Posts Tagged 'anniversary'

Thoughtful Thursday: The Endangered Species Act Turns 40

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was enacted by Congress in December of 1973. Its goal is to provide protection for species that are endangered or threatened and conserve the habitats their survival depends upon.

A species is considered endangered if it is in danger of extinction throughout all or significant portion of its range and threatened if it is likely to become an endangered species in the near future. Currently, there are over 2,000 species listed under the ESA. The efforts to protect these animals are administered by two federal agencies: the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Zoos and Aquariums, including the National Aquarium, work closely with these agencies to both conserve habitats and raise public awareness of these species. Their continued survival is a large part of our organization’s mission. Here are just a few of the threatened/endangered species that call the Aquarium home:

In the last few decades, the Act has successfully prevented the extinction of 99 percent of the species it protects – making it one of the most effective conservation laws in our nation’s history! Check out this video looking back on the last 40 years of the ESA:

While there are many successes we should be celebrating today, there’s still a lot of work to be done in protecting species from decline and inspiring our next generation of conservationists.

Here’s how YOU can support our efforts to conserve and protect these amazing animals!

Government Affairs Update: My One Year Aqua-versary

government affairs and policy update

This week marked the one year anniversary of my joining the National Aquarium as Government Affairs Manager. It has been an incredibly rewarding rookie year full of challenges, growth, and no shortage of animal encounters. I am undoubtedly most thankful for (apart from being able to hold not one but two baby sea turtles) the wonderful people I have had the opportunity to meet, work with, and learn from here at the Aquarium, in the environmental community, and in the halls of Annapolis.

Now that I’ve officially gotten my feet wet, been in over my head, dived right in, and whatever other cliché, Aquarium-related pun I’ve heard upon telling people where I work, I thought it would be best to reflect on the past year and exactly what I’ve learned. This year has taught me:

  1. Collaboration is key. Whether it is internal or external, government affairs simply would not be successful without a little help from friends. From our amazing Guest Services and Biological Programs staff who facilitate unforgettable tours for public officials to every member of the Marketing team who helps communicate the Aquarium’s advocacy work, I would be lost without the entirety of the National Aquarium team. Our work with other environmental groups in the region, such as Blue Water Baltimore, Trash Free Maryland, and the Choose Clean Water Coalition, just to name a few, ensures that we stay up to date with the latest conservation issues and guarantees that we all have a stronger advocacy voice.
  2. Know your strengths. Maryland, Baltimore, and the entire Chesapeake region are brimming with phenomenal environmental groups that are doing great things to protect our natural resources – but the National Aquarium is one of a kind. We have the opportunity to physically reach 1.4 million visitors annually with our mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures. Because we are a truly national attraction, the National Aquarium has a $314 million annual economic impact and $18 million fiscal impact on the State of Maryland and Baltimore City that helps boost the local economy. Communicating these unique strengths – and using them for the public good – is at the heart of everything we do. Oh, and did I mention we have dolphins?

    Chesapeake "photobombing" a nice family moment for Maryland Delegate Eric Luedtke.

    Chesapeake “photobombing” a nice family moment for Maryland Delegate Eric Luedtke.

  3. You are never finished telling your story. I probably say the words “well when you have a 32-year old building, sitting on a pier, full of a corrosive material…” about five times a week in order to describe the Aquarium’s very serious capital challenges and subsequent needs. Or, “did you know that more than 75,000 Maryland schoolchildren, teachers, and chaperones visit the Aquarium for free every year?” when discussing the Aquarium’s education priorities. In reality, the life of a government affairs professional is not wholly unlike the film “Thank You for Smoking.” I talk. A lot. Only instead of tobacco, I talk about economic impact, tourism, and sharks.
  4. “Think globally, act locally.” As the National Aquarium, we have an obligation to communicate the importance of the world’s aquatic treasures. But sometimes, especially when working on issues in Baltimore City and Maryland politics, communicating the importance of local treasures such as Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, the Chesapeake Bay, and Maryland’s coastline is the start of a larger conversation. For example, what we do to help save the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States and the economic lifeblood of the region, can serve as a case study for similar efforts in Puget Sound, the Great Lakes, or the Mississippi Delta. Similarly, the National Aquarium’s efforts to help pass the shark fin ban bill in Maryland will not only help the sharks off our own coast but will (and has already) inspire others to pass similar legislation.
  5. Stay true to your mission. Above all else, I have learned that the National Aquarium is a private, nonprofit conservation organization with a strong commitment to our community. While giving a tour this morning, one of our talented team members greeted the guests by saying, “Welcome to your Aquarium.” His statement made me pause and consider the brief but powerful message. The original Pier 3 building was constructed using taxpayer funding and the State of Maryland and Baltimore City occasionally supplement a portion of our capital costs. 1.4 million guests and 75,000 Maryland school children, teachers, and chaperones walk through our doors every year (see, I told you I say it a lot). Our conservation work around the state ensures that we practice what we preach on a daily basis. Our advocacy work in the halls of Baltimore’s City Hall, the Maryland State House, and Capitol Hill gives a voice to critical conservation efforts. And our access programs, from Fridays After Five to Maryland Mornings, help ensure that it remains your Aquarium.

It has been a wonderful year – and I’ve only just gotten my feet wet.

Blog-Header-SarahElfreth

Thanks for 31 Years!

This week we’re celebrating our 31st anniversary at National Aquarium, Baltimore, and we want you to join the fun!

Monday, August 6: Is your birthday also in August? On August 6, anyone who has an August birthday gets in FREE! Must present identification at the onsite ticket center to verify birthday. Plus, enjoy a free piece of birthday cake in the Aquarium’s Harbor Market Kitchen (while supplies last).

Tuesday, August 7: Receive half-price child’s admission with purchase of regular adult admission (onsite only). Kids can also enjoy a free piece of birthday cake in the Aquarium’s Harbor Market Kitchen (while supplies last).

Wednesday, August 8: Meet Nickelodeon’s The Backyardigans! They’ll make a special appearance from 10 a.m.–2 p.m., and the first 200 guests will receive a free photo. We’ll also have fun games and crafts going on all day. Plus, enjoy a free piece of birthday cake in the Aquarium’s Harbor Market Kitchen (while supplies last).

Thursday, August 9: Catch a FREE 4D Immersion Film with purchase of admission ticket. For online ticket purchases, use promo code FREE4D. (Limited availability; first come, first served). Plus, enjoy a free piece of birthday cake in the Aquarium’s Harbor Market Kitchen (while supplies last).

All activities are free with admission.
Tickets can be purchased at aqua.org.


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