Posts Tagged 'baltimore city'



Wetlands are wonderful!

Despite its concrete walls, the Baltimore Harbor is looking a little greener with the addition of new floating wetlands. It’s no secret that the water quality of the harbor could use a little help, but the bulkheads that surround the Harbor make it unsuitable for the traditional muddy shoreline restoration projects the National Aquarium’s Conservation Team typically takes on. But where there’s a will, there’s a way!

Floating wetlands have long been utilized in retention ponds as an attempt to deal with excess nutrients from farm fields and landscaping, but only recently has this technology moved to tidal, brackish areas like the Chesapeake Bay. This concept is now being introduced to Baltimore’s urban waterfront as part of the Healthy Harbor Initiative launched by the Waterfront Partnership, which includes the Aquarium and Baltimore City.

Continue reading ‘Wetlands are wonderful!’

Baltimore’s hidden green gem

Did you know that part of the Aquarium’s roof is green? Five years ago this summer, during the Aquarium’s major building expansion, a green roof was installed on a portion of Pier 3 just behind the Australia exhibit.

Each spring the roof blooms into a lush, green landscape, and this year was no exception!

It was designed as an “extensive” green roof, which is virtually self-sustaining and requires minimum maintenance. “Intensive” green roofs, on the other hand, are more labor-intensive. A very thin layer of soil supports a variety of stonecrops (Sedum) and ornamental onions (Allium).

We believe this roof is one of Baltimore’s hidden gems. Green roofs provide many benefits to cities, especially during the dog days of summer. Traditional building materials soak up the sun’s radiation and re-emit it as heat, making cities 6-10°F hotter than surrounding areas. This is called the urban heat island effect. Our roof may be small, but we hope it is helping to alleviate some of the intense heat Baltimore City is experiencing this week!

The roofs also reduce heating and cooling loads on a building. A study conducted by Environment Canada found a 25% reduction in summer cooling needs and a 26% reduction in winter heat losses when a green roof is used.

Green roofs will also last up to twice as long as conventional roofs by protecting exterior roof membranes from UV radiation, extreme temperature fluctuations, and punctures.

These roofs even help the surrounding environment because they reduce stormwater runoff by acting as a sponge. It has been found that they can retain up to 75% of rainwater, gradually releasing it back into the atmosphere via condensation and transpiration, while filtering pollutants and heavy metals in their soil. Pollutants and carbon dioxide are also filtered out of the air.

Finally, green roofs provide habitat for plants, insects, and animals that otherwise have limited natural space in cities. Rooftop greenery complements wild areas by providing “stepping stones” for songbirds, migratory birds, and other wildlife facing shortages of natural habitat.

Catch a clean, green ride in Baltimore

Baltimore City has launched a free shuttle service that is clean and green, and ready to help residents and visitors get to their favorite downtown attractions!

The Charm City Circulator (CCC) features a fleet of 21 hybrid shuttles that travel three routes around the city and arrive every 10 minutes. The National Aquarium, Baltimore is among the stops on the orange route, which began service today. Some of us at the Aquarium enjoyed a ride this morning and we urge everyone in town to check it out! 

The City of Baltimore has promised that the service will be FAST, FRIENDLY and FREE, and CONNECTED to all there is to do in the heart of the city, like business meetings or a ball game.

But above all, this service will be COOL. Baltimore’s never seen a ride like this one – it’s sleek, comfortable, and GREEN. With zero emissions it will even help keep the planet cool. The CCC fleet features  DesignLine 2009 EcoSaver IV LF Hybrid Electric vehicles—the first fleet of this type in a major metropolitan area. The service is intended to reduce congestion and greenhouse gas pollution.

Need another reason to start riding today? The National Aquarium and other local attractions are offering discounted admission opportunities to everyone who rides the circulator this week. Discounts are good through January 18th so catch your ride today!

For more information visit the Charm City Circulator website.

Honoring the Aquarium’s ‘hero’

Yesterday, the City of Baltimore honored its most beloved mayor and former Maryland governor, William Donald Schaefer with the unveiling of a statue to memorialize his distinguished political career in Maryland. The statue lives in the middle of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, which is fitting since Schaefer’s most notable accomplishment was the transformation of the Inner Harbor from an industrial shipping area to a multi-million dollar tourist attraction and the gem of Baltimore.

The National Aquarium was one of the first additions to the Inner Harbor. In the mid-1970s Mayor Schaefer conceived and championed the idea of an aquarium as a vital component of the redevelopment. William Donald Schaefer is truly the Aquarium’s hero because if wasn’t for him, the National Aquarium may not exist today. Dozens of staff members and volunteers, as well as the Aquarium’s first board president, Frank Gunther, attended the ceremony yesterday to pay tribute to the man who brought our Aquarium to life.

Schaefer’s idea for an aquarium may have been his best idea for the City of Baltimore. In 1976, residents supported the Aquarium by voting for it on a bond referendum, and the groundbreaking for the facility took place August 8, 1978.  The Aquarium’s world-class status was recognized by the United States Congress, which granted the facility national status. The National Aquarium in Baltimore opened to the public exactly three years later on August 8, 1981. Today the Aquarium is huge economic driver for the city and is the most visited destination at the Inner Harbor.

Schaefer is also known for his hilarious dip in the Aquarium’s seal pool, which has turned out to be his most famous photo op! The mayor  lost a bet with a developer who said the National Aquarium would not open on schedule. When the initial date passed, the mayor put on his bathing garb, grabbed a Donald Duck squeaky, and jumped into the seal pool that used to be outside of the Aquarium. The pictures live on in Aquarium history. Many see Schaefer as he is represented in the beautiful new statue, but at the Aquarium, this how we like to remember our hero:

Classic Mayor Schaefer blog

Celebrating the presidential inauguration

On Saturday, January 17, 2009, President-Elect Obama will be visiting Baltimore on his way to his inauguration and will deliver a speech near City Hall at Baltimore’s War Memorial Plaza. The speech is scheduled to commence at 4:15 p.m.  National Aquarium visitors and overflow speech-goers will have a chance to see and hear the speech on a large screen in front of the Aquarium on Pier 3 in the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Waterfront Park.

For the safety and security of visitors to our city, many downtown streets will be closed on Saturday. Plan your visit to Baltimore City accordingly! Visit getarounddowntown.com, a service provided by Downtown Partnership, for a complete listing of these closures. Also, to accommodate visitors in the area, the Aquarium’s ticket center will close at 4 p.m. on Saturday.Visit aqua.org for details.

If you are traveling to Washington D.C. next week and looking for fun things to do around the city, stop by the newly renovated National Aquarium in D.C. located in the basement of the Commerce building.


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