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World Oceans Day at the National Aquarium

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The divers offer Calypso an afternoon snack. ©National Aquarium/Kate Hendrickson

World Oceans Day was this past Friday, and as we mentioned in our last post, Oceana headed up to the National Aquarium in Baltimore to take part in their special celebration of the seas.

Divers enter the aquariums exhibits every day to feed the animals and clean the tanks, but on Friday there was a very special dive. National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli joined Oceana’s very first Ocean Hero, John Halas, for excursions into the Atlantic coral reef and Wings on the Water exhibits.

The Atlantic coral reef exhibit was John Halas’ first aquarium dive, but far from his first experience with that ecosystem. He earned the Ocean Hero award in 2009 for his more than 30 years of working to protect coral reef systems in Florida. He retired earlier this year, but has been busy traveling to places like Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago to help install environmentally friendly buouy systems.

In Wings on the Water, John Halas got to meet Calypso, the friendly three-flippered sea turtle that lives in the Aquarium. You can check out video from both dives and interviews with John Racanelli and John Halas over at the Baltimore Sun.

Do you know someone who does great things for the oceans like John? Nominations for our 2012 Ocean Heroes Award are open now and we’re searching for people of all ages and backgrounds who are working hard to protect the world’s oceans. Don’t forget to get your nominations in by June 20th!

Many thanks to the National Aquarium for hosting us and doing such great work to protect the world’s oceans.


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5 Ways to Celebrate World Oceans Day

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Every day is World Oceans Day when you're a humpback whale ©Oceana/Carlos Suarez

Happy World Oceans Day!

The ocean does a lot for us — it generates much of the oxygen we breathe, provides us with nutritious food to eat and regulates our climate. But if we want to hold onto these valuable resources, we have to take care of the ocean the way it takes care of us.

Today marks the 20th annual World Oceans Day, a chance for us to protect our most valuable resource. We’ve put together five ways for you to celebrate World Oceans Day (even if you’re nowhere near an ocean)

1. Go to the Beach What better way to celebrate World Oceans Day than to go straight to the source? If you’re lucky enough to live near the water, get a group together and head down to the shore. Pack a picnic (but no single-use plastic bags or bottles, please!) and spend the day learning about the ocean firsthand.

2. Visit an Aquarium If you can’t get out to the beach, try the next best thing. Aquariums let you see unique marine life that you wouldn’t encounter anywhere else. They also do a lot of great research and conservation so that we can protect our marine resources. Many aquariums and zoos are hosting special events for World Oceans Day, see if there are special events at one near you.

3. Clean Up Help keep the marine environment clean by participating in a river, bay, or ocean cleanup today — you might be surprised by what you find! You can find a cleanup event near you on the World Oceans Day website.

4. Adopt a Sea Creature Oceana works hard to protect all kinds of marine life, from sharks to penguins to sea turtles, and everything in between. You can support our efforts by adopting an animal.

5. Nominate an Ocean Hero Our fourth annual Ocean Heroes contest just started, and we’re looking for the most dedicated ocean activists we can find. If you know someone who’s doing great things for the ocean, tell us about them!

If you want to celebrate World Oceans Day with Oceana, we’ll be at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland today. Our 2009 Ocean Hero John Halas will dive in two of their exhibits with National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli. They’re also hosting special events all weekend, including scavenger hunts and book signings with Debbie Dadey, author of the Mermaid Tales book series.

We hope you have a wonderful World Oceans Day, and remember to look out for the oceans every day of the year!


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Rehabbed Sea Turtles Released in Chesapeake Bay

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Oceana the sea turtle, an endangered Kemp's ridley. © National Aquarium

Last Friday the National Aquarium and Oceana released three endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles into the Chesapeake Bay at Maryland's Point Lookout State Park. The turtles came to the National Aquarium this winter from the New England Aquarium, after they were found stranded along Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Kemp’s ridleys are the most endangered and smallest of all sea turtle species, making them particularly vulnerable to severe changes in water temperature. These turtles suffered from cold stunning - the sea turtle equivalent of hypothermia. After months of long-term rehabilitation by the National Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP), the turtles, named Oceana, Prancer and Vixen, were released back into the wild.

Sea turtles commonly feed on an assortment of jellies and invertebrates in the Chesapeake Bay during warm summer months, which is why Aquarium officials chose this date and location for the release. These turtles are expected to stay in the mid-Atlantic region or head north for the remainder of the summer, before eventually heading south again in the fall.

Oceana the sea turtle sported a small satellite transmitter that will track its location and speed for several months, helping researchers learn more about sea turtle migration and travel patterns. You can follow Oceana’s (and the other two turtles’) progress at the Aquarium’s website. Check out more photos from the release on Flickr!


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