Posts Tagged 'maryland governor'

Let’s Make Baltimore the Largest Community Wildlife Habitat along the Chesapeake Bay!

For years, Baltimore has been known as “Birdland” and now, thanks to the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and the National Aquarium, it’s official. Today, First Lady of Maryland Katie O’Malley joined leaders from NWF, National Aquarium and city officials to launch a program aimed at greening city streets, backyards, schools and places of worship.

First Lady Katie O'Malley speaking about the importance of "greening" Baltimore.

First Lady Katie O’Malley speaking about the importance of “greening” Baltimore.

“We believe that your backyard can be a place for exploring and unleashing children’s curiosity,” said Hilary Harp Falk, Regional Executive Director for National Wildlife Federation.  “Baltimore has always been a city for the birds, and we intend to work with partners in the City to create beautiful places which will offer opportunities to learn, connect and play.”

By greening the city for birds, butterflies and other wildlife, residents of Baltimore will also help to improve both air and water quality for humans. The more native plantings that are used to attract wildlife, the greater potential the city has of reaching its Healthy Harbor goals and helping to clean the Chesapeake Bay.

“As a conservation organization it is our goal to inspire people to do their part, starting here in our backyard of Baltimore and the Chesapeake Bay,” said John Racanelli, National Aquarium CEO. “We are dedicated to a Healthy Harbor and we believe that can happen if we all get involved in the greening of our city.”

Did you know? Our Waterfront park is a certified wildlife habitat!

Did you know? Our Waterfront park is a certified wildlife habitat!

Community Wildlife Habitat certification will bring many organizations and individuals together to work on a common vision, and, when successful, Baltimore will achieve certification for more than 600 homes, 10 parks, and 6 schools and be recognized as one of the 60+ Community Wildlife Habitats nationwide!

In celebration of the National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife month in May, people across the country – from bird watchers to butterfly lovers – are joining the residents of Baltimore in transforming their gardens into havens for wildlife.  The National Wildlife Federation has also pledged to plant a tree for every Certified Wildlife Habitat during the month of May to honor its garden supporters! 

A Re-cap of Maryland’s 2013 Legislative Session

government affairs and policy update

Maryland’s General Assembly adjourned sine die last night at midnight, marking the end of the 2013 Legislative Session. All three of the National Aquarium’s primary interests – capital funding, education funding, and a bill to ban the sale and trade of shark fins – were approved by the General Assembly and await Governor O’Malley’s signature. The shark fin bill even received an honorable mention as one of the “winners” of the 2013 session.

The National Aquarium would like to thank the members of the Maryland General Assembly — and particularly our representatives in District 46 — as well as Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown for their continuous support of our mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures.

Here’s an overview of our legislative activities over the past three months:

National Aquarium receives $5 million in capital funding for new exhibit

The National Aquarium’s request for $5 million in capital funding was approved by both chambers on April 8th. The grant has been earmarked to fund capital infrastructure improvements including the development of a new interactive Atlantic shorelines exhibit.

Read more about the new exhibit the State funding will support here.

Education funding for National Aquarium to admit Maryland school children increased by $154,000

The Governor included an additional $2 million in the State Aided Education Institutions (SAI) Funding budget and the increase was split evenly among the SAI institutions (others include the Science Center, Port Discovery, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation). Despite recommendations to limit the funding increase to all SAI organizations with the exception of one institution, both the House and Senate fully funded the SAI budget at the Governor’s request. We will receive an additional $150,000 ($474,601 in total) in FY2014 to help bring Maryland students to the Aquarium.

Read more about the program here.

General Assembly passes bill to prohibit the sale and trade of shark fins

The National Aquarium’s primary conservation issue – a bill to ban the sale and trade of shark fins in order to curb the killing of nearly 100 million sharks a year – passed both chambers. The Maryland House of Delegates passed HB 1148, introduced by Del. Eric Luedtke, D-Montgomery County, by a vote of 119-15 in March and the Senate passed similar legislation – SB 592 introduced by Sen. Brian Frosh, D-Montgomery County – by a margin of 41-6 on April 4. Both bills passed with bi-partisan support, with final votes in the opposite chambers occurring before the General Assembly adjourned at midnight on Monday. The legislation now moves to Governor O’Malley for his signature.

If adopted, Maryland will become the first state on the East Coast and the sixth state in the nation to pass a law providing critical protection to sharks, and, therefore, supporting the health of the world’s ocean ecosystem. Other states that have laws in place are California, Hawaii, Illinois, Oregon and Washington – as well as all three U.S. Pacific territories of Guam, American Samoa, and Northern Mariana Islands.

Read more about the issue here.

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Thoughtful Thursdays: Celebrate Earth Day All Weekend

Each year, Earth Day — April 22 — marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. At the Aquarium, our goal is to practice conservation every day of the year, but this weekend, in honor of Earth Day, we thought we’d do a little extra celebrating!

We have lots of fun activities lined up for Saturday and Sunday at our Baltimore venue, between 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Enjoy special animal encounters, repurpose recyclable materials into cool crafts, check out our eco-fair, and learn the tooth about sharks!

We’re also holding an e-cycle event, to send old or broken electronics to a second-life program, rather than to a landfill. Bring in your old cell phones, CDs and DVDs, and any other small electronics you’d like to dispose of, and we’ll give you a gift in return!

On Sunday, you’re invited to join Aquarium CEO John Racanelli and special guests Governor Martin O’Malley and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake at 11 a.m. for a tree-planting ceremony, as we celebrate our new partnership with the National Wildlife Federation. The event will take place in the Aquarium’s Waterfront Park, just outside the main entrance on Pier 3. Meet Ranger Rick, sign a pledge to plant a tree, and take one home to plant and nurture. Also on Sunday, if you ride your bike to the Aquarium, you can get a free tune-up courtesy of Joe’s Bike Shop!


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