A 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 message. Learn more about Amelia at the end of this newsletter.
How We Can Reduce Plastic Waste

Chances are, you’ve heard about the importance of recycling. Recyclable plastics, like water or soda bottles, are used in such large quantities that recycling becomes imperative. Globally, nearly one million plastic bottles are being bought every minute – and many never get recycled. In the United States, only 9% of all plastic is recycled (18% globally). Recycling is important, but we have an opportunity to help the environment in a greater way – by reducing our plastic use all together.

Many plastics are not recyclable, so reducing our use of such items is the only way to keep them from negatively impacting our planet. One important way we can help the environment is by avoiding “single-use plastics”. We’re referring to items like the plastic bag holding your sandwich for a few hours before you eat lunch, or those thin plastic bags you put your produce in at the grocery store, often placed in a secondary plastic bag with handles for more convenient carrying. Or plastic stir-straws that you swirl in your coffee for a few seconds before discarding, and the oh-so-convenient but oh-so-terrible-for-the-Earth red plastic disposable cups (typically #6 plastic is not recyclable). According to National Geographic, more than 40% of plastic is used just once, then discarded.

Single-use items are cheap and convenient. But a well-made, reusable product can be just as useful and cost-saving with just a little effort made to create a new system for yourself. Yes, small changes do make a difference over the course of your life. But the bigger impact may be the change in collective mindset when we commit to holding ourselves accountable for the amount of waste we produce. These small habits help create a new normal.

If you want to reduce your personal environmental impact here are a few ideas:

1.     Bring reusable bags to the store or just carry your purchase if you can! Keep a stock of reusable bags in your car so you always have them. Create the routine and it becomes an easy habit to pick up! Some grocery stores even give you a discount for bringing your own bags.

2.     No straw please.” More and more restaurants in our area have started asking if you’d like a straw instead of automatically giving you one – a great indicator that reducing our plastic usage is important to our community! Skipping the straw, or bringing your own reusable one, is a habit that can have a big impact. Small plastics like straws are usually not recyclable, and easily blow out of trash cans and into streams and oceans where they may be mistakenly ingested by animals.

3.     Chose to purchase items that are packaged sustainably. Nearly half of all plastic waste created is used in packaging. Purchasing bulk items or products with little to no plastic packaging supports eco-friendly businesses and tells companies that sustainability is important to their consumers. Buying in bulk saves money and reduces packaging used. It’s a win-win!

4.     Bring a reusable water bottle/cup . Avoid the single use bottles and cups by being prepared! Some businesses and coffee shops even give discounts for bringing your own cups.

These actions can easily become habits with a little effort. Be mindful in the social norms we are helping create - make environmental stewardship the new norm!

Sources:

Events and How to Get Involved:
Earth Day
The Aquarium Foundation was proud to be a sponsor of the 2019 St. Louis Earth Day Festival! This was our first time introducing ourselves to the community, and we enjoyed meeting thousands of people, having insightful conversations about our “plastics trivia”, and giving away Aquarium Foundation reusable straws. We want to send a special thank you to first grade teacher Missy Schuepfer, head of school Beth Mosher and the students, faculty and parents of The St. Michael School of Clayton for volunteering to help at our booth! 
World Oceans Day Video Contest
Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2019 World Oceans Day video contest! We had many creative entries, and we loved the enthusiasm in the community for thinking about how we can help the oceans from right here in Missouri!

Congratulations to our two winners: Maria Tordilla and the students of St. Joseph Academy! Check out the winning videos HERE and HERE !
How YOU Can Be a Part of the Aquarium Opening!
Be a part of the opening of the St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station with your very own Commemorative Fish on the donor wall monuments or the digital donor wall! You can put your name (or dedicate one in honor/memory of someone else) on one of these colorful metal fish that will greet visitors as they enter the Aquarium. Plaques will remain on the recognition wall for a minimum of 15 years. There is a limited quantity, so order yours today at www.stlaquariumfoundation.org/donate

Want to Volunteer?
If you’re interested in volunteering at the St. Louis Aquarium, c lick here (scroll to bottom) to sign up to receive information about our volunteer program. We plan to have volunteer opportunities posted on our website this fall. 
Meet the Staff of
The St. Louis Aquarium Foundation
Diane Bauhof
Executive Director

Diane has been in the nonprofit sector since graduating from college, with a specific interest in zoos, animal welfare and education. Those areas of expertise bring her to lead the St. Louis Aquarium Foundation.

Diane previously was with the Saint Louis Zoo as the Director of Corporate & Board Relations. Working with corporate, foundation and individual donors, she raised over $30 million over her 13 years there.

Diane has been with the Aquarium Foundation since March 2018 and is excited and "honored to have the opportunity to start a new nonprofit and to be associated with the new St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station. It's a career dream come true!"

When asked what she was most looking forward to, she said, "For the Aquarium doors to be open and seeing people laughing, smiling and learning while here. I also can't wait to be able to bring in thousands of school children for free so we can make sure everyone has a chance to explore and learn about the amazing aquatic species we will now have in St. Louis."
Amelia Rodgers
Education Curator

Amelia is a St. Louis native, and grew up camping, hiking, and exploring all the natural beauty of Missouri. She completed her Bachelor's in Meteorology at Saint Louis University, then earned her Master's of Public Administration and Nonprofit Management from Eastern Michigan University.

From creating environmental and animal welfare education programs to managing a dog rescue in Thailand, her love of animals and passion for educating has led her to various organizations throughout the world. Amelia is excited to be back in her hometown, dedicating her efforts toward a community she loves.

When asked what she is most looking forward to, Amelia said, "I am excited to help bring conservation education to a community I love. Having an aquarium in our city gives us the opportunity to explore how our dependence upon water connects us with other humans, other animals, and the planet as a whole."
St. Louis Aquarium Foundation | 314.923.3925 | info@stlaquariumfoundation.org