A Shoutout to Our H2O Friends!
We have been able to give away 3,083 free Aquarium admissions and/or free education programs this year! We would like to shoutout our most recent H2O Friends guests from Better Family Life and RealNewsSTL's special guests! Take a look at their visit highlights!
My "Paddle MO" Experience
Briana is serving as our Water Education Development Coordinator through the
Stream Teams United AmeriCorps program.
I have lived in St. Louis for most of my life and yet I had never been on the mighty rivers that shaped this city I call home! Through Stream Teams United, I was humbled to receive the invitation to participate in Paddle MO 2021, which was my first experience kayaking on a great river before. As I entered the Missouri River for the first time, I felt a little fearful because of how vast, majestic, and strong the river is. But I also felt a great sense of peace knowing that this river has taken care of me and millions of people for thousands of years. I chose to trust the current and lean into the unknown ahead of me, including a 30-mile kayaking trip to the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers and an overnight stay at Sioux Passage campground! Lastly, I felt excitement and gratitude to be surrounded by an amazing team of paddlers who would support and guide me the whole way through.

The mighty waters taught me how to practice being strong and still. And though my core and arms grew tired on the first day, I was also challenged to look up and admire the peaceful beauty all around me. Before embarking on this adventure, I assumed these rivers would be dirty and polluted and only an expired image of the beauty they once were, but I was pleasantly surprised to see an abundance of wildlife. I was honored to witness monarch butterflies passing through and to see bald eagles, pelicans, and seagulls soaring overhead.
Paddle MO taught me that we are not separate from nature. We are interconnected to the animals, land, and water all around us, and our daily choices, big and small, leave a lasting legacy. It made me ask myself, 'what legacy do I want to leave?'
I learned that a "floatilla" is paddler's lingo for linking up boats and forming kayak-islands on the water! We usually formed "floatillas" when we took education breaks on the river!
Did you know that more than half of Missouri's drinking water comes from the Missouri River? We are more connected to our rivers than we think!
I was shocked to discover that more than half of Missourians get their drinking water from the Missouri River. And I spent time reflecting on the idea of rivers as the arteries and veins of Mother Nature, carrying life-giving energy throughout the land. I was overwhelmed with feeling the enjoyment of nature, coupled with a deep sense of responsibility to preserve and protect our waterways that provide for us without us having to think twice about it. Water generously provides food, drink, transport, recreation, and life to all the animals, plants, people, and places they meet. Doing what I can to promote the health of our waterways is the least I can do in return.

Paddle MO motivated me to think deeper about how I act in ways that support the wellbeing of local watersheds and show gratitude towards all sources of water, from the mighty rivers to the small creeks. Thank you to Stream Teams United and all their sponsors that help make Paddle MO a reality! Click here to learn more and register for the 2022 Paddle MO experience! 
Ni’-u-k. on-çka (Osage).
AMA GVNDA (Cherokee).
L'eau est la vie (French).
Agua es vida (Spanish).
Water is life.
Fall Happenings
Volunteer Appreciation Event
On October 26th we celebrated our 200+ volunteers at our first annual Volunteer Appreciation Event! Volunteers were given royal STL treatment and enjoyed a night of IMO's pizza, toasted ravs, Gus' Pretzels, and gooey butter cake. We celebrated their accomplishments over the past two years, recognizing those volunteers with 50 or more hours of service with certificates (and pins to come!)

Without our volunteers, we would not be where we are today. As a group, you all have achieved so much, including almost 6,000 hours of volunteer work, including assisting with over 190 hours of Special Projects & Special Events, making a major impact in our community!
 
We would like to recognize those who completed milestones within our Volunteer Program:
OTTER-ly Amazing Volunteer Service Awards Volunteers who have served 50-99 Hours
Elizabeth Allen                        Patricia Belmont
Robert Bilzing                         Secret Bohm
Bob Bullock                            David Counts
Maryellen Davies             Jasey Fischer
Florence Flick                         Susan Hendricks
Hilliard Hicks                           Lawrence Hill
Michol Kobylski                       Patricia Rhodes
Kris Shannon                          Maddy Spinner

FIN-tastic Volunteer Service Awards
Volunteers who have served 100-249 Hours
 Paul Biggs 
Mary Brockhaus
 David Fink
Christy Moore
 Matthew Patterson
Robert Skaer
 Sandy Weis  

INK-credible Volunteer Service Award
Volunteers who have served over 1,000 Hours
Nancy Suelflow
Interested in volunteering?
Learn more and complete an application here!
Member's Night:
An Evening to RAY-member!
Our second annual Member's Night on September 29th was an evening to RAY-member! We invited our Global Waters Circle and Aquarium Friends Circle Members and their families to the Aquarium after hours to enjoy an evening of good fun, good company, and good food!

With the theme of the night being stingrays, kids could design their own stingray puppets and play the "Tragedy of the Commons" fishing game in the Conservation & Education Center. In addition, guests had a special opportunity to experience a new virtual reality immersion experience called "Diving With Manta Rays in Mexico". Members were also able to experience animal encounters that never disappoint! The Aquarium was open for guests to enjoy after-hours, including one-on-one interactions with the animals and Aquarium team members.
Thank you to all the staff and volunteers who helped make Member's Night 2021 a RAY-ly good time!
Our inaugural gala was SOLD OUT and a wonderful celebration of the Aquarium Foundation mission of inspiring marine science education and free Aquarium admissions and programs for underserved audiences. Thanks to our gala sponsors, auction donors, attendees, volunteers, and fund-a-need donors, we raised $395,000! The amazing evening included themed cocktails, animal encounters, after-hours access to the Aquarium, dinner among friends, and an inspiring presentation from our special guest, Fabien Cousteau.

A special thank you goes to our event chair, Linda Hunter, for her support and dedication to making this inaugural event OTTER-ly successful and FIN-tastically fun!
Say SHELL-o to our
Newest Team Members!

We would like to o-FISH-ally welcome our new St. Louis Aquarium Foundation Team members! Take a look at their bios and read about why we are so excited to welcome them to our team!


Abby, Marketing & Development Coordinator
Abby Lewis was born and raised in St. Louis, MO and graduated from Lindenwood University with a Bachelor’s degree in Nonprofit Administration and Stage Management. Before joining the Aquarium Foundation, she was the manager of The Bridge Coffee House, a nonprofit coffee shop in St. Charles, MO. In her free time she enjoys hiking, exploring local coffee shops and restaurants, playing board games, and raising her cat. Abby is very excited about this opportunity to work with the St. Louis Aquarium Foundation and combine her passions for animals, education, and conservation!
Andrea, Educator
Andrea is an animal enthusiast and lover of travel. She was adopted from South Korea at birth and has lived in St. Louis ever since. She earned her B.A with emphasis in Biology and Management through Webster University in 2018. Her love and passion for animals and conservation started at the St. Louis Zoo Education Department in 2008-2020, where she assisted the Invertebrate Keepers in finding American Burying Beetles in Northeast Missouri. She is very excited to be teaching all guests (young and young-at-heart) about the wonders of Water Conservation both at home and in the wild. Did we mention her favorite animal is the hellbender?
Kayla, Conservation & Education Center Associate
Kayla was born and raised in the St. Louis area and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology from Northwest Missouri State University in 2020. Kayla’s passion for the ocean and marine life started at a young age, after many visits to the zoo and trips to Florida. After college, she spent three months in Juno Beach, Florida for a conservation internship that focused on solutions to man-made threats against sea turtles. It was here that Kayla realized she wanted to work in the conservation field and help educate the public on ways to conserve the environment. Kayla is excited to be back in her hometown and working for the St. Louis Aquarium Foundation.

Caia, Conservation & Education Center Associate
Caia grew up climbing trees, beach combing, and exploring her local zoo in her hometown in Florida. They moved to St. Louis for college and received her B.S. in Biology and Sustainability. Caia fell in love with the four seasons and all the natural wonders that the Midwest has to offer. Since then, they have worked in environmental education and even traveled to Trinidad and Tobago to research Leatherback Sea Turtles. Caia's passions include wildlife conservation, environmental wellness, sustainable living, environmental justice, and education!

Briana Robles, AmeriCorps member
Briana joined the Aquarium Foundation team in July for one year as an AmeriCorps Member. As a full-time volunteer, she will help build our organization’s capacity and connect under-resourced youth to nature through water education programs. Briana loves spending time in nature, experimenting in the kitchen, growing plants, and enjoying quality time with loved ones. A recent graduate of Webster University, Briana majored in Biology & Sustainability Studies and is passionate about equitable STEM education and sustainable living.
St. Louis Aquarium Foundation | 314.923.3926 | info@stlaquariumfoundation.org
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