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Affiliate of the Week: National Aquarium
In honor of our 80th Anniversary celebration throughout 2016, the National Wildlife Federation is recognizing each of our Affiliate Partners in a special “Affiliate of the Week” blog series that showcases the dedicated conservation efforts taking place across the country each day. This week we celebrate our Maryland affiliate, the National Aquarium, and their commitment to wildlife.
Who We Are
The National Aquarium is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures. Through breathtaking exhibits, collaborative field work throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and innovative social good campaigns like the annual 48 Days of Blue initiative, the Aquarium aims to establish a clear, personal connection to our ocean.
What We Do
In addition to the countless opportunities to engage visitors on-site, the National Aquarium strives to continue the conservation conversation with supporters in their own homes and neighborhoods.
In the 48 days between Earth Day and World Oceans Day, the Aquarium deploys its largest social good campaign, #48DaysofBlue, which challenges participants to make small daily changes that benefit their well-being and the health of our life-sustaining blue planet.
By encouraging users to skip single-use plastics and source their food locally, this online initiative is one of the National Aquarium’s signature programs and aims to make conservation behavior change relatable and doable for participants.
Using best practices from the fields of social psychology, marketing and conservation research, the Aquarium’s program ensures that these changes in conservation behavior have a lasting impact and help to foster a strong group of social actors to go forth and further affect change in their own communities. After the program’s first year, 99 percent of surveyed participants reported maintaining behaviors after the challenge.
Making a National Impact
The team at the National Aquarium works to protect the Chesapeake Bay, the United States’ largest estuary, and restore natural areas that help clean our water. The Chesapeake Bay is one of the most productive estuaries in the world, with over 3,600 species of animals and plants. To help protect this vitally important habitat for wildlife, the Aquarium has formed partnerships with regional and national organizations to revitalize tidal wetlands through cleanups and habitat restoration projects.
The National Aquarium aims to also instill in the community a sense of responsibility and empowerment regarding conservation issues, such as those surrounding the Chesapeake Bay. The Aquarium’s many hands-on education programs convey a message of hope to generations young and old: There’s still time for change, and every effort counts. There’s strength in numbers, and the Aquarium believes we can ensure a healthy future for the Bay and its watershed by working together to preserve and restore it today!