Archive for the 'Video' Category

Thoughtful Thursday: More than 4,000 ft of restored shoreline at Indian Head

The Aquarium Conservation Team spent most of June at Naval Support Facility Indian Head and Stump Neck Annex (Indian Head, MD). Over a period of 11 days, volunteers planted 45,897 native wetland grasses along the Potomac River, restoring more than 4,000 feet of shoreline!

Spring and early summer are ideal times for planting wetland grasses in the mid-Atlantic region, so Aquarium staff and partners worked through record-high temperatures to complete the job! Volunteers from the Maryland Conservation Corps, Mattawoman Watershed Society, Appalachian Mountain Club, Naval Support Activity South Potomac, and the community hand-planted nine different species of grass.

Our volunteers aren’t afraid to get dirty

The National Aquarium has partnered with NSF Indian Head since 2008, restoring sections of shoreline each year. During this spring’s event, Aquarium staff monitored older wetland areas, and found them in full bloom and thriving.

After the planting is complete; look at all those grasses!

Want to join us? The Aquarium Conservation Team will return in the fall of 2012 to complete Phase Two of the shoreline restoration by planting the upland portion with trees and shrubs. We need your help! Dates for the fall planting will be announced in August. Be sure to check here for registration details.

Animal Updates – June 15

Between our Baltimore and Washington, DC, venues, more than 17,500 animals representing 900 species call the National Aquarium home. There are constant changes, additions, and more going on behind the scenes that our guests may not notice during their visit. We want to share these fun updates with our community so we’re bringing them to you in our weekly Animal Update posts!

Check our blog every Friday to find out what’s going on… here’s what’s new this week!

New Coral 

We’ve added a number of new corals to our Pacific Coral Reef and Occupying exhibits. These corals include yellow sun polyps, green and purple star polyps and bright orange mushrooms!

Sun polyp

Orange mushroom

Purple star polyps

Green star polyp

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

Behind the Scenes – Making of National Aquarium Commercials

Our team had a blast creating our new advertising campaign. We were joined by the Goetz Brothers directing duo from Los Angeles (who also directed some of our Jellies Invasion campaign pieces), and we think the final product showcases the amazing things you can experience at the National Aquarium.

Take a behind-the-scenes look and see what went into the making of our commercials below!

Now that you’ve seen and heard our vision, watch the final products and let us know if we hit the mark! (And learn some more behind-the-scenes fun facts!)

“The Blind Date”

Fun Fact: We intentionally dressed the female actress in this spot to match our fish! Can you match up the colors?

“Brother & Sister”

Fun Fact: This brother and sister actors are ACTUALLY brother and sister! And although some of the dialogue was scripted, the kids were so mesmerized by the dolphins that a lot of their lines were improvised. Clever kids!

“Father & Son”

Fun Fact: We were (and continue to be) astounded that this father and son duo are not actually related. They look so similar! Maybe we should get a blood test…


Fun Fact: The two children in this commercial were actually two random guests enjoying their first visit to the Aquarium. How’s that for a first visit?

What It’s Like to Intern at the Aquarium: Part 3

by Morgan Randall, Digital Marketing Intern

The Marine Animal Rescue Program, Community Affairs, and Publications interns in my last post gave some insight on jobs interns are doing behind the scenes at the National Aquarium.  But there are still more amazing experiences to be had!

Courtney Potter

Animal Programs

Courtney is a senior at Virginia Tech but is currently taking a semester off and attending the College of Southern Maryland.  She is majoring in dairy science with a minor in animal and poultry science, with a horse emphasis.

Despite living two hours away from the aquarium, she committed to the trip in order to get hands-on experience and an opportunity outside of Virginia Tech.  Within her department she was responsible for taking care of a variety of animals. Her duties included (but were not limited to) cleaning their environments, measuring the animals’ food, and providing stimulating animal enrichment activities.  Courtney also conducted an independent study project with the bearded dragons, where she investigated which structure, a cork clog or cardboard box, the animals preferred to use in their enclosure.  She found her time at the aquarium to be “extremely helpful” in figuring out what she wanted to do concerning animals.

Courtney helps out with an animal encounter with Flick the kookaburra

Kristen Lipari

Marketing, Community Affairs

Kristen is a senior at Loyola University majoring in marketing with a minor in information systems.  During her freshman year of college, she had her eye on the aquarium as a potential internship opportunity.  Then, at the internship fair at her school, she applied knowing that it would be a great place to work.

Kristen assists in planning and researching for events at the aquarium.  One event that she has been helping plan is the Grade A Student Night, where local students grades K–12 with three or more As can get into the aquarium for free.  She is also helping with the aquarium’s Cultural Series events.  Kristen says that this internship has helped her become a better communicator and prioritize.  She currently has a job lined up with a staffing agency for after she graduates.

Kristen mans an educational table at an event

Alea Williams

Visual Productions

Alea is a sophomore at Anne Arundel Community College and will soon be getting her Associates Degree through their media production program.  Afterwards, she plans on transferring to Emerson College to major in digital post-production.  She has loved the aquarium since she was a young child and considers this her dream internship.

Alea wears many hats in her department.  In one day she could be doing anything from transferring VHS archives into DVDs, to shooting and gathering footage during the dolphin presentations.  However, her ongoing assignment was to create a short web video about the golden lion tamarins in the Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit.  This included shooting video, conducting interviews, and making edits to the footage.  She has gained a lot of experience at the aquarium and would love to work with the company in the future. You can see the results of her hard work here:

Interested in interning at the National Aquarium? Learn more here.

Thoughtful Thursdays: Algae Bloom in the Bay

Have you noticed a murky tint to Baltimore’s Harbor lately? A “mahogany tide” of reddish-brown algae (Prorocentrum minimum) has invaded our local waters.

Reddish-brown water just outside the National Aquarium

“What we’re seeing here appears to be what’s called a mahogany tide,” says National Aquarium specialist Susan Bitter. “Unfortunately, it isn’t exotic and it isn’t as interesting and tasty as it sounds.”

Watch Susan explain about the mahogany tide on WJZ:

Algae blooms can be very damaging to life in the Bay. The algae live for only a short time, but when they die, the bacteria that eat the algae suck much-needed oxygen out of the water, creating “dead zones.” The lack of oxygen in the water makes it hard for the aquatic plants and animals that live there to survive, potentially causing large-scale fish kills.

Algae blooms occur each spring in the Chesapeake Bay at varying intensities. We had a mild winter, and record-high water temperatures are being recorded all over the Chesapeake. The warm water not only encourages the algae growth, but also makes the bacteria that feed on them more active, drawing more oxygen out of the water.

Excess nutrients in the water are the primary cause of harmful algae blooms. We can all play a part in reducing the nutrients that are introduced into our local streams.

The Aquarium recently participated in the launch of floating wetlands into the Harbor, which help absorb nutrients from the water.

Everyone can help by adopting bay-friendly lawn care practices: plant native plants that don’t need fertilizer; don’t fertilize in the spring, only in the fall, and only with the nutrients that are needed for your lawn (spring rains wash fertilizers off land and into the waterways). Take your car to the automatic carwash and let it do your dirty work. When you wash your car in your driveway, those chemicals run down into the storm drains, which feed directly into the Bay. Most sewer systems and wastewater treatment plants do not remove poisonous cleaners, and yard and car-wash chemicals make their way into local waterways. And finally, pick up after your pet, and if you’re on a septic system, make sure it’s functioning well.

National Aquarium Featured on FOX 5

This past week, FOX 5 featured our Reptile and Amphibian Day! Check out reporter Annie Yu as she joins us at our Washington, DC, location for some fun animal interactions!

Although the event was held this past Saturday, February 25, you can come see these interesting reptiles and amphibians (plus sharks!) every day!

A tale of two sand tiger sharks

We’re very excited to welcome two new sand tiger sharks to the Open Ocean exhibit at the National Aquarium, Baltimore.

Where did these sharks come from, and how did they get to the Aquarium? Watch this video to find out:

Whenever possible, the animals in our exhibits are bred right here at the National Aquarium, or at other zoos and aquariums across the country. The National Aquarium has successfully bred many species of cartilaginous fish, including Southern stingrays and cownose rays. Breeding programs reduce the need to collect animals from the wild.

Did you know? The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) maintains a forum where accredited institutions can swap animals—it’s like Craigslist for aquariums!

Breeding programs are not possible for some species, including the sand tiger shark, due to intensive resource requirements and logistical impossibilities.

For this reason, Andy Dehart, director of Fishes & Aquatic Invertebrates for the National Aquarium and renowned shark expert, and his team are leading the way for sustainable shark-collecting practices that put the safety and health of the animals first.

Sharks are collected using a long-line fishing technique that minimizes bycatch, or fish caught unintentionally, and “we modify our fishing hooks, sanding off the barbs, to reduce injury and handling time of the sharks,” says Andy. “We know that line fishing with barbless hooks means we catch less sharks, but that’s a trade off we’re happy to accept,” he continues.

The sharks are transported back to shore in a special shark-sized fish box on the Aquarium’s shark collecting vessel. If a shark is thrashing in the fish box, Dehart and other Aquarium staff will actually get in the box and “hug” the shark to keep it still to prevent any injury.

A big, cold, wet shark hug—now that’s dedication!

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