Shrinking Glaciers, Rising Sea Level & Long-Term Changes in Climate Patterns...Why the Public Should Care

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Ocean experts convene at the National Aquarium, Baltimore to define best practices for inspiring action to preserve our natural environment

The people we welcome every day to our aquariums and work with in the community are primed to help preserve the planet’s natural systems and we need to mobilize and inspire them to take action,” said National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli.

Leaders from aquariums around the country will convene in Baltimore this week to discuss and explore best practices and programs for inspiring their audiences to be part of the global climate change conversation. The Communicating Climate Change and the Oceans: 2012 Summit, hosted by National Aquarium, will begin on April 15th.

“The need to understand and address the impacts of climate change is urgent,” said National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli. “The people we welcome every day to our aquariums and work with in the community are primed to help preserve the planet’s natural systems and we need to mobilize and inspire them to take action.”

During the three-day summit, hosted by National Aquarium along with Monterey Bay Aquarium and New England Aquarium, panel discussions will range from a review of the monumental work conducted by the Climate Interpreter Coalition (a collaboration of aquariums and other organizations that share the desire to effectively communicate about climate change) over the past few years, to the data resulting from the Climate Literacy Zoo Education Network’s (CLiZEN) national survey of zoo and aquarium visitors. The summit will also include break-out sessions on such topics as the power of social media and group work on future collaborations based on geographic regions.

Representatives from over 50 aquariums gathered in 2008 for the first Communicating Climate Change and the Oceans Summit where each pledged to increase knowledge in their home institutions, “green” their operations, train front line staff on interpretive techniques, create exhibits and website pages and reach out to local partners. Grants from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Institute of Museums and Library Services and participating institutions’ operational dollars have funded many of those efforts and have been used to maintain momentum and deliver the pledge commitments. Conferences and workshops have encouraged like-minded colleagues to work together to learn, try and ask more.

“Without a doubt, the past four years have been an amazing period of concentrated activity,” said Racanelli. “The summit provides us a platform to regroup, to see how far we have come and where we need to go next.”

Two of the key components of the 2012 Summit will be to review their achievements since the 2008 summit and determine how to measure their success moving forward.

For a complete look at the program for the 2012 Summit, visit
For more information on the Climate Interpreter Coalition, visit

The National Aquarium
The National Aquarium inspires conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures. It champions environmental initiatives by engaging with visitors, volunteers, education groups and schools to actively participate in the preservation of the world’s natural resources and living-systems. National Aquarium, in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, MD, delivers meaningful experiences through its engaging living collections; our science-based education programs and our hands-on experiences in the field from the Chesapeake Bay to Costa Rica; and partnerships and alliances with like-minded organizations around the world.

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Kate Hendrickson

Amy Burke-Friedman
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