NOTE: The St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station and the St. Louis Aquarium Foundation's Conservation & Education Center are temporarily closed to protect the health and safety of our guests, staff, and animals.
Help bring the Aquarium to Underserved Students at Home!
The Aquarium Foundation's H 2 0 Friends program - with the help of its distribution partner KidSmart - is providing free educational activity packets for underserved students in Pre-K to 2nd grade. With the help of Regions Bank, we provided 2,000 packets to Jennings and UCity School Districts last week. We'd like to expand that program further by reaching out to the remaining 12,000 students that KidSmart is serving with free school supplies.
Can you help provide these educational packets with a gift of $10 or more? Time is of the essence!
Click below to view the activity packets that you can use at home with
your children or grandchildren.
Through the generous support of donors like you, we are delighted to offer “Help to Our Friends” through our H 2 0 Friends program. This program provides free field trips and education classes/transportation to underserved schools in our region. Since our spring field trip program had to be postponed until Fall 2020, we are excited to instead bring the Aquarium to young students at home. Our goal is to provide over 20,000 free admissions (and now activity packets) in our first year!
Volunteer Spotlight:
Carrie Young
The St. Louis Aquarium Foundation is privileged to have volunteers with such diverse backgrounds and aquatic expertise. One of our volunteers, Carrie Young, recently participated in a week-long coral restoration project in Roatan, Honduras while working on her Master Diver certification.

The oceans and all that they contain have always been a lifelong passion for Carrie. Even though she lives in the Midwest and nowhere near the coast, she has always tried to involve herself in activities and projects which will allow her to stay connected with the ocean and do her part to ensure that our oceans remain healthy for future generations to come.

Coral reefs are home to more than 25% of marine life, making them one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet. However, coral reefs are being damaged at an alarming rate due to changing water temperatures, ocean acidification, pollution, invasive species, changing weather patterns, and physical impacts from ship groundings and storms.
Restoring coral involves both cleaning existing coral as well as planting new coral that has either fallen off existing coral or had been purposefully removed. These coral fragments are hung from "Coral Trees" (PVC pipes tethered to the ocean floor) and are typically grown in coral nurseries until they are big enough to be planted to existing reefs. Once they are big enough, the fragments are cleaned and attached to existing coral colonies using a marine epoxy. Eventually the new pieces grow into the existing coral and start growing their own colonies.
In addition to planting new coral, Carrie also took care of cleaning and maintaining existing coral trees that were in the process of restoration. Her group scrubbed and scraped away algae, barnacles, and other growths from the coral and PVC pipes, which is important because the algae will destroy any new coral growth. The new, healthy coral will eventually protect coastlines from damage from tropical storms, provide habitats for numerous aquatic life that is being threatened, and provide essential nitrogen and other nutrients for marine life.

Each piece of new coral that is planted is tagged and recorded, so Carrie is looking forward to being able to go back in a few years and see how much her coral has grown. She says, "Coral restoration is a very rewarding and fulfilling thing to do. I feel like I’m giving back to the ocean and contributing to something that brings me and other divers joy and wonder each time we go diving! I would definitely recommend divers to experience this at least once!"
When not working on the Coral Restoration Project, Carrie also went on a shark dive and took a class on spearfishing. In the area she was in, lionfish have become a very invasive species and are threatening the coral reefs and the animals that call the reefs home. After taking the spearfishing course, Carrie estimates she was able to spear around 15-20 lionfish (encouraged to lessen the lionfish population). A local chef prepared their catch when they got back to shore, and according to Carrie, lionfish are pretty tasty! On the shark dive, they brought a 5-gallon bucket of chum down to the bottom and watched the sharks take turns trying to get the lid off the bucket. She said the sharks were extremely ingenious with using their jaws and teeth to pry the lid off the bucket, and thankfully not at all aggressive with each other or with the divers.
Carrie explained, "My experiences on the trip help positively impact my volunteering at the Aquarium because it allows me to better interact with the community and provide additional knowledge, which allows for a better understanding of aquatic life and therefore a much more meaningful visit. I'm able to discuss topics which will help visitors recognize and understand their role in helping to keep our oceans, and the marine life within, healthy and stable."

To learn more about Coral Restoration, visit www.coralrestoration.org .
To learn more about invasive lionfish in the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/southeast/ecosystems/impacts-invasive-lionfish
Photos courtesy of Carrie Young
Donor Spotlight:
Michael Staenberg and
the Staenberg Family Foundation
Michael Staenberg is a name you likely recognize if you’ve lived in or are from the St. Louis area. His successful business career as co-founder of THF Realty and then later with The Staenberg Group has allowed Michael and his family to give back to the community through a variety of organizations and in very powerful ways. One noteworthy transformational gift was for the opening of the Staenberg Family Complex at the Jewish Community Center!

Michael believes that philanthropy makes St. Louis a better place. He enjoys supporting organizations that are important to him and his family, but he also encourages people to support local nonprofits they like because it is good for our community and for the entire region.

Michael explains, “Our philosophy is that giving has the effect of a stone being cast into a pond, creating ripples that reach outward. We need hundreds of handfuls of stones being constantly thrown into that pond and creating lots of ripples bouncing off of each other. Interacting with each other. Creating energy. Creating turbulence. Creating converging ripples. That energy – that ripple effect – has to come from each and every member of our community. We give where we live, and we are energized by the educational impact of this new aquarium.”

St. Louis Aquarium Foundation staff and Board are very grateful for the generous gift of $36,000 to the Aquarium Foundation from the Staenberg Family Foundation and Michael Staenberg. Diane Bauhof, Executive Director of the Aquarium Foundation, expressed her appreciation of this gift that will be recognized on a catfish plaque on a donor monument outside the Aquarium entrance. “As a new nonprofit organization in St. Louis, we are beyond grateful for the Staenberg Family Foundation’s and Michael’s gifts to support our mission of providing Aquarium access and STEM education to underserved students in our region, as well as supporting the health of our local waterways. Michael’s decision to designate his giving to us is certainly more than a ripple for our organization.”
Events and How to Get Involved:
Aquarium Videos and
At-home Activities
While under the stay-at-home order, we're bringing the Aquarium to you! Follow us on Facebook for live videos, at-home activities, and quizzes for you and your kids. View past videos and activities here!
(Virtual) Earth Day Festival
April 18-26
The Earth Day Festival in Forest Park has been postponed, but they will be hosting a week-long virtual Earth Day Festival to celebrate! Visit www.earthday-365.org for live lectures on wildlife trafficking, live tours, classes, workshops, games, trivia, fantastic videos, and opportunities for activism!
Be sure to join us the morning of Monday, April 20 th as the Aquarium Foundation is a featured partner and will be presenting a special Earth Day themed YouTube Live (and Facebook Live) video!
World Oceans Day
June 8, 2020
World Oceans Day is coming up on
June 8! Stay tuned for the announcement of a fun virtual activity to celebrate this year! Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more details.
Making Waves
Inaugural Gala of the St. Louis Aquarium Foundation
Saturday, September 26, 2020
at St. Louis Union Station
Help us make waves for education, access and water conservation through the mission of the St. Louis Aquarium Foundation at our inaugural gala. Mark your calendar for an event you won't want to miss!

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, we have not announced sponsorship levels or mailed sponsor information. Stay tuned for more information via email and on our website: www.stlaquariumfoundation.org/events/
St. Louis Aquarium Foundation | 314.923.3926 | info@stlaquariumfoundation.org