As Party for the Planet continues with World Ocean Day on 8 June and National Ocean Month, The Ocean Project and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums continue to grow their collaboration to significantly increase ocean awareness and grow community engagement for our blue planet.
Working together for nearly 20 years, we’ve been able to develop World Ocean Day as a special day to commemorate and honor our ocean—while also taking collective action on behalf of our blue planet. In partnership with aquariums and zoos, we’ve been able to grow World Ocean Day from zero events in the United States in 2002, to thousands of events across the country and in 150 countries, with a special emphasis on advancing conservation action and youth engagement. As a result, the aquarium and zoo community has become more unified and impactful, both locally and nationally.
Right now, AZA members around the country are getting ready to celebrate and take action in June. Here are a just a few examples of what some have planned:
- The NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher is hosting a Beach Sweep for World Ocean Day. Participants are able to join a group at the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area or participate in their own community. Any cleaning up at a local beach, park, or anywhere in your neighborhood, can help aquatic habitats and the animals that live in them. See more details here!
- John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids, Mich., invites attendees to come see their “Washed Ashore” sculpture exhibit made from marine debris to demonstrate how our daily actions have an impact on aquatic wildlife living in rivers and Great Lakes. They plan to also share resources on how to organize a river clean up or join John Ball Zoo and other community groups in cleanups. See more details here!
- The WNC Nature Center in Asheville, N.C., staff and volunteers will be making a splash by cleaning up the Swannanoa River. Following the cleanup, they are hosting a “BioBlitz” which will involve fun, hands-on educational activities for the whole family to enjoy while learning more about biodiversity and stream health. See more details here!
- OdySea Aquarium, in Scottsdale, Ariz., will be conducting an invasive snail survey of a local river on 3 June and hosting their Conservation Crafts Event where young children are encouraged to make an art project that represents an endangered species using recycled material with the art will put on display within the aquarium until 12 June. See more details here!
- Find more events listed on the Events Calendar at WorldOceanDay.org
Through World Ocean Day and related activities, we continue to support AZA members to further develop as strong community anchors for conservation leadership, providing visitors and the public with conservation information and effective messaging, which invite people to take actions that help overcome the challenges threatening the climate, our ocean and biodiversity.
For 2022, and for the third year running, the World Ocean Day Conservation Action Focus is to support the growing momentum for a global commitment to “30×30”: Protect at least 30 percent of our lands, waters, and ocean by 2030 to create a healthy ocean with abundant wildlife and help stabilize the climate. In the United States, aquariums, zoos and museums have been instrumental in helping lead the charge. See the current list of AZA members who have supported 30x30 here.
To support AZA members even more this year we’ve developed a new suite of resources and tools for public engagement. Check out the new and updated resources to help you plan your event, including: an Event Planning Toolkit, the Social Media Toolkit, and 30×30 action materials to help you integrate action for 30x30 into whatever type of event or activities you have planned. We also have new materials for kids, from Splash & Bubbles, Fraggle Rock, the Octonauts, and more.
As a reminder, whether you’re celebrating on 8 June, the whole week or all throughout June, we encourage all zoos and aquariums to share what you are doing with the world by listing your events at WorldOceanDay.org and tagging us on social media so we can amplify your efforts. Share your event, activity, or conservation-related announcement by submitting it here. New this year, we’re encouraging our partners to post conservation-related activities that you have planned throughout the year so we can amplify them.
For guidance on how to register your event, including sample event descriptions, check out the “Registering your events” one-pager in the World Ocean Day folder of materials to help you easily submit your event! Also find the full toolkit of materials here.
Please reach out to Samantha Gibb, World Ocean Day Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Heidi Faris, Connecting to Nature Coordinator with AZA at email@example.com if you have any questions about listing your event, activity, or conservation-related announcement!
However you celebrate and honor our ocean now, in June, and throughout the year—thank you!
Heidi Faris is the Connecting to Nature Coordinator at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Samantha Gibb is World Ocean Day Manager at The Ocean Project.
Kari Hart is the Director of Professional Development and Education at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
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