Posts Tagged 'thoughtful thursdays'



Thoughtful Thursdays: Inspiring Conservation in Future Generations

This week, National Aquarium is co-hosting the 33rd annual International Sea Turtle Symposium, which has brought together more than 1,000 scientists and conservationists from over 75 countries to discuss collaborative efforts to save all seven species of endangered sea turtle.

Currently, turtle populations worldwide are in dramatic decline due to issues like habitat destruction, cold-stunning, debris entanglement, incidental capture in commercial and recreational fishing.  The symposium is a tool to share knowledge and encourage discussion around sea turtles in our local community and how we create and/or affect these issues. This meeting provides Baltimore and the state of Maryland with a rare opportunity to participate in an international dialogue and gain exposure to new pathways in conservation science.

As part of our co-hosting duties, symposium participants were invited to visit the Aquarium for a Welcome Social earlier this week.

General Curator Jack Cover was on hand during the Aquarium’s “Welcome Social” for symposium participants to talk about the many species of turtle we have in our collection.

The theme of the symposium is “connections” and throughout the week, they hope to create connections not only with fellow researchers and conference attendees but also with the community and local students.

To encourage involvement, the symposium is providing teacher and educator workshops, live streaming of special sessions to local schools and universities as well as a sea turtle art contest in Baltimore City schools.

The art contest in particular is a powerful way to reach students and encourage them to express their love for sea turtles. Further, it presents an innovative avenue to reinforce the community’s need to respect and save these majestic creatures. Each school submitted art pieces in the hopes of winning an opportunity to learn more about the importance of turtles at special expert Q&A sessions at the symposium. The following local schools have their art featured at the symposium:

  • St. Demetrius Bilingual Day School
  • Poolesville High School
  • South River High School
  • Furman Templeton Prep
  • Dr. Rayner Browne Academy
  • Friends Meeting School

One local school in particular, St. Demetrius Bilingual Day School, took this art project a step further! Students did a month-long science unit on sea turtles leading up to the week of the event. During their visit to the symposium, students had lunch with biologists and conservationists and even took a trip to the Aquarium!

After learning even more about sea turtles, 4th and 5th grade classes at St. Demetrius were inspired to actually adopt a turtle at the Aquarium through our Aquadopt program!

Want to learn more about the dialogue happening at the symposium or the Aquarium’s efforts to save sea turtles? Leave us your questions in the comments section!

You can also join the conservation on Twitter (for symposium-specific news, follow the hashtags #ISTS33 and #ISTS2013).

Thoughtful Thursdays: Spotted! Seals Make Their Way to MD Shores

As temperatures continue to drop here in Maryland and along the East Coast, migrating seals are making their way back to our shores!

This seal was spotted near 28th street in Ocean City, Maryland! Photo via Maryland Coastal Bays Program

This seal was spotted near 28th street in Ocean City, Maryland! Photo via Maryland Coastal Bays Program

Seals are semi-aquatic (which means they like to spend part of the time in the water and part of the time on land). They will typically spend multiple days swimming south, only to haul out on beaches, rocks or docks to rest. Seals will also haul out on exceptionally stormy or sunny days – this gives them a chance to wait out the stormy seas or soak up some warm sun, depending on the weather.

If you’re lucky enough to see a seal on the beach in Maryland, it’s best to give the animal lots of space (at least 100 feet of distance) and stay downwind, if possible. By all means, enjoy watching the seals and take plenty of pictures, but please do not disturb them – they have had a long commute from the north.

Furthermore, disturbing the animal by making it change locations or flee back into the water is against the law. Seals are federally protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

A healthy, resting seal will typically be seen in a “banana position” on their side with their head or rear flippers in the air (see photo below). A seal that is entangled in marine debris or has physical wounds will often be resting flat on its stomach and may need medical attention.

posture

If you see a seal that may be in need of medical attention, please call the National Aquarium’s Stranding Hotline at 410-373-0083, or the Natural Resources Police at 1-800-628-9944.

Thoughtful Thursdays: DIY Green Holiday Decorations

From the mesmerizing experience of watching “Polar Express” in 4D to staff celebrations and special holiday enrichment activities for the animals, the holiday season is always an exciting time for us at National Aquarium.

Part of that excitement includes decorating! As part of our conservation mission, we are always on the look out for ways to use recycled and eco-friendly materials to create one-of-a-kind holiday decorations!

We’ve included the steps for some of our DIY favorites below:

Recycled Magazine Holiday Tree 

Materials: 

Old magazines
Glue (optional)
Glitter (optional)

Directions: 

  1. Fold the page of the magazine down to create a triangular crease

  2. Fold the triangle down again and then fold the tip of that page up so that it’s even with the bottom of the magazine
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until every page of the magazine is folded in
  4. If desired, use glue and glitter to decorate your magazine trees!

Paper Bows

Materials: 

Recycled paper (printer paper and old magazine/newspaper works best)
Double-sided tape
Stapler

Directions: 

  1. Cut your paper into eight approximately one-inch wide strips (leaving one to the side)
  2. Loop the top half of the strip and secure to the middle of the strip with tape, loop the bottom half of the strip so to complete the “figure eight” shape
  3. Repeat step two for the remainder your strips
  4. Arrange the “figure eights” into a bow shape and secure together with a stapler.
  5. Loop the final strip (set aside earlier) and tape it in the center of the bow to cover the staple

3D Paper Snowflake 

Materials: 

Recycled paper cut into six squares (again printer paper and old magazine/newspaper work best)
Scissors
Tape
Stapler
Old ribbon or string (optional, for hanging)

Directions: 

  1. Gather your six square sheets of paper and fold each diagonally into a triangle
  2. Cut three lines in the triangle by positioning the scissors along the bottom fold, these cuts should be parallel to the top edges of the triangle and should leave some distance in the middle of the triangle (do not cut the paper all the way through)
  3. Once you’ve cut lines into each piece of paper, unfold them so that one of the points of the square faces you
  4. Roll the first two innermost paper lines together to form a tube. Place these two pieces together. You should see triangle shapes on either side of the role
  5. Turn the diamond over, take the next two paper lines and pull them together on the opposite side of the tube and tape together as before. This will be a more rounded shape than the first tube.
  6. Completing that pattern, join all the paper lines together on alternating sides until every “arm” of the snowflake has been completed
  7. Staple together the tops of three of the completed snowflake “arms”
  8. Staple the other three tops together
  9. Join the two halves of the snowflake by stapling together the tops of the snowflake
  10. Staple together where the “arms” of the snowflake meet each other, ensuring that the snowflake shape will stay in place
  11. If desired, loop a piece of ribbon or string through one of the snowflake “arms” and hang your snowflakes on doors, banners or windows!

Want to learn some other exciting eco-friendly holiday crafts? Join us for our holiday events, including our World Holiday Traditions celebration next Friday, December 7. We’ll be using recycled holiday cards to make notes to send to service members! 

Do you have a favorite eco-friendly holiday craft or decoration? Share them with us in the comments! 

Thoughtful Thursdays: Happy America Recycles Day!

We are committed to conservation and we strive to live our mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures, in everything we do.  Today, on America Recycles Day, we are happy to share with you some of the many ways our dedicated team’s hard work is paying off!

GREEN is in the numbers: 

  • 20.24 tons of organic materials were collected for composting
  • 45.72 tons of single-stream recycling were diverted from landfills
  • 2,135 pounds of technotrash and eCycling were diverted from landfills
  • 3.3 megawatts of electricity were saved thanks to energy efficiency upgrades to the lighting and water pump systems throughout our buildings
ECycled motherboards!

ECycled motherboards!

bird enrichment

Bird enrichment toy made from recycled newspapers!

In addition to our bigger programs, Aquarium staff are always thinking of new ways to reduce, reuse, recycle and repurpose materials for our everyday tasks! Our Animal Programs team is especially clever and has made numerous enrichment materials from used items!

  • Paper towel tubes as puzzle feeders for birds
  • Old phone books for our birds to shred
  • Used gift cards to open reptile mouths for medical exams
  • And much more…the list is endless!

Monty likes to hang out in recycled cardboard boxes

We invite you to use today’s celebration to adopt some easy recycling practices:

  • Take the America Recycles Day pledge
    (It’s never too early to get started on those New Year’s resolutions!)
  • Make it a family affair!
    Kick your new pledge into high-gear by sharing your commitment with your family/friends/community.
  • Discover new ways to recycle!
    We are a big fan of TerraCycle’s brigades , who collect previously non-recyclable or hard to recycle waste. Send your hard to recycle items off to TerraCycle and they will appropriately recycle for you!
  • Get crafty!
    Before you throw away that old pair of socks, t-shirt, book, cork, plastic milk jug or plastic water bottle check out these fun DIY crafts. They are easy (and cheap) ways to get a little more life out of these products.

Those are just a few ideas – we’d love to learn some new ones! What are YOUR favorite ways to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and/or Repurpose? 

Sustainable Seafood Q&A with the Rusty Scupper’s Mark Miranda

In honor of our upcoming sustainable seafood Fresh Thoughts dinner in Baltimore, we sat down with featured chef, Mark Miranda of the Rusty Scupper, to get the scoop on how the sustainable dining movement is influencing the dining scene in Baltimore. 

Mark Miranda

Mark Miranda

A chef for more than 30 years, Markl Miranda has served the Rusty Scupper’s renowned Maryland crab cakes and seafood to some of the Monument City’s most monumental appetites. In doing so, Miranda has also shared his passion for preserving the ecology and economy of our community by upholding his restaurant’s commitment to serving only the best quality, sustainable seafood. 

National Aquarium: What’s your favorite sustainable seafood ingredient to cook? 

Mark Miranda: My favorite sustainable seafood to cook with is the Stripped Bass, better known as Rockfish. Rockfish is a local favorite that is very versatile.  It can be prepared in a variety of ways.  The Rockfish population is thriving, not only in our area but also throughout the world.

NA: How is sustainable seafood playing a role in Baltimore’s dining scene?

MM:  As people become more aware and knowledgeable about sustainable seafood, they are paying more attention to restaurants and establishments that use sustainable seafood ingredients.  Customers want to be sure they are supporting environmentally friendly practices so many are choosing restaurants that offer dishes prepared with sustainable seafood. Using sustainable seafood not only helps to build our business, it also allows us to give back to the environment.

NA: What’s the biggest challenge when it comes to cooking sustainably? 

MM: There really are no challenges in cooking with sustainable seafood.  However, if you say you are using sustainable seafood, you must be sure the items are sustainable and stick to using them.  Sometimes products can be misleading, so you must pay close attention to the sources of the ingredients to make sure the product is truly sustainable.

NA: In 2013, what is one sustainable seafood ingredient you hope to see more of in restaurants (including your own)? 

MM: I really enjoy preparing dishes that incorporate the Basa fish.  It is similar to the catfish and growing in popularity.  The Basa fish can be prepared in a variety of ways—from grilling and sautéing to frying and blackened.  When choosing to prepare Basa, it is important that you look for the fish to be U.S. farm-raised as it is farmed in a more ecologically responsible manner than those imported from Asia.

Click here to learn more about our Fresh Thoughts sustainable seafood dining series in both Washington, DC and Baltimore.


Sign up for AquaMail

Twitter Updates


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 239 other followers