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World Wildlife Day – Amy Gollenberg

I’ve always said, there’s no sense in saving the whales if they don’t have a healthy ocean to live in. Of course I believe in saving the whales, too, but that’s an easy sell! As one devoted to environmental education, it is so imperative to do what you can to not only work towards helping species’ thrive but even more importantly help their environment, one we all share in our communities, thrive. These messages have to be intriguing and fun in order to inspire others to share a similar passion and act on it. I’m counting on the domino affect!

We care for, teach about and inspire with well over 350 species, including endangered species. For example, so many are familiar with the biodiversity of tropical rain forests, but scientists have only just begun to understand more about the diversity of coral reefs and have found they are the rain forests of the sea, in some cases rivaling in biodiversity with so much beauty and unique life, and yet they cover less than 1% of the world’s ocean floor!

The ecosystem-approach to conservation is the best way to move forward, and helping others understand the value, including the economic value of biodiversity. Locally Mystic Aquarium takes this approach in many ways. One of our greatest causes focuses on the Long Island Sound for research, education and conservation programs. We bring thousands of kids each year to its shore for field programs through grant funding, so for many of these students, it will be the only time they will have been to the shore in their school career! Globally we contribute a great deal, as well, in many projects, for example our long-term studies of endangered populations of beluga whales in the Arctic circle that also includes rich cultural exchanges with natives both there and here in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Finally! The Earth really should be called planet Ocean with 70% of its surface taken with that beautiful blue, and as ocean health is critical to ALL life on Earth weather you live in Wyoming or Japan! It regulates our climate, provides more than 50% of the oxygen we breathe, food, jobs,  transportation, recreation and habitat, even for humans with almost half of us living in counties along the coast. The ocean made the Earth habitable – yet it is largely unexplored, so we owe it our lives frankly. Thank you, Ocean!

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