Message from Amelia
Amelia Rodgers is the Education Curator for the St. Louis Aquarium Foundation. Each newsletter will feature an article from Amelia focusing on an educational and/or conservation topic. 
Like many other education institutions and organizations, we recently made the decision to move our programs to virtual experiences – both our summer camp which started this week and our fall classes for schools. We recognize the important benefits of in-person education in social development and childhood learning, so we are carefully planning our programs to best meet the needs of learners.

Our routines and social interactions are quite different than they once were, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the inherent curiosity inspired by observing animals. Animals are great teachers. They show us so much about the natural world and just how interesting and amazing our planet can be. We hope the St. Louis Aquarium Foundation can be a resource to help make virtual learning a little easier and a lot of fun for students.
In our virtual programs, kids will learn about animal adaptations and explore how a blue tongued skink uses its UV-blue tongue, or meet our tamandua and learn how she uses her unusually-shaped snout to catch food. They will learn about the importance of all animals within a food web, from the microscopic phytoplankton to apex predators like sharks! We will also talk about conservation, and students can learn how they can help give green sea turtles or African grey parrots a better chance of surviving in their wild habitats – both endangered species that we are fortunate to have living here at our Aquarium.
Campers playing animal charades during Week 1 of Virtual Summer Camp.
More information about our fall classes will be posted on our website soon.

And parents, you can help inspire a love of nature at home, too! Point out tiny insects, encouraging your child to recognize the importance of all life – big and small – in our food web. Appreciate pretty flowers by not picking them, teaching your child that insects and birds depend on their nectar and pollen for food. And reduce your use of single-use items whenever possible, to help keep trash out of our environment.
Donor Spotlight:
Enterprise Bank & Trust is committed to supporting the communities in which they operate, including St. Louis, Kansas City, New Mexico and Phoenix. Through the Enterprise Bank & Trust Foundation, Enterprise is able to maximize the impact of its various philanthropic activities, and the St. Louis Aquarium Foundation is honored to be a part of that generosity.
 
The Enterprise Bank & Trust Foundation is supporting the Aquarium Foundation with a meaningful gift that will provide support over the next 7 years for the Conservation & Education Center (CEC) through its naming of the River Dance exhibit and our H 2 0 Friends program (Help to our Friends) that provides free Aquarium field trips and admission to students and families in under-resourced communities.
 
“Enterprise has a reputation as a strong community partner, and we are dedicated to strengthening the well-being of every community we serve,” said Jim Lally, President and CEO of Enterprise Financial Services Corp. “We are especially pleased to deepen our ties within our hometown of St. Louis by contributing to the success of the St. Louis Aquarium Foundation,” Lally said.

The River Dance exhibit — located in the CEC — features an animated light display that shows shifts in the course of the Mississippi River throughout history. River Dance is the welcoming exhibit in the Conservation & Education Center. Its artistic LED backdrop invites visitors into the space, setting the environmental theme of the CEC. River Dance also includes three static displays that explain how the river has changed over time, the history of life along the river, and the challenges of trying to tame the river. River Dance was developed with the assistance of the USGS (United States Geological Survey) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which provided accurate historical mapping of both the digital display and signage, and Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site.
 
The portion of the Enterprise Bank & Trust Foundation gift that is allocated to the H 2 0 Friends program provides for up to 5,000 under-resourced students to visit the Aquarium over the next seven years.
 
“The St. Louis Aquarium is an underwater classroom for residents of the St. Louis area, and we are grateful for the support of Enterprise Bank & Trust Foundation for providing a way for students in under-resourced communities to have access to this new educational and inspiring cultural institution,” said Diane Bauhof, Executive Director of the St. Louis Aquarium Foundation.

Enterprise Bank & Trust is a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.  
Volunteer Spotlight:
Paul Biggs
Paul is one of our education volunteers and has been volunteering with us since January 2020. He volunteered for every single one of our pilot field trips (before the shutdown) and also helped put together material packets for our Virtual Summer Camp program! As a retired middle school teacher, Paul was very helpful with the pilot field trips and provided excellent feedback and ideas for when we are able to resume field trips. Read below to see what Paul has to say about being a volunteer:

Why did you start volunteering with the St. Louis Aquarium Foundation?
Originally, I thought it would be fun to get involved in the revitalization of St. Louis Union Station. I read about the great changes coming to this iconic landmark including the construction of the Wheel and the Aquarium. When the Aquarium Foundation reached out for volunteers, it was the perfect fit for me to get involved.   

What do you enjoy about volunteering?
I enjoy working with the schools when they come for field trips. As a retired educator, I understand the challenges that teachers face on field trips. Along with the other volunteers at the CEC, I strive to make the visit as stress free as possible. We are there to welcome the students in to the Conservation and Education Center and the Aquarium. We take them on a tour of the CEC, including interactions at the learning carts, the plastic bottle sculpture, the healthy stream interactive board and the indigenous animal displays. The Fish Draw is a particular highlight of the visit as the students delight in watching their drawings burst from the pipes and “swim” in the Mississippi River.     

Anything else you’d like to share about your volunteer experience?
My personal highlight volunteering for field trips is a tie between the Fish Draw in the CEC and walking a group of students into the Grand Lobby and watching their faces as they stare in wonder at the LED ceiling with all of its changing scenery and the station’s clock replica with living fish swimming inside.  

Interested in volunteering? Learn more or complete an application here!
Events and How to Get Involved:
Virtual Auction: An Otterly Important 24 Hours
5pm July 31 st to 5pm August 1 st
Your participation helps provide free Aquarium admission and educational programs to students and families in under-resourced communities. You won’t want to miss bidding on exclusive items and experiences from the likes of a 4-course wine dinner for 8 at Annie Gunn's , an island dinner by Chef Gerard Craft after a voyageur canoe ride with Big Muddy Adventures , a private after-hours visit for 10 at the St. Louis Aquarium , an autographed St. Louis Blues Tarasenko jersey , a virtual cocktail-making class with 10 friends by STL Barkeep , and so much more! 

Preview the items up for bid here!
Cocktails at your Doorstep - and 10% supports the Aquarium Foundation!
July 26 th to August 8 th
Thanks to a partnership with STL Barkeep, you can order amazing summer drinks delivered right to your door, and between Sunday, July 26 th  and Saturday, August 8 th , they are donating 10% of their sales to the Aquarium Foundation! They’ll also be featuring an Aquarium-inspired drink, so be sure to check that out too. With your purchase, you’re helping to provide free Aquarium visits for kids and families who otherwise aren’t able to experience our region’s newest cultural attraction. We partner with schools and nonprofit organizations to give away these free admissions. Thank you - you can order yours here!
Operation Stream Clean 2020
August 15 th - 23 rd
We invite you and your immediate family/household to be a part of this year's Operation Clean Stream in the Meramec River Watershed! Be part of one of the largest and longest running river cleanup efforts in the country.
In response to COVID-19, there will be no group cleanups or picnics this year. We invite you and your family to select a site you would like to clean up any time between August 15 - 23. Please register here by August 7. Supplies available for curbside pickup if needed.
Making Waves Inaugural Gala
POSTPONED
Due to current restrictions on large gatherings and a concern for safety of our team members and guests, we have made the difficult decision to postpone our inaugural gala (originally scheduled for September 26, 2020) until 2021. We will send out more information once we have a new date confirmed. Thank you for your understanding.
Animal Spotlight:
Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas)
Meet the  Tsunami , the green sea turtle who now calls the St. Louis Aquarium home!

Tsunami currently weighs around 70 pounds and could weigh as much as 400 pounds once fully grown. Her carapace (shell) is currently 61.5cm long (approx. 2 feet) and could grow to be close to 4ft long. Green sea turtles are herbivores and get their name from the greenish color of their fat and cartilage. Unfortunately, every species of sea turtles are considered endangered and their populations are rapidly decreasing due to overharvesting of their eggs, getting caught in fishing nets (known as bycatch), and habitat loss of the beaches they use for nesting.

Tsunami, an estimated 15-20 year old female green sea turtle, arrived at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on July 18, 2017, with boat strike injuries to the left side of her head, behind the eye. Tsunami was a critical patient for a long time at the center; from tube feeding to daily wound care, she had a long road to recovery. At the end of September 2017, Tsunami finally started showing interest in food. By October she was able to eat on her own. Tsunami had jaw and electro acupuncture therapy to help stimulate jaw movement due to her injury.

Tsunami has done well and continues to use her jaw with weekly therapy, however, she is still unable to open his jaw completely, making it impossible to return to her natural home. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service granted permits to re-home Tsunami to the Shark Canyon habitat at the St. Louis Aquarium, where staff is continuing her jaw therapy as needed. 

Tsunami arrived at the St. Louis Aquarium on June 23, 2020 and spent 8 days in a quarantine tank before being introduced to the Shark Canyon exhibit. After spending the past 3 years in a smaller habitat while recovering from her injuries, we are sure she is loving her new 250,000 gallon home and getting to meet all her new fins !

To learn more about sea turtles and how you can help keep them from extinction, visit https://conserveturtles.org/ .
St. Louis Aquarium Foundation | 314.923.3926 | info@stlaquariumfoundation.org