- Visit the Aquarium
- Animals & Exhibits
- Fun & Learning
- Deep-Sea Exploration
- Aquatic Research
Why the Commotion?
Ocean Commotion is the signature fundraiser event for Sea Research Foundation, Inc., which includes Mystic Aquarium, the Ocean Exploration Center and JASON Learning. Your donation directly supports our mission, to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through education, research and exploration. Here are just a few examples of our mission in action.
Ballast can be difficult to explain to an adult, let alone a 10 year old. Until we give them putty and pennies and a bucket of water. You can imagine the expressions. Then, they put the putty in the water. In lump form, it sinks. Spread it out gradually, see how many pennies you can put in it before it sinks. Excellent - try it again! Next thing you know, a classroom of kids actually understands the concept of ballast.
You stroll by the window of the Boys & Girls Club and notice a bunch of people watching TV, one person in front of a computer. But their eyes are not glazed over. Somewhere in the world, an ocean expedition is underway. Marine scientists are discovering new life forms, and evidence of life long ago. How are these related? The people in that club, along with hundreds of others like them across the country, are watching the live broadcast of the scientists' discoveries. And, they're having a conversation - all of them. Sharing the passion, and igniting sparks in future marine scientists. At least 75% of the oceans are unexplored. Maybe we can change that soon.
Wild or captive, we care deeply. There's the tiny seal pup found in Niantic, struggling and close to death, that we were able to save, make healthy and release back to the ocean. There's Charlotte, the green sea turtle, who came to us in 2008 from the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. She'd bee n found stranded, her shell and flippers covered in barnacles and likely stuck by a boat's propeller. A CT and MRI revealed spinal damage that left her paralyzed and with air accumulating in her hind quarters. Although she is unable to survive in the wild now, there is a chance that, with long term rehabilitation, she could recover and be released. Until then, Charlotte is serving as an ambassador for her species, educating, charming and inspiring guests here at Mystic Aquarium.
The creatures here at Mystic Aquarium are not only like family to us, but they are helping us learn how to - as a society - care for their wild cousins.
Sea Research Foundation promotes the importance of conservation in every program, from preschool activities to adult classes. We are one of only 45 institutions in the country participating in the African penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP). And as a co-founder of and participant in the Northeast Region Stranding Network, our Stranding Program is the region’s primary care provider for marine animals in distress. The rescue efforts of Sea Research Foundation and its volunteer "first responder" are centered on the coasts of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Fishers Island, New York. Further, we have assisted institutions from Maine to New Jersey and even in Texas!
It goes much further than the visual and verbal information you receive when you come to the Aquarium. Our acclaimed Traveling Teacher program engages students in their own classrooms in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York, teaching them about their local marine environment through hands-on experiences with sea creatures. Our Immersion Learning program reaches -literally and figuratively- hundreds of thousands of at-risk youth across the country by using telepresence to bring marine science into classrooms and informal learning centers, creating a 'you are there' experience for educators and students. No words can describe the satisfaction of seeing a spark ignite in a previously uninspired mind. Our education programs aim at building a connection with the natural world and fostering understanding of how organisms, habitats, and ecosystems work. Through inquiry-based teaching and hands-on activities, education programs encourage people to use and develop skills such as observing, hypothesizing, experimenting, and drawing conclusions.
Were you here when we were entrusted with the care of Shedd Aquarium's seven beluga whales and four pacific white sided dolphins? It was an honor for us, and an opportunity. Before, during and after each step of the journey, we took blood tests to see how the stresses effected them. We hooked up hydrophones so we could listen to their vocalizations. What do they sound like when they're excited? Anxious? Being able to understand whale, even if we can't speak it, will help us understand the behaviors of the whales in the wild.
We’re a recognized leader in oceanic research. Our ongoing aquarium research projects enable us to study animals in controlled environments and natural habitats. These projects help us learn more about eac h species so we can give them the best care possible, or help in the rescue, rehabilitation and release of stranded animals back into the wild. Our research is not contained here in Mystic, nor even New England. We go to the ends of the Earth. Belugas in the Arctic, penguins in South Africa - we have research operation partners there too.
Today, thanks to NASA missions to map the red planet, we know more about the surface of Mars than we do our own planet. Dr. Robert Ballard and the Ocean Exploration Center are changing that.
The Ocean Exploration Center (OEC) is dedicated to research in the aquatic sciences, especially pertaining to human and natural history in the oceans. Under the direction of Dr. Robert Ballard, OEC develops advanced deep-sea vehicle systems to conduct this research, as well as educate students and the general public about our work. Guests at Mystic Aquarium and people on their computers at home can experience the next generation of deep ocean exploration. With the opening of the Nautilus Live Theater and launch of the Nautilus Live Web site (nautiluslive.org), people around the world can virtually join Sea Research Foundation’s Dr. Robert Ballard and his team aboard his new ship of exploration, the E/V Nautilus.
The E/V Nautilus,
Inside the Nautilus Live Theater, part of Mystic Aquarium's Ocean Exploration Center, here in Mystic, CT
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Be sure to direct your donation to "Ocean Commotion"
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