World Oceans Day

In 2008, the United Nations designated June 8 World Oceans Day. World Oceans Day, an independent organization established in 2002 advocates for ocean preservation. Even earlier in 1992, there was discussion about a need to raise awareness across the world about the importance of a healthy ocean. Hundreds of visitors streamed through the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas on Saturday, June 8, 2019 to celebrate the oceans of the world.

We were excited to celebrate the health of our oceans at the Aquarium of the Americas because so many of Louisiana’s citizens rely on it for their livelihoods. Alongside partners such as BTNEP, our Outreach Team visited with hundreds of enthusiastic aquarium-goers from across the country. Our table was at the mouth of the Mississippi River section on the second floor, next to one of the Audubon Institute’s famed “leucistic” (partial loss of pigment, appearing white) alligators, Tchompitoulas.

Each family at the event was given an activity sheet as they entered, directing them to each of the different tables to collect stamps. To earn their butterfly stamp from CWPPRA, they had to learn the average number of minutes it takes to lose one acre, or a football field, of land in coastal Louisiana. On top of that, many of the younger participants were really excited to learn about the animals in our habitat toss game. Despite not being allowed to take the bean bags home, they still had fun learning about different coastal habitats and the resources they provide.

Ocean Fest 2018

In acknowledgment of World Oceans Day (June 8, 2018)  Audubon Aquarium of the Americas (New Orleans) celebrated with their annual Ocean Fest event on Saturday, June 9th. World Ocean Day is an opportunity to recognize how healthy oceans impact our food, the air we breathe, our climate, and many other aspects of our lives. Unfortunately, our oceans face many challenges.

Families, couples, and individuals from across the state and around the world learned about ocean creatures, current ocean problems such as microplastics, and even a bit about Louisiana Wetlands. They had the chance to talk with people from the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program and LSU Sea Grant, learning both how the oceans support them and how they can better support the oceans.

0609181057CWPPRA Outreach staff were set up in the Mississippi River area and had a hands-on learning activity- the Mysterious Wetland Wonders. People of all ages had to guess which Louisiana wetland organism was inside the box only by feeling with their hands and reading clues — Of course none of the items were alive! — but each represented an influential component of Louisiana wetlands, from invasive nutria which destroy marsh to bald cypress trees which are important economically and for wildlife habitat.

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CWPPRA Outreach staff also had materials like the Protect Our Coast posters, stickers, and activity books available for the public, as well as literature about CWPPRA and recent issues of Watermarks. Citizens who had never heard of CWPRPA learned our mission in constructing projects that protect and restore wetlands and barrier islands in coastal Louisiana. CWPPRA projects may focus on land, but the connections between the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi and other rivers in Louisiana, coastal wetlands, and the communities that depend on those areas mean that each is an important part of what happens to the others.