programs. Deaf advocacy group representatives will be available to meet with visitors and discuss their community activities. Contact Jenny Hamilton at jhamilton@aqua.org or 410-659-4291 for more information. FRE E ! *

VO L U N T E E R !

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Deaf Awareness Day 10 a.m.–-3:30 p.m.

MD

National Aquarium's Fresh Thoughts dining series not only offers a delicious dinner and a fun evening out, it's also a way to increase your understanding of sustainable seafood practices and to help you make informed choices. Guests enjoy a cocktail reception, a three-course fine-dining experience, and an after-hours stroll through the Aquarium. Visit aqua.org/ freshthoughts for more information.

OCTOBER

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Latino Heritage Night 5 p.m.–-9 p.m.

MD

FRE E ! * Groove to the Latin sounds of Son Tres y Mas at the first night of the National Aquarium’s Cultural Series, presented by Macy’s. Enjoy traditional dance performances representing Peru and Cuba, enjoy a special exhibit of Latin American animals and plants, participate in a Huichol tribe art workshop by Mexican artist Francisco “Paco” Loza, and learn to salsa dance!

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Hallowmarine 12 p.m.–4 p.m.

DC

To celebrate Halloween, the National Aquarium, Washington, DC, invites you to join us for fun activities such as face painting, a costume contest for kids and a spooky scavenger hunt! Visit aqua.org for more details. FRE E ! *

NOVEMBER

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Native Cultures Celebration 5 p.m–-9 p.m. MD

FRE E ! * The National Aquarium’s Cultural Series presented by Macy’s celebrates Native American cultures with a pow-wow and story-telling featuring the Native America’s People dance troupe. Listen to the beautiful sounds of Native American flutes played by Chief Eagle Warrior, see a special exhibit of Native American tribes and birds of Maryland, and make a craft to take home.

Fort McHenry Field Day 9 a.m.–4 p.m.

Join the National Aquarium Conservation team to restore habitat for wildlife, remove debris, and maintain trails at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine. Visit aqua.org/care for more information.

VO L U N T E E R !

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Indian Head Tree Planting

Join us at Naval Support Facility Indian Head as we continue our shoreline restoration along the Potomac River. Visit aqua.org/care for more information.

VO L U N T E E R !

Bring your little one to the National Aquarium for storytime and fun activities designed especially for toddlers! Visit aqua.org/totsandtales for more information. DC 10 a.m. Sept. 7 & 21 | Oct. 5 & 19 | Nov. 2 & 16 | Dec. 7 & 21 MD 10:30 a.m. Sept. 5, 12,

To view daily schedules and more special calendar events at the National Aquarium, visit us online at aqua.org. * with Aquarium Admission

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“Luck of the Draw� Deals Breeding Success Endangered species finds new life at DC venue

Woundfin are a silvery freshwater fish that rarely grow longer than 3 inches and once thrived in rivers and tributaries from Tempe, Arizona, to the mouth of the Gila River at Yuma.

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BY TOM PFEIFER

When National Aquarium Aquarist Nick Little was charged with redesigning the freshwater exhibits at National Aquarium, Washington, DC, he didn't intend to create the first succcessful aquarium or zoo breeding program for woundfin fish. His mission was to create a naturalistic habitat in the nation’s first public aquarium, and stay within budget and building confinements. “We design all of our exhibits to replicate conditions in the wild as closely as possible,” explains Little. “All creatures will breed, if you make them comfortable enough.” Woundfin are a silvery freshwater fish that rarely grow longer than 3 inches and once thrived in rivers and tributaries from Tempe, Arizona, to the mouth of the Gila River at Yuma. According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, woundfin were also found in the Colorado River from Yuma upstream to the Virgin River in Nevada, Arizona, and Utah. Due to damming, invasive species, and water quality degradation, woundfin are now mostly restricted to the Virgin River in Utah and Nevada, upstream from Lake Mead. Woundfin were placed on the endangered species list in 1970 and a recovery plan for the species was approved in 1995, but the population inexplicably continues to dwindle. If the Virgin River isn’t restocked periodically from fish farms, woundfin probably would disappear from that habitat as well. Little’s breeding success does not ensure the woundfin’s survival in the wild; in fact, fish bred in captivity often carry a pathogen that could be deadly to wild stock, as wild woundfin have no immunities to those same pathogens. As a result, the “fry” born at the Aquarium will never be released into the Virgin River. Still, it will have a significant impact on the species: It will mean fewer woundfin taken from the wild and will lead to a better public understanding about the fish’s plight. And if the National Aquarium’s woundfin continue to breed, it could bolster living collections of the species in other institutions across the country through a collaborative population management program regulated by accrediting body, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. “When people take endangered fish from the wild, even if they’re doing it to explain the animals’ situation and to help them, they’re still impacting already perilous wild populations,” says Little. “We plan to exhibit them in the newly renovated Western Stream exhibit in DC, and we will certainly try to find them homes at aquariums and zoos that have an endangered species permit. Enhancing living collections will enable us all to share important environmental messages that explain why these fish are endangered.” Emma Connor, marketing manager for the DC facility, points to a national Climate Literacy Zoo Education Network (CLiZEN) survey of zoo and aquarium guests. While the survey focused on how a visit to a zoo or aquarium raises visitors’ awareness about their impact on climate change, the data suggest guests’ general awareness about their impact on the environment is also raised. “People visit aquariums and zoos because they are interested in the animals and their habitats,” Connor says, “and leave with knowledge of how to change their personal behaviors to help the environment. Visiting the Aquarium connects them with the natural world and encourages them to think about human impact.”

The National Aquarium receives its woundfin from a fish hatchery, whose primary function is to raise woundfin and other endangered species to release back into the wild, but also support living collections for the environmental education Connor references. Little says the Aquarium requests 10 individuals about every three years as its collection population ages and needs to be bolstered. Because of the dangers associated with too many generations of inbreeding, the Aquarium probably will request woundfin from the hatchery once or twice more to strengthen the genetic pool of the captive species. But after that, aquariums and zoos with an endangered species permit should be able to replenish their exhibits strictly with woundfin raised in captivity. With a burgeoning collection available for other facilities, the captivebred woundfin will encourage a greater appreciation about the fish’s plight among guests beyond Washington, DC, further fulfilling the National Aquarium’s mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures. The National Aquarium is now an advocate on behalf of this species thanks in large part to Little’s diligent attention to detail. “While we were renovating the 50-gallon endangered species exhibits, we received 10 juvenile woundfin,” explains Little. “They were quarantined in a holding tank during the renovation and then spent the next several months growing and maturing on exhibit.” As Little noted earlier, it was the naturalistic habitat that encouraged unexpected yet natural behaviors. Little created lighting for the exhibit that reflects what would occur naturally in a western river coursing through the canyons they had carved. The coarse gravel on the tank’s floor resembles the gravel that falls to the riverbed as the canyon walls erode. The life support system replicates the stream action in the woundfin’s native habitat of shallow rivers. When the females broadcast their eggs, the coarse gravel allowed the eggs to seep into the artificial riverbed, keeping them safe from predators. As the fry emerged, they were sucked into the holes of the filtration system’s PVC pipe under the gravel, where they were then ejected at the surface of the tank, making it easier for Little to scoop them up and place them in isolation. In late December, Little noticed males sparring and occasionally chasing a female—telltale signs of spawning. On January 18, he noticed a couple dozen tiny fry swimming in the back of the exhibit. Little gently collected the fry and placed them into a small rearing basket in the back of the exhibit to make it easier for feeding. Little and team fed baby brine shrimp to the fry twice daily. On January 30, a second batch of free-swimming fry was collected and cared for in isolation as well. By the beginning of March, more than 100 fry were large enough to be moved into their own holding tank. “The fry are growing quickly and continue to be able to take larger and larger food items,” says Little. In the end, a renovation with attention to detail spawned a new breeding program with the potential to help an endangered species. “I didn’t plan it that way. It just worked out,” sums up Little happily, still a little in awe of his accomplishment. “Luck of the draw.”

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GREEN NEWS

A blue heron perches on the floating wetland

Hope Floats National Aquarium floating island project shows positive results On April 26, the National Aquarium joined Baltimore's Waterfront Partnership, Biohabitats, the Living Classrooms Foundation, Blue Water Baltimore, and the Irvine Nature Center to launch 2,000 square feet of floating wetlands into Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The islands are part of the Healthy Harbor Initiative, which is designed to create a swimmable, fishable harbor by 2020.

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his is the second phase of a pilot project the National Aquarium embarked on two years ago with the University of Maryland. When the first islands were installed in August 2010, Laura Bankey, the Aquarium’s director of Conservation, was optimistic: “Floating islands could reinvigorate harbor water. They will provide food and habitat for wildlife, while absorbing the excess nutrients in the harbor that can cause oxygen-depleting algal blooms,” she said. “If the islands have a positive effect on harbor habitat, we may install more. But the first step is evaluating the good environmental science that will come out of this pilot project.” Since then, the team has been monitoring the ecological services of the island by JOIN US FOR A CONSERVATION EVENT! Check aqua.org/care for dates.

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“Improving the ecology of the harbor is so important to those who live and visit here…” —Laura Bankey

looking at nutrient uptake by the plants and colonization by aquatic organisms, and the science Bankey counted on has shown positive progress. “The plants growing on the original wetlands have been successful in removing excess nutrients from the water, which is one of the biggest challenges involved in cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay,” explains Bankey. “With the additional floating wetlands, we’ll be able to measure their benefits more broadly and further improve water quality in our city.” Did you know that the area that is now Baltimore City was once a thriving tidal marsh? If you could see below the

surface of the Inner Harbor water, you would see an abundance of aquatic life, from bluefish and blue crabs to dozens of other species. They survive there despite the extremely poor water quality in the harbor. The floating island concept is an attempt to bring back some of the benefits of the living, vibrant wetlands that once were here and provided for the creatures that live in the harbor. “Improving the ecology of the harbor is so important to those who live and visit here, and the National Aquarium is honored to be part of the team that is offering a naturalistic solution. We believe it has real visual appeal and will also produce vital environmental data about the impact of floating islands on water quality,” concludes Bankey. The National Aquarium will continue collecting data to evaluate the islands’ effects on water quality, and the Maryland Department of the Environment (which cleared the original island for installation) will remain closely related to the project as it continues to mature.


CONTRIBUTIONS COUNT

PARTNERSHIP POWER

Left to right: National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli, Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, NWF Board Chair Steve Allinger.

National Aquarium was awarded a Certificate of Exceptional Merit for its actions and communicating the importance of habitat stewardship to the public.

Groundbreaking Alliance National Aquarium and National Wildlife Federation partner for the future of aquatic life The National Aquarium recently became the first zoo or aquarium to become an affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), one of the largest, most effective conservation organizations in the country. The groundbreaking partnership names the Aquarium as NWF’s Maryland affiliate, and links the two organizations' environmental initiatives from Appalachia to the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

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he alliance was officially announced in February, but NWF and the National Aquarium celebrated the news with Baltimore City in a special public Earth Day event on April 22. During the event, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings- Blake, National Aquarium CEO John C. Racanelli and NWF Board Chair Steve Allinger addressed crowds in front of the Aquarium, explaining the potential impact of such partnerships and talking about green initiatives already underway across the city, state, and region. “The National Aquarium has worked tirelessly over the past 30 years to preserve and protect the Chesapeake Bay. In that time we have restored 155 acres of bay habitats with 1.4 million individual native plants, shrubs, and trees,” said Racanelli. “Partnering with [NWF] is a tremendous opportunity that will allow us to further expand our reach and strengthen our impact.” That expanded reach includes 4 million NWF members and supporters nationwide, with more than 82,000 members and supporters in Maryland alone. “We are delighted to welcome the National Aquarium into the

Federation’s family of 48 affiliates,” said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of National Wildlife Federation. “The National Aquarium is the trusted voice of the aquatic world, filling visitors with a sense of wonder, educating them about the threats to our oceans and water resources, and inspiring them to take individual action.” Following remarks, the NWF designated the National Aquarium's Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Waterfront Park, located in front of the Aquarium, as an NWF Certified Wildlife Habitat™ and awarded the Aquarium with a Certificate of Exceptional merit for its actions and communicating the importance of habitat stewardship to the public. The habitat was denoted with a plaque presentation, followed by a tree planting with Mayor Rawlings-Blake, members of the Weinberg Foundation, and the local community. NWF also donated 3,000 native sapling trees to give guests in commemoration of the event.

organizations had already begun collaborating on important conservation projects, such as protecting shark populations, supporting state and federal environmental education initiatives, and defending our rights to clean water. The union of NWF and the National Aquarium is expected to be a long-term association between two organizations dedicated to protecting wildlife and water resources for future generations. Within the next year, the partners have planned public outreach initiatives, advocacy, and outdoor events that invite everyone to share in conservation efforts. “Both of our organizations are dedicated to inspiring people to take an active role in protecting our natural resources,” concludes Laura Bankey, director of Conservation at the National Aquarium. “We are excited about the national impact we will have by joining together to protect and restore our ecosystems.”

The Earth Day event was a great way to invite the community to join in the celebration, but prior to the event the WATERMARKS | SUMMER 2012

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HELPING HANDS

One of the most effective ways to protect sharks is to eliminate the market for fins by prohibiting their sale.

One for the Sharks National Aquarium and partners waging war against shark finning Shark populations worldwide are in danger of collapse due to fishing pressures stimulated by the global demand for shark fin soup. Every year, tens of millions of sharks are killed, and their fins used for this non-nutritious dish. Many species have been depleted to the brink of extinction. The National Aquarium and its partners, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and Oceana, recently teamed up on behalf of the ocean’s most famous predators.

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s previously reported in this column, the National Aquarium has been advocating for more stringent laws that protect sharks from being stripped of their fins and left dying or dead on ocean floors because of someone's pursuit of a culinary experience. Existing federal and Maryland laws banning shark finning do control shark handling practices, but don't restrict the number of sharks killed solely for their fins. Given the substantial market for shark fins, this creates economic incentives to overfish sharks just for their fins. One of the most effective ways to protect sharks is to eliminate the market for fins by prohibiting their sale. California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington have all banned the possession, sale, trade, and distribution of shark fins. This year, the Maryland legislature introduced bills that would ban the possession or distribution of shark fins in Maryland. Though the Senate passed the bill, it stalled in the 16 WATERMARKS | SUMMER 2012

house. But through the process, an important partnership between the National Aquarium, NWF, and Oceana, a grassroots campaign to support the bills’ enactment was enacted and has laid the groundwork for next year. “Hawaii, California, Oregon, and Washington have already passed similar bans, and Delaware is currently considering one. It’s time for Maryland to join the charge and ensure we are not contributing to the supply and demand of shark fins. I strongly urge the Maryland General Assembly to reintroduce and pass this important legislation next year,” said National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli in a statement released to Aquarium members, staff, and communities. National Aquarium Director of Fishes and Aquatic Invertebrates Andy Dehart, a resident shark expert, testified at the state hearings in February, and Director of Conservation Laura Bankey worked closely

with our partners to support the legislation with letter-writing campaigns and public outreach as the bills moved through legislative channels. “Oceana and the National Wildlife Federation reach millions of people in a short period of time with vital conservation messages,” says Bankey. “Working with them to garner support from Maryland residents laid important groundwork.” The National Aquarium and its partners are already working to get the bill on next year's legislative calendar. “The demand for shark fins is driving some shark species to extinction,” says Dehart. “In recent decades, some shark populations have decreased by more than 90 percent, largely as a result of direct fishing. Every day that passes without this legislation, we lose an estimated 200,000 sharks.”


REACHING OUT

Star-Spangled Sailabration Baltimore Inner Harbor welcomes tall ships and naval vessels

U.S. Navy Blue Angels fly overhead; flags hoisted in welcome included 15-star American Bicentennial Flag.

Baltimore Inner Harbor was alight with a star-spangled Sailabration this June, as more than 40 tall ships and naval vessels cruised into Charm City for an international maritime parade. The National Aquarium saluted the event by offering up a prime viewing spot from our harborside tent on Pier 3, complete with live music, food, and space for picnic blankets.

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he tall ships sailed into Baltimore to celebrate the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the birth of the StarSpangled Banner. Guests gathered under the Aquarium tent to celebrate the sails and welcome more than 4,000 military men and women to Baltimore. The event kicked off on Flag Day, and the National Aquarium held its own special flag-raising event. Four flags were hoisted on new flag poles erected in front of the Aquarium: USA, Maryland, Baltimore City, and National Aquarium. The flags were flapping in proud welcome as the ships began to arrive in the harbor. Harbor mainstay, the USS Constellation, led the way, joined by three other Baltimore ships: Lady Baltimore, Farewell, and Pride of Baltimore II. Guests were treated to free tours of visiting ships, waterside festivities, and Baltimore’s first-ever air show featuring the famous U.S. Navy Blue Angels. Other military units also performed spectacular flight routines to the delight of visitors at Fort McHenry and throughout the harbor area.

The National Aquarium showed its patriotism with an engaging lecture and discussion with Donald R. Hickey and Connie Clark, authors of The Rockets' Red Glare: An Illustrated History of the War of 1812, as well as renowned author Ralph Eshelman and historians Don Shomette and Burt Kummerow. The National Aquarium and the Maryland Historical Society co-hosted the event, the latest installment in the Aquarium’s popular Marjorie Lynn Bank Lecture Series. More than 100 guests enjoyed wine and cheese as they watched the ships light up the night from our Harbor Overlook on Pier 3, before convening in the Lyn P. Meyerhoff Auditorium to learn more about our country’s history. Throughout the festivities there were live performances by military bands and ensembles, cultural performances by the visiting ships and their embassies, free handson children’s activities, and international culinary delights provided by chefs from visiting vessels. This multiyear cultural event will continue to raise crowds across the country, and it was an exciting way to usher in a summer of great events in Baltimore!

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EDUCATION ENVIRONMENT

Nurse shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum)

Online Education New Aquarium website is an animal e-encyclopedia

Blue poison dart frog (Dendrobates tinctorius)

Thanks to the internet, the whole world is a classroom, and it is accessible right from home. Online, there are educational games, videos, microsites and even web events for K–12 students. We took that into consideration when redesigning the National Aquarium's new website. With a diverse collection of animals as our online heroes, there are more ways than ever before to learn about the natural world on aqua.org.

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ebsites serve a lot of purposes. They provide convenient retail platforms so we can make purchases without leaving home. They showcase diverse forums for us to network and socialize, and vast resources of information on topics we once pulled out an encyclopedia to learn about. On the Aquarium’s website, guests can purchase tickets, therefore avoiding lines and guaranteeing entry times; on our social media platforms, guests can learn from our animal experts about life at the National Aquarium, and the many opportunities to engage in our behind-the-scenes world. Still, if you have curious learners at home, you know that they will have a million questions about the animals they will see at the Aquarium (especially if they have reports to do for school!) and they are just discovering the outdoors and the life all around them. We know they can’t visit the National Aquarium every day, but we want 18

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their curiosity to continue to bloom into respect and admiration for the natural world as they grow. That's why we’ve brought more of the aquatic world to cyberspace. Between our two venues in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., the National Aquarium is home to more than 16,000 animals of more than 660 species. We’ve redesigned the National Aquarium website (aqua.org) to highlight our amazing collection of animals, providing details about their physiologies, diets and nutrition, geographical range in the wild and more. Each profile is accompanied by full-color, close-up photographs that bring our online guests as close as they can get without a National Aquarium visit.It’s like a personal guide to every National Aquarium exhibit! For instance, did you know that scientists didn’t discover the existence of the blue poison dart frog until 1968? Or that nurse sharks can use their large front fins to “walk” along the ocean floor? Aqua.org

can be a virtual tour of the natural world that can also enhance your National Aquarium visit, as each animal can be added to the trip planner. The planner helps you choose the animals you want to see and schedule your visit around programs that connect guests with animals and animal experts. There is much to learn about aquatic life, and myriad ways to join the National Aquarium in protecting it; and the colorful, fascinating animal profiles on the Aquarium’s new website are a great place to start. So before bringing your little explorers to the National Aquarium, take them to aqua.org and get to know our heroes!


AUSTRALIA DAY 2012

Left to right: National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli, Australia Ambassador Kim Beazley and his wife, Australia curator John Seyjagat

Tawny frogmouth (Podargus strigoides)

Aussie Pride National Aquarium celebrates Australia Day in Baltimore In January, the National Aquarium welcomed the Australian ambassador, who visited our Land Down Under in Baltimore and was very impressed by the replicated habitats of his native country.

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n the cold, bitter Baltimore winter, the National Aquarium celebrated the heat waves of the Australian summer with Australia Day which is the official national day of Australia, commemorating the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788 and the proclamation of British sovereignty and colonization of Australia. So with our very own “Australia in Baltimore,” we decided to celebrate. On January 26 we hosted an Aussie event for the ages so National Aquarium guests could share in the festivities. Guests transported themselves Down Under with Australian animal encounters, an aboriginal didgeridoo player, rock painting, and more. With temperatures reaching 80 degrees in the Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes exhibit, it was a great place to be in the middle of an East Coast winter! Our special guest thought so too. Australia Ambassador to the United States Mr. Kim Beazley joined the celebration at the National Aquarium, accompanied by his wife and members of the DC Mission, greeting guests and touring Baltimore’s Australia. The event was on the heels of another fitting milestone, as we had just observed

the fifth anniversary of our award-winning Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes exhibit. The authentic red rock river gorge brings northern Australia to life! It’s made

“This is the first time I’ve seen under a gorge and what an extraordinary thing it is [to come] to the United States to see such a faithful interpretation of northern Australia’s natural water environment.” —Kim Beazley

up of seven watery exhibits at floor level, tall rocky gorges, and trees that reach 120 feet at the highest point. “This is the first time I’ve seen under a gorge and what an extraordinary thing it is [to come] to the United States to see such a faithful interpretation of northern Australia’s natural water environment,” he exclaimed.

The exhibit is home to more than 1,800 native Australian animals, including freshwater crocodiles, laughing kookaburras, turtles, fishes, free-flying birds, and flying foxes; all of which were happy to greet Ambassador Beazley and his guests! National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli and Deputy Executive Director of Biological Programs Dr. Brent Whitaker also greeted the group, and Australia Curator John Seyjagat gave them a personalized tour of the exhibit. Before leaving, Ambassador Beazley addressed Aquarium guests, further expressing his admiration of the Aquarium’s unique exhibit and his pleasure at being included in the day’s celebration of his country. More than 5,700 Aquarium guests participated in the day’s festivities, warming up winter in style and ensuring Australia Day will be celebrated in Baltimore for years to come!

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Celebrating 30 Years of Aquatic Stewardship “I am honored, after these 30 years, to have joined the National Aquarium as its chief executive officer, and was pleased to introduce our new mission: to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasurers. Today, we are committed more than ever to inspire our guests to take personal action to protect and preserve our imperiled blue planet. We made great progress in achieving this goal during 2011.” – National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli

2011 MILESTONES Chesapeake Bay Wetland Restoration: 157.6 acres restored; 136,044 native grasses planted; 35,205 pieces of debris cleared Education Programs: 117,380 students visited free of charge Marine Animal Rescue: 13 rehabilitated and released animals Volunteering: 854 volunteers served 118,075 hours

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Please view the National Aquarium 2011 Annual Report online at aqua.org/annualreports.

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