Archive for the 'Green Tips' Category



Thoughtful Thursdays: Earth Hour

national aquarium earth hour

On Saturday March 23, 2013, the National Aquarium will once again be participating in Earth Hour. Sponsored by World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Earth Hour asks individuals, businesses, government leaders and others to turn out all non-essential lighting for one hour as a movement to demand action on climate change. We will stand in the dark alongside hundreds of international cities and iconic landmarks ranging from the Las Vegas strip to St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City to the Great Pyramids of Giza. Since 2007 when 2.2 million people took part in the first Earth Hour in Sydney, Australia, Earth Hour has massively expanded to over 7,000 cities and towns in 152 countries and territories with hundreds of millions of participants across seven continents.

We depend on our planet for so much – food, fuel, fresh air and water- and our actions play a key role in on our effects on the world. Earth Hour is an opportunity to show our commitment to help protect our resources and our planet. In 2013, Earth Hour is not merely an annual event, but is a continuous movement driving real actions to change the world we live in.

On Saturday, March 23, between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. (local time) Earth Hour will once again cascade across the globe. The National Aquarium (at both venues) will be turning off all unnecessary lighting and other electronic devices during that time.

Join us as we cast a vote for the environment!
1. Join the movement.
• Pledge to switch off your lights at home and show your support by registering your commitment.
• Encourage friends and family to get involved!
• Plan an Earth Hour party at home! Block parties, candlelight vigils and candlelight dinners are just a few things you can do to celebrate as a community.

2. Go Beyond the Hour.
• Extend your actions beyond an hour! This weekend, pledge to spend at least one whole day with a minimal impact on the environment. Unplug at home any non-essential appliances before leaving in the morning, and lower the thermostat for time you’re not in the house. Take public transit, or carpool with coworkers for a day. Pack a lunch in reusable dishware. Aim to use only reusable, recyclable or compostable materials throughout the day. Cook a dinner using only local and organic food (or don’t cook at all, eat foods that don’t have to be heated). Unplug with your family at night by playing a board game or relaxing with a book.
• Tell us what you did to make a difference. Share your efforts with us in the comments section!

This one hour of darkness may result in a small reduction of energy consumption, but more importantly paints a powerful picture of behavioral change needed to combat climate change. Join us as we stand among hundreds of millions of people to call for action on climate change!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=2UywrjnOaUE]

Thoughtful Thursdays: Why (and Where) We Compost

Last month, National Aquarium staff visited the Chesapeake Compost Works (CCW) facility located right here in Baltimore. The trip had two main objectives: to learn how composting plants work and to get a better sense of where we were sending tons (yes, TONS) of organic waste from our Baltimore venue every week.

The compost piles at the CCW

The compost piles at the CCW. The steam seen here is heat being released from the bacterial”breakdown” of the organic waste.

As a conservation organization, we’re always looking for ways to minimize the amount of waste we’re putting into the environment.

Three years ago, the Aquarium implemented a composting program in the Harbor Market Kitchen area. The program was later expanded to include visitor areas, waste from the rain forest exhibit and all staff and administrative office areas!

There are labeled compost bins (like this one in our harbor market kitchen) throughout the Aquarium's offices!

There are labeled compost bins (like this one in our harbor market kitchen) throughout the Aquarium!

We’ve been working with the CCW facility for just a few months (they opened in November). Located in Curtis Bay, CCW has 55,000 square feet of space to process local waste. They are currently accepting 60-80 tons of waste a week and converting it all into nutrient-rich soil for local farmers and the community!

In the short time we’ve been composting, the Aquarium has saved close to 40 tons of organic waste from landfills!

Interested in composting your waste? Here’s how to do it!

 

  1. Learn what kind or organic waste CAN be composted! A full list is available here
  2. Start collecting waste materials!
  3. Work with a local organization, like CCW, to have your waste collected. Baltimore and Washington, DC (and most developed areas) have “compost cabs” that will even come to you for collection!
  4. Visit a local compost facility! Not only will you learn more about the process, but you can also purchase nutrient-rich soil for gardening or urban farming projects!

 

A Blue View: Sea Turtle Conservation Series

A Blue View is a weekly perspective on the life aquatic, hosted by National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli.

From the smallest plants and animals invisible to the human eye to entire ecosystems, every living thing depends on and is intricately linked by water.

Tune in to 88.1 WYPR every Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. as John brings to the surface important issues and fascinating discoveries making waves in the world today.

In a two-part interview series with Dr. Kat Hadfield, Associate Veterinarian at National Aquarium, CEO John Racanelli discusses the endangered status of the world’s seven species of sea turtle and how organizations like the Aquarium and working to save them.

February 5, 2013: Sea Turtles and the Challenges They Face

A Blue View podcast

Click here to listen to John and Dr. Hadfield discuss
the challenges facing sea turtle populations worldwide. 

The 33rd Annual International Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation is happening in Baltimore, Maryland, this week. More than 1,000 scientists from 75 different countries are gathering to discuss sea turtle biology, research and conservation, collaborative projects and community-based conservation efforts.

All sea turtles occurring in U.S. waters are listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and are under the joint jurisdiction of NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Major threats to sea turtles in the U.S. include, but are not limited to: cold-stunning; destruction and alteration of nesting and foraging habitats; incidental capture in commercial and recreational fisheries; entanglement in marine debris; and vessel strikes.

January 31, 2013: A Busy Year for Sea Turtle Rescues

A Blue View podcast

Click here to listen to John and Dr. Hadfield discuss
this extraordinarily busy season of turtle rescues!

In a normal year, the New England Aquarium takes in between 25 and 60 sea turtles. In 2012, that number was more than 200, with an extraordinarily high number of loggerheads (10 times the usual number seen in a year).

Such an influx of rescues caused significant strain on staff and resources, which lead New England Aquarium to reach out for help from other stranding partners. Dr. Kat Hadfield, associate veterinarian at the National Aquarium, was among those who headed to Quincy, Massachusetts, to help. The Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program tended to multiple patients from New England until they were ready for release!

Super FISH Bowl: Our Fantasy Team Line-Up

As the competition between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers heats up in anticipation of Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVII, the National Aquarium, Baltimore and the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco are enlisting the help of their aquatic animals to take their own friendly rivalry off the green and into the blue in the Super FISH Bowl!

You can’t have a #SuperFISHBowl without a strong team! As part of our fun wager, each organization is building their ultimate fantasy animal line-up!

Here’s who we’ve got out on the field:

Kicker – Blue Crab
Cornerback – Golden Lion Tamarins
Defensive Line – Sand Tiger Sharks
Fullback – Dolphins
Linebacker – Porcupine Fish
Quarterback – Blue Hyacinth Macaw (Margaret)
Center – Snapping Turtle
Wide Receiver – Tarpon
Tight End – Roughtail Ray
Coach – Octopus (Poulpe)
Referees – Banggai Cardinalfish
Cheerleader – Green Sea Turtle (Calypso)

Tell us your favorite player & they could be our fan-voted MVP!

Make Your Own Boomerang Out of Recycled Materials!

Australia Day is a major holiday in Australia – a special day to honor the country’s rich cultural history and lush environment! You don’t have to live down under to participate, though. In fact, you can be right here in Maryland!

Our annual Australia Day celebration at the National Aquarium is TOMORROW!

Can’t wait until tomorrow? Here’s a sneak peek at one of the fun activities we have planned for the event!

DIY Boomerang

DIY Craft: Recycled Boomerang

Materials:

  • Cereal boxes/any rectangular pieces of cardboard
  • Boomerang stencil
  • Scissors
  • Permanent markers

Instructions (makes four boomerangs): 

  1. Print the boomerang stencil.
  2. Cut out the boomerang shape.
  3. Cut out the front and back sides of the cereal box and lay them down on a flat surface.
  4. Trace the boomerang shape twice onto each panel.
  5. Cut the boomerang shapes out and decorate them with permanent markers!
  6. To fly your boomerangs: grasp one of the blades between your thumb and index finger and use a sidearm motion. Applying more spin to the boomerang will cause it to fly longer and make a more complete arc when it returns.

Don’t forget to join us tomorrow in Baltimore for Australia Day! Our celebration includes fun activities, animal encounters and much more!

A Blue View: Menhaden Makes a Splash

A Blue View is a weekly perspective on the life aquatic, hosted by National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli.

From the smallest plants and animals invisible to the human eye to entire ecosystems, every living thing depends on and is intricately linked by water.

Tune in to 88.1 WYPR every Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. as John brings to the surface important issues and fascinating discoveries making waves in the world today.

January 23, 2013: Menhaden Makes a Splash 

A Blue View podcast

Click here to listen to John discuss the importance
of protecting the “most important fish in the sea.”

 

At first glance, the menhaden is not a glamorous fish – it’s not one that is brilliantly colored or one that you would find on a restaurant menu.

Also known as “bunker”, “pogy” or “bugmouth”, this bony, oily fish, is a humble fish. But there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to the menhaden. The menhaden has several critical roles for countless creatures under the sea, leading some to refer to it as “the most important fish in the sea.”

menhaden

Late last year, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission made history by voting to limit the catch of this critical species of fish. By putting a catch limit on menhaden, the ASMFC has given conservationists hope that enough fish can stay in the water to fulfill their ecological role.

A Blue View: The Environment Up Close at the 2013 Maryland General Assembly

A Blue View is a weekly perspective on the life aquatic, hosted by National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli.

From the smallest plants and animals invisible to the human eye to entire ecosystems, every living thing depends on and is intricately linked by water.

Tune in to 88.1 WYPR every Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. as John brings to the surface important issues and fascinating discoveries making waves in the world today.

January 15, 2013: The Start of the Maryland General Assembly

Listen to John discuss the important environmental legislation that will be debated during this session of the Maryland General Assembly. *

The 433rd legislative session of the Maryland General Assembly opened on January 9, and with it, several environmental issues that will shape the future of life in Maryland are being debated.

Issues like shark finning, plastic consumption, hydraulic fracturing and wind energy affect the people of Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed every day, and the quality of life in our state going forward.

Our government affairs team will be hard at work in Annapolis this year to advocate on behalf of these environmental initiatives.

Want to stay up to date on National Aquarium’s legislative efforts?  CLICK HERE to sign up for e-mail updates!

*Editor’s note: The audio and script for this week’s A Blue View incorrectly referred to 2013’s legislative session as the 429th. It is the 433rd.


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