October 5, 2009-- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) today announced 11 grants totaling more than $9 million that will create new education projects in aquariums across the nation. The projects will educate visitors about the ocean and encourage better stewardship of the marine environment.
"We want to get people excited about the ocean and one of the best ways to do that is to work with our partners at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to promote the development of new and exciting programs," said Louisa Koch, director, NOAA Education. "The aquariums receiving these grants will reach millions of visitors who, we hope, will become better stewards of our ocean environment."
The grants were made to the following organizations:
- Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach, Calif.: "Aquarium of the Pacific's Ocean Science Center," $985,306
- Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation, Monterey, Calif.: "Climate Change and the Ocean: Awareness to Action," $913,593 and "A National Coalition of Aquariums Educating about Climate Change," $502,050
- National Aquarium in Baltimore, Inc.: "A National Coalition of Aquariums Educating about Climate Change," $484,184
- New England Aquarium Corporation, Boston: "A National Coalition of Aquariums Educating about Climate Change," $504,726, and "Summer Science in New England: Ocean Education through Informal Science Centers," $342,232
- North Carolina Aquarium Society, Raleigh: "Using Marine Mammals to Communicate Solutions to Ocean Issues," $580,339
- Sea Research Foundation (in association with Mystic Aquarium), Mystic, Conn.: "Exploring Inner Space: Linking Aquariums with Ocean Scientists," $1,799,964
- Shedd Aquarium Society, Chicago: "Shedd-NOAA Partnership for Student, Teacher and Public Engagement," $1,100,000
- Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga: "Connecting Tennessee to the World Ocean," $1,275,903
- The Florida Aquarium, Inc., Tampa: "Climate Change Community Outreach Initiative," $627,082
The projects were selected based on the importance, relevance and applicability of stated goals; technical and scientific merit; overall qualification of the proposing applicants; feasibility of the project to meet time and cost goals; and whether the project provides a focused and effective education and outreach strategy related to NOAA's mission to protect the nation's natural resources.
The aquariums that received the grants are accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
"AZA-accredited aquariums reach millions of people with engaging science education programs - a perfect match for NOAA education programs on ocean and climate literacy," said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. "NOAA is a great partner and we look forward to working together on our shared mission."
The projects feature plans for sharing evaluation results and project impacts through presentations and peer-reviewed publications. Evaluation reports will also be posted online, a website supported by the National Science Foundation, in an effort to further inform the broad field of informal science education about what is learned from the projects.
NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.