Posts Tagged 'thoughtful thursday'

Thoughtful Thursday: Inspiring the Next Generation of Ocean-Lovers

Our celebration of National Volunteer Appreciation Week continues with a special story about one of the Aquarium’s volunteers and her students!

Abbe Harman has been a volunteer supporter of the National Aquarium for 28 years and a teacher for for Frederick County Public Schools for 25 years. As an Enrichment Specialist at Middletown Elementary School, Abbe works closely with fifth grade students, teaching them about the Chesapeake Bay watershed and coral reef ecosystems!

Yesterday, Abbe hosted a large group of her fifth graders for a special field trip tot he Aquarium! The students were able to see their teacher in-action, as she led an interactive lesson and fed the animals in our Atlantic Coral Reef exhibit!

national aquarium volunteer diver

In the weeks leading up to their field trip, Abbe’s students also had the opportunity to enter an essay contest for the opportunity to go on a special behind-the-scenes tour of the Aquarium.

Abbe, from all of us here at the National Aquarium, thank you for being a longtime supporter of our mission and an impactful educator.

Do you volunteer? Share your story with us in the comments section and online using #NVW14!

Thoughtful Thursday: 300 Trees Planted at Masonville Cove

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Last week, the National Aquarium teamed up with local school students and community volunteers to restore vital habitat right here in Baltimore City. Through the Students Restoring Urban Streams initiative, 80 student and community volunteers planted more than 300 trees in Farring-Baybrook Park, a vital part of the Masonville Cove watershed.

Located in the heart of South Baltimore, Farring-BayBrook Park is one of the largest green spaces in Baltimore City.

Since 2011, the National Aquarium has partnered with the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks to plant native trees and improve the habitat in the park.

By planting trees along the small stream that runs through the park, volunteers helped to create an important buffer between the heavily urbanized communities and local waterways to help filter pollutants! These urban trees will also provide islands of essential habitat for native plants and animals and help to improve local air quality.

If you are interested in helping the National Aquarium restore Masonville Cove, join us next month for our next shoreline restoration project in the watershed.

The Students Restoring Urban Streams initiative is a city-wide project in partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks, Tree Baltimore, Parks and People Foundation and Blue Water Baltimore.

Laura Bankey

Thoughtful Thursday: March 22nd is World Water Day

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It’s that time of year again.  Everyone’s favorite holiday – World Water Day!  What? Never heard of the holiday that celebrates the one substance that is the basis for all life?  Think about it, when scientists are looking for proof of life on other planets, what is the one clue they hope to find?  Water.  The simple presence of water.  They know that if there is water, there may be a possibility for life.  No water, no life.

Here on Earth, almost three quarters of our planet’s surface is covered with water.  The volume of water in your own body is made up of almost that exact same percentage.  We all need water to survive.  And by “we all,” I mean microbes, insects, kittens, people, polar bears, trees, frogs, flowers, birds, turtles, forests, ecosystems, etc.  We are all intricately linked through water.  As much as we try to separate these groups in our minds, as much as we disassociate ourselves with parts of the rest of the world, it would do us good to remember that we all have one common need.

blacktip reef

What do sharks and humans have in common? Their need for water. Clean water.

There is some great information now available that helps us visualize how truly dependent we are on water.  We can see how much water it takes to make a one pound of beef, one pint of greek yogurt, one cup of coffee.  It’s all very fascinating – mostly because it forces us to look at water in new ways.  We live in a world where “conserve water” or “save water” used to mean – stop letting the faucet run while you are brushing your teeth, or don’t water your lawn in the middle of the hot summer day.

This new view of water, puts a truer value on the resources required to produce the food we eat and makes us think about our daily choices in different ways.  For example, it takes three eggs to equal the amount of protein in one serving of beef, but the beef requires nine times the amount of water to produce.

If we are committed to being good stewards of this amazing water planet, we need to start with our own daily choices.  Figure out what is most important to you and then look for ways to make less of an impact!

Interested in learning more about the state of our of water supply and how it’s impacting marine life? Tune into PBS NewHour’s weekly Twitter chat (#NewsHourChats) at 1pm EST to hear from me (@LauraBankey) and our Chief Conservation Officer, Eric Schwaab (via @NatlAquarium)! 

Laura Bankey

Thoughtful Thursday: Maryland’s Lt. Governor Visits Masonville Cove

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We are all custodians of the environment. - Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown

The National Aquarium’s Conservation team was excited to welcome long-time friend and environmental champion, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown to our field station at Masonville Cove earlier today!

lt governor Anthony Brown at Masonville Cove

Lt. Governor Brown was on-site to participate in one of the first training sessions that are part of the Small Watershed Action Plan. He was joined by students from Benjamin Franklin High School, National Aquarium experts and community volunteers.

In the fall of 2013, the National Aquarium took the lead on creating a Small Watershed Action Plan (SWAP) for Masonville Cove. A SWAP identifies strategies to bring a small watershed into compliance with water quality standards and goals, in collaboration with local businesses and community volunteers.

The SWAP at Masonville Cove will include a comprehensive watershed assessment that will provide valuable baseline data and guide future protection and restoration projects that will lead to improved water quality. Community members are an integral part of the process and help create a shared vision for the watershed and included neighborhoods.

Background on Masonville Cove
The National Aquarium has been involved in the Masonville Cove Project since 2003, providing opportunities for community-based restoration both within the cove and upstream in the watershed. In partnership with the Maryland Port Administration, Maryland Environmental Service, The Living Classrooms Foundation, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and community partners, National Aquarium’s goal is to provide a thriving natural area in the heart of Baltimore City.

In 2013, our site at Masonville Cove was named the nation’s first Urban Wildlife Refuge System.

If you are interested in joining us in one of our restoration projects at the cove or nearby Farring BayBrook Park this season, you can register here!

national aquarium conservation expert laura bankey

Thoughtful Thursday: Celebrating Women in Science!

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’d like to recognize just a few of the amazing women who have dedicated their lives and careers to the exploration and protection of our precious and fragile blue planet!

Margaret Leinen
As the Director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Margaret Leinen is helping to pave the way for future generations of ocean scientists, explorers and environmentalists. Scripps, formally part of UC San Diego, is one of the world’s oldest centers for oceanic and atmospheric research. Since it’s establishment in 1903, this institution has produced three Nobel Prize winners and three National Medal of Science winners.

Margaret Leinen

Image via Scripps

Leinen’s recent appointment at Scripps is just one of the many accomplishments in an illustrious career dedicated to the ocean. As an award-winning paleo-oceanographer, Leinen is responsible for  creating a better understanding of the relationship between ocean sediments and climate.

Wendy Schmidt
In 2013, the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE launched. The goal of this prize is to address a global need for better information about the process of ocean acidification.

Wendy Schmidt

Image via XPRIZE

A long-time supporter of ocean exploration and research, Schmidt and her husband Eric are founders of the Schmidt Ocean Institute (SOI). Through combining science with state-of-the-art technology, the SOI hopes to achieve lasting results in ocean research and shares their groundbreaking knowledge with audiences around the world, with the ultimate goal of fostering a deeper understanding of our environment.

Ruth Dixon Turner
Marine biologist Ruth Turner was the world’s expert on shipworms, wood-boring bivalves that were responsible for destroying ships.

Ruth Dixon Turner

Image via Wikipedia Commons

Throughout her lifetime, Turner published more than 200 scientific articles and became one of Harvard’s first tenured female professors. In addition to her contributions to marine academia, Turner worked closely with filmmakers and explorers like Stan Waterman, Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Robert Ballard (responsible for discovering the Titanic).

Margaret Murie
Affectionately referred to as the “Grandmother of the Conservation Movement,” Margaret Murie played a critical role in the passage of the Wilderness Act and the creation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Margaret Murie

Image via Wikipedia Commons

Beginning in the 1960′s Murie, an author, naturalist and conservationist, dedicated her life to lobbying Congress to pass legislation to prevent development on designated wildlife habitats nationwide. As a result of her tireless dedication to preserving millions of acres of Alaskan habitat, Murie was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton in 1998.

Want to learn more about the amazing contributions women have made to science? Join us for our annual Women’s History celebration tomorrow, March 7th!


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