Archive for the 'National Aquarium' Category

Thoughtful Thursday: Ditching Plastic Bottles

It is the 10th day of our 48 Days of Blue initiative!

We are overwhelmed and excited to share that, in a few short days, we’ve reached almost 900,000 people online together! In the days and weeks leading up to World Oceans Day (June 8), we’ll be drilling down on each of our 48 Days of Blue pledges and sharing the conservation potential that exists with each.

This week’s focus is on reusable vs. plastic bottle use!

Did you know? A mass of plastic trash circulating in the North Pacific, known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, spans an area twice the size of the United States.

Americans buy approximately 29 billion plastic water bottles every year.

By pledging to swap single-use with a reusable bottles, you can save an average of 168 plastic bottles (and up to $250) a year!

reusable water bottle conservation

Want to help make our blue planet a better place? Head over to and join others in pledging to use a reusable water bottle!

A Blue View: Getting to Know Bob Talbot

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.

April 30, 2014: Getting to Know Bob Talbot

A Blue View podcastClick here to listen to John and Bob Talbot discuss
Talbot’s incredible film/photography work!


Whether you realize it or not, you’ve probably seen Bob Talbot’s work. The photographer, filmmaker and environmental advocate has filmed wildlife sequences for everything from “Free Willy” to “Flipper,” and his stunning photographs of whales and dolphins have been reproduced into millions of lithographs and distributed worldwide. (In fact, they’re still considered the most popular series of marine mammal posters on the planet.)

His compelling storytelling technique, combined with the stunning way he captures underwater life through a lens, gives Talbot the opportunity to do what our ocean-dwelling friends cannot: provide a voice that moves people to action. Presented with the Environmental Hero Award, the Ark Trust Genesis Award and the prestigious SeaKeeper Award, he’s dedicated his life to promoting awareness of ocean issues and encouraging conservation of Earth’s resources.

We had the honor of hosting Talbot this past Earth Day (April 22) at the Aquarium, as part of our Marjorie Lynn Bank lecture series, where he shared his experiences photographing and filming some of the world’s most incredible marine animals. Miss Talbot’s lecture? Don’t panic…we recorded it for you!

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for our upcoming lecture with humpback whale rescuer Ed Lyman on May 7th! 

national aquarium CEO john racanelli

Conservation Re-cap: 15 Years at Fort McHenry


As the birthplace of our National Anthem, Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine is an important site for our nation’s history. Since 1999, Aquarium staff and Aquarium Conservation Team volunteers (ACT!) have joined community volunteers to clean up and enhance the natural areas around the Fort that provide habitat, food and shelter for an amazing variety of wildlife that rely the area.

Ft. McHenry

As of January 2014, almost 630,000 pieces of debris have been removed from the wetland during our conservation field days. Just this weekend, 150 volunteers filled two dumpsters full of debris!

In addition to cleaning up marine debris, volunteers remove harmful invasive plants, maintain hiking trails, maintain pollinator and rain gardens and plant native flowers/trees. These efforts have proven to be vital, not only for the care and maintenance of Fort McHenry and the many species that call it home, but for the Aquarium’s environmental education work as well.

ACT!’s work helps preserve the home of hundreds of animal species, including birds, butterflies, reptiles, insects and aquatic creatures, while educating students and the public about marsh ecology and urban wildlife. Wildlife at Fort McHenry include blue crabs, marsh crabs, comb jellies, grass shrimp, Atlantic silversides, snapping turtles, ospreys, loons, mockingbirds, monarch butterflies, red foxes, bats, river otters, leopard frogs, and many, many more!

red fox at ft. mchenry

A fox recently spotted at Fort McHenry by Flickr user drbeanes!

For the past 15 years, ACT! has recorded and classified the amount and types of debris collected during our events. This data is used by the Aquarium and others to look at long-term trends in debris effects on ecosystem health and to provide information that can help us prioritize our waste reductions efforts throughout the city, state and country.

Have you ever visited this historic landmark? Tell us about your experience in the comments section!

Laura Bankey

Happy Save the Frogs Day!

Did you know? It’s National Frog Month AND today is Save the Frogs Day!

Frogs are fascinating animals with distinctive adaptations. With about 6,000 approximate species of frogs worldwide, they have a multitude of traits and tricks suited to their unique environments. At the Aquarium, we have frogs of every color of the rainbow, from the vivid indigo of the blue poison dart frog to the vibrant green skin of the giant leaf frog.

Check out some of the frogs that call the Aquarium home:

Varying in size between the the 18 mm Splash-back Poison Dart Frog and the 220 mm Giant Marine Toad  frogs are some of the smallest animals at the Aquarium. Some species weigh only about 0.3 ounces.

national aquarium frog infographic

In celebration of National Frog Month and Save the Frogs Day, we encourage you and your family to consider adopting one of our frogs through Aquadopt. Aquadopt programs help our frogs by allowing us to provide them with the best veterinary care and food.

Not only will you be supporting our frogs, with each adoption, you’ll receive a Fun Facts sheet to learn even more about frogs and their remarkable features, as well as an 8×10 photograph of your frog and a frog plush. Your gift promotes our mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures while taking care of those we have here at home!

How are you celebrating Save the Frogs Day? Tell us in the comments section! 

Animal Update – April 25

national aquarium animal update

Puddingwife Wrasse in Atlantic Coral Reef!

A puddingwife wrasse has been added to our Atlantic Coral Reef exhibit!

puddingwife wrasse

The puddingwife wrasse is native to the reefs of the western Atlantic (from North Carolina to Trinidad and Tobago).

This species prefers the shallow areas of the reef, where it can easily feed on sea urchins, crustaceans and brittle stars.

According to the IUCN Red List, the puddingwife is a fairly abundant species!

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!

Thoughtful Thursday: Putting Freshwater in Focus

Every living thing requires freshwater to survive—and there’s not much of it.

While a staggering 97.5 percent of our planet’s water is saltwater, only 2.5 percent is freshwater. And if you think that’s a small number, brace yourself, because it gets even smaller: We can access less than 1 percent of that freshwater. The rest of it is frozen and chilling, literally, in places like Antarctica and Greenland, or so far underground that we can’t get to it.

water defines our world

The freshwater we use exists in lakes, rivers, wetlands, reservoirs and in our soil. It’s replenished through rain and snowfall, making it a sustainable resource—if we use it wisely. This may come as a surprise, since many of us have seemingly unlimited water flowing out of our home faucets, but we have been taking advantage of it.

Global water use doubled between 1960 and 2000, and the number of people living in water-stressed countries is expected to increase from approximately 700 million today to more than 3 billion by 2025. Half of the planet’s wetlands that supply our freshwater have been drained or destroyed, and less than half of the world’s longest rivers are free-flowing, meaning they’re not blocked by dams or other barriers.

The good news is that there’s still time to change the future of our freshwater. If everyone pitches in, we can ensure there’s plenty of it for generations to come.

Don’t believe you can make much of an impact on your own? Consider this: A bathroom faucet runs at approximately 2 gallons of water every minute. By simply turning off the tap while you brush your teeth, you can save 200 gallons of water a month. That’s enough water to fill five bathtubs!

Turn the tide today. Use the 48 days between Earth Day (April 22) and World Oceans Day (June 8) to make a difference. All it takes is one small change in your routine, starting today. Go to to take a pledge and protect our blue planet!

 Source: Map projection by Van der Grinten, GIS data from Natural Earth


A Blue View: Bringing Back Atlantic White Cedars

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.

April 23, 2014: Bringing Back Atlantic White Cedars

A Blue View podcastClick here to listen to John and Aquarium Conservation
Project Manager, Charmaine Dahlenburg, discuss our
efforts to restore Atlantic white cedar forests!

Historically, Atlantic white cedar forests were common to Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Over time, these trees were harvested, and the swampy areas they depend on for survival were drained and replanted with fast-growing loblollies as part of the forest industry to produce lumber and paper pulp.

Excessive logging wasn’t the only reason for the drastic decline of Atlantic white cedars. These trees require low, wet land, like swamps, to thrive, and many of these wetlands have been drained after too many ditches have been put in and caused these areas to dry up.

nassawango creek preserve

Now, the Atlantic white cedar is a rare, uncommon tree that has actually landed itself on the Maryland Department of Natural Resource’s watchlist.

Atlantic white cedars are considered a highly-ecologically beneficial plant species. They provide habitat to a diverse array of wildlife, protect our watershed and act as a “sponge” to prevent flooding.

The National Aquarium, in partnership with the Nature Conservancy, is trying to bring these unique native Atlantic white cedar forests back to the Eastern Shore.

Click here to learn more about how you can get involved!


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