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. 
Scientists estimate 80% of trash in the ocean was not dumped directly into the ocean, but instead was washed there from land. Living near the confluence of the two longest rivers in North America, the Missouri and the Mississippi, most St. Louisians know how powerful these rivers can be. Strong currents can sweep away debris and carry it down stream. The Mississippi River basin is the largest watershed in the United States, and therefore can play a big role in carrying pollution to the ocean. Heavy rains wash trash into tributaries that lead to the Mississippi, then eventually into the river itself and drain to the ocean. Trash in the rivers and oceans is a problem that effects the health of the entire planet, as all life depends on clean, healthy water for our survival.

The St. Louis Aquarium Foundation is proud to participate in exciting research that aims to understand the plastic pollution problem along our beloved Mississippi River – and we need your help. The Mississippi River Plastic Pollution Initiative is a collaboration led by the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative, United Nations Environment Programme, National Geographic, and the University of Georgia, and we encourage you to join us and participate in this innovative project. By downloading the easy-to-use Marine Debris Tracker app, you can help scientists determine how much trash and pollution are in our river and where it might be coming from, which will help as we strategize ways to reduce pollution and improve the health of our rivers.

Use the Marine Debris Tracker app when participating in a group stream clean or anytime you pick up trash from the ground. Check out 1 Mississippi's website for upcoming river clean ups and get involved!

In the meantime, here are a few easy tips for helping the environment:
  • Produce less trash. Reduce the amount of trash you create, and you’ll also reduce the amount of trash in our waterways. Opt for and utilize reusable cups, straws, utensils, and water bottles when possible, and choose biodegradable options when you don’t have the option to use something reusable. Less trash in the world means less trash in the ocean.
  • Pick up trash when you see it. Trash on land sits there until it is either picked up or washed away by rain. We prefer the first option. Remember to wear gloves and follow safety measures when picking up trash.
  • Collect data. Download the Marine Debris Tracker app and help by submitting data on the trash you encounter in the St. Louis area. 
Education Impact
We started offering virtual education classes for schools last fall, and this spring we had a full semester of teaching aquatic-science classes to students in grades K-12. In total, our education team has provided 143 virtual education classes since last October, serving more than 2,800 students! And thanks to donors like you, 43% of those programs were provided for free through our H2O Friends program (Help to Our Friends)... that’s a free class to 1,200+ students!
We look forward to our Camp Fins & Friends summer camp and seeing students visiting the Aquarium on field trips next fall!
Donor Spotlight:
YOU!
In this issue, we want to feature YOU and how your support is helping to serve the community with aquatic-science education programs and providing access to the Aquarium for students and families in under-resourced communities! It’s important to the Aquarium Foundation Board, staff and volunteers that we also be an active voice for water stewardship in the region, and your gifts help us do that as well. The Aquarium Foundation recently became a Missouri Stream Team and we look forward to making an impact on the health of our waterways by cleaning up in and around our local rivers – and there are a lot of them! – as well as educating the community about why keeping our rivers and streams clean is so important not only to the animals who call them home but also for the benefit of human health.

If you are already a donor to the Aquarium Foundation, thank you! If you aren’t yet a donor or you haven’t renewed your annual membership, now is a great time to consider a donation. Thanks to a matching gift from board members Bob O’Loughlin and George Bauer, your donation will be matched, thus doubling the impact of your gift! That’s twice as many kids who can experience an Aquarium field trip, twice as many students who can learn about aquatic science, and more river clean-ups too! If you join as a new member now, your gift will be doubled... if you renew and increase your support, the increased portion of your gift will be matched. Donate today to double your gift!
Want to make TRIPLE the impact? See if your employer offers a matching gift program! Many corporations match employee donations (or the tax deductible component of your membership) to our organization. If you volunteer with us, your employer may also provide us with a grant as a way to recognize your ongoing support. Click here to see what your employer offers. If we do not have information on your employer, check with your HR Department.
Volunteer Spotlight:
Sandy Weis
Sandy Weis has been a volunteer with the St. Louis Aquarium Foundation since January 2020, logging 66 hours so far! She has volunteered in the Conservation & Education Center, inside the Aquarium, at special events, and helping with field trips (prior to the COVID-19 pandemic).

After retiring from teaching and being a school counselor for almost 50 years, Sandy was looking to expand her volunteer work in the community. Sandy followed the progress of the exciting Union Station renovations, and when her friend, Nancy Suelflow, shared how much she enjoyed volunteering with the Aquarium Foundation, Sandy decided to apply as well. She enjoys getting to interact with guests of all ages, especially teaching visitors how to feed the stingrays.

While it’s hard to pick a favorite part of volunteering, she loves working with the field trip groups and introducing children to aquatic animals. She’s looking forward to helping with Camp Fins & Friends this summer and the Aquarium being able to host school groups again in the fall. Even though she loves working with kids, she also enjoys volunteering at special events and witnessing how much the Aquarium means to adults too.

Before volunteering with the Aquarium Foundation, Sandy had never seen many of the animals in the Aquarium in person, including the giant Pacific octopus which has become her favorite. The Foundation is proud to be able to introduce so many people to the world of aquatic wildlife through our different programs, and the support of our volunteers and donors makes that possible!
Interested in volunteering?
Learn more and complete an application here!
Events and How to Get Involved:
Give STL Day
May 6, 2021
Mark your calendar for May 6th to show your support to the St. Louis Aquarium Foundation and all your other favorite St. Louis area organizations! With your gift to the Aquarium Foundation, you are helping to provide free Aquarium field trips, education classes, and transportation to underserved students. Gifts may be made now through May 6th, and thanks to a matching gift from George Bauer and Bob O'Loughlin, your gift has double the impact!
Chalk the Town Blue Presented by Chase
June 5, 2021 | 10am-2pm
Come make your mark in honor of World Ocean Day! We plan to “chalk the town blue” to celebrate this special day focusing on the ocean and its importance to all human and non-human animals that live on planet Earth. You're invited to Union Station on June 5th to show us why the ocean is important to you by drawing or writing a message along the 18th Street sidewalk and Union Station’s River Park sidewalk. Our event sponsor Chase will provide chalk kits for participants and other fun giveaways.
INK-credible Auction
June 11, 2021 | 8am-8pm
Save the date for our INK-credible Virtual Auction! There will be unique and exclusive items for you to bid on throughout the day, including exclusive Aquarium experiences and more! During the last hour of the auction, join us for a live virtual event (via Zoom) with a mixologist presentation by STL Barkeep, animal feature by a St. Louis Aquarium biologist, and an opportunity to order food and drinks for your own at-home get together! More details to come so check your email and our website for details and a sneak peek of new items over the next few weeks.
Making Waves Gala
November 18, 2021

Save the Date for our inaugural gala! Help us make waves for education, access, and water conservation through the mission of the Aquarium Foundation. You won't want to miss this fin-tastic event!
Chair:
Linda Hunter
Honorary Chairs:
Robert O'Loughlin & Steve O'Loughlin
Junior Biologist Learning Kits
Looking for hands-on, STEM-based learning for your kiddos this summer? Our Junior Biologist Learning Kits are designed for kids ages 7-13 to explore marine biology and spark their interest in science! We have 3 different kit themes: Mississippi River Ecosystems, Coral Reefs, and JAW-some Sharks. Limited quantities remaining - order yours here!
Animal Spotlight:
Banded Archerfish
Toxotes jaculatrix
The Banded Archerfish are some the newest animals to call the St. Louis Aquarium their home! The archerfish habitat is situated directly across from the underwater portion of the otter habitat, right next to the bumblebee dart frogs. They have acclimated amazingly well and give a great show to every guest who stops by during feeding time!

Although they aren't very big now, they will grow to be about 8-10 inches long. Their native habitat is in the Indo-Pacific region off the coast of northern Australia. They are found mainly in estuaries, more specifically in the presence of mangrove trees. Estuaries are areas of water where freshwater and saltwater meet to form a less salty water called brackish water. They can sometimes even move upstream to completely freshwater areas.

Archerfish are omnivorous, but they get their name from their unique way of getting insects as part of their diet. They have adapted to spit jets of water out of their mouth to knock insects off of leaves, up to 3 yards away with almost perfect accuracy! Once the insect hits the water, the archerfish will go up to the surface and eat it. Here at the Aquarium, you can see this in action! They are trained to shoot their food off of a fixed position rod that has a food mixture on the end of it.

Be sure to check out this awesome new species next time you are here!
St. Louis Aquarium Foundation | 314.923.3926 | info@stlaquariumfoundation.org