Chesapeake Bay

Our Positions on Key Issues

Our mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures cannot be achieved without research, public confidence in scientific fact and solutions-based climate change policies.

Scientific Research and STEM Education

In line with our mission, the National Aquarium is committed to:

  • Engaging our guests, members and the local community in science education
  • Providing students with opportunities to engage in citizen science on our campus and in their own backyards
  • Conducting and supporting research that’s relevant to the well-being of the animals in our care, wild populations, their habitats and ocean and human health
  • Communicating advances in ocean science with our digital community

We care about this issue because:

  • We cannot inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures without science and public confidence in scientific fact.
  • Compared to the rest of the world, the United States finished 20th in science and 27th in math in 2015.
  • We believe diversity of backgrounds, thoughts and opinions are critical to scientific progress and the continued development of inclusive climate change solutions.

We contribute to scientific research and STEM education by:

  • Engaging over 100,000 students and teachers in education programs every year
  • Partnering with researchers and conservation organizations across the globe on studies related to our animals, exhibits and conservation priorities.
  • Offering multiple after-school and summer programs for Baltimore-area students to learn about marine science and STEM career opportunities
  • Working closely with the Enoch Pratt Free Library to bring the Read to Reef Book Club to branches across Baltimore. In the first year of Read to Reef, local children read close to 24,000 aquatic books!

Updated April 18, 2017

Climate Change

In line with our mission, the National Aquarium is committed to:

  • Expanding efforts around climate change and coastal resiliency, which is one of our organization’s three primary conservation priorities. Our other priorities include urban conservation and diversity, and ocean and human health.
  • Sparking open dialogues around climate science and the simple actions we can all take to make a difference.
  • Protecting global citizens’ rights to clean air, water, land and healthy communities.
  • Informing and educating our audiences, and motivating them to act on behalf of our planet’s well-being in the days, years and decades to come.

We care about this issue because:

  • The National Aquarium sits at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay—the country’s largest estuary. As residents of a coastal state, our staff, volunteers and members are experiencing the effects of climate change first-hand and we know that we’re not alone.
  • Thanks to science-based research, we know the health and welfare of people here in our hometown of Baltimore and across the globe are directly linked to our response to climate change and its short-term and long-term effects on our planet.
  • The National Aquarium relies on science-based research to understand the immediate impact climate change is having on the ecosystems that support people, animals, and our communities.

We help combat climate change by:

  • Treating each visit to our world-class facility as an opportunity to inspire and enlighten our guests. Every year, 1.3 million people visit the National Aquarium.
  • Being part of the National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation and the Maryland Climate Change Commission. As a participatory members, we are working to change the national discourse on climate change to be more productive, creative and solutions-focused.
  • Continually enhancing our green business practices, including shifting to solar energy to meet 40 percent of the Aquarium’s annual energy demand, making water efficiency upgrades and eliminating single-use plastics from our campus.
  • Working in Baltimore city and throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed to restore habitats and enhance coastal resiliency

Updated April 18, 2017

Endangered Species Act

In line with our mission, the National Aquarium is committed to:

  • Tackling the issues facing endangered species. We wholeheartedly support the Endangered Species Act, which has been a crucial part of the progress our country has made in saving species on the brink of extinction.
  • Joining with other institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to support the Endangered Species Act and advance the issue of wildlife conservation.
  • Informing and educating our guests, members and local community about wildlife conservation efforts and why they’re important.

We care about this issue because:

  • The science shows us that the Endangered Species Act is working. Work supported by the ESA has prevented the extinction of 99 percent of the species it has protected.
  • Wildlife does more than dazzle us. We rely on healthy ecosystems to protect our coasts and communities, clean the air we breathe and support a diversity of other species that fuel us and our economies.

We help protect and support endangered species by:

  • Educating the 1.3 million people who visit the National Aquarium each year about important issues impacting endangered species and how they can support efforts to restore critical habitats in their own backyards and across the globe.
  • Rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing endangered sea turtles through National Aquarium Animal Rescue. Since 1991, the National Aquarium has successfully rehabilitated and released 105 endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles back to their natural environment.
  • Participating in a successful consortium to reintroduce the Panamanian golden frog to its native habitat. Native to the mountains of west-central Panama, the golden frog has been a national symbol of hope and prosperity for centuries. Once abundant, this species is now critically endangered.

Updated April 17, 2017

Marine Protected Areas

In line with our mission, the National Aquarium is committed to:

  • Supporting creation and expansion of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), including wildlife refuges, National Marine Sanctuaries and Marine National Monuments, all of which are part of effective ocean planning that balances multiple human uses of the ocean with protection of marine resources
  • Educating the public about the importance and benefits of well-designed marine protected areas

We care about this issue because:

  • The ocean covers over 70 percent of the planet, and yet, less than five percent of the ocean is protected. Understanding the global scope of human impact on ocean environments, marine protected areas help correct this imbalance, setting aside special areas to allow for ocean resiliency, and regeneration of resources important for ecosystem and economic health.
  • The United States is a demonstrated global leader in this effort, with over 25 percent of our waters protected!
  • MPAs are good for ocean and human health, and a smart investment. They complement management of fisheries, shipping, energy and other maritime uses. Over 42 million people visit National Marine Sanctuaries each year, contributing about $8 billion annually to coastal and ocean-dependent economies.
  • We help by:

    • Serving as one of only a few host sites for NOAA’s Ocean Exploration Teacher Workshops, which include research updates from sanctuaries and monuments
    • Encouraging the public to learn about MPAs, whether remotely through digital platforms or in person by visiting a refuge or marine sanctuary
    • Engaging with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) and its implementation of the Regional Ocean Action Plan finalized in December 2016

    Updated July 2017