Tuesday, April 24, 2012

On the road with Roast Beef

Visitors to the Aquarium are probably familiar with our penguin colony, but have you ever seen a penguin out around town? Last Wednesday, members of the West End House Boys and Girls Club had just that experience when Roast Beef – one of our star penguins – paid a visit to the Allston-based community organization thanks to a generous donation from New Balance. It was Boston school vacation week, so there were lots of club members on hand to meet Roast Beef and the Aquarium staff who came with him.

 Roast Beef in his climate-controlled cart

You might be wondering how a penguin can travel around town. The answer: We have a custom-made, climate-controlled mobile home for him. When you’re a penguin outside of your exhibit, it’s important to keep cool and stress-free. The air-conditioned cart keeps our penguin safe and at just the right temperature for this short visit

Andrea, one of the Aquarium’s penguin aquarists, gave a presentation to help the audience learn a little bit more about penguin biology, ecology and conservation. Roast Beef helped show off the physical characteristics of penguins, and even took his morning meal during the presentation to demonstrate how they swallow fish whole. (More video of feeding time in the Penguin Exhibit here.)

And at the end of the presentation, everyone had lots of thoughtful and intelligent questions to ask.  We’re pretty sure everyone had a good time because at the end of the visit, they made Roast Beef an honorary member of the West End House – complete with his own membership card.

Visits like this are an important part of the community outreach that the Aquarium strives to provide, and this particular visit was made possible with the support of New Balance. They are both a Corporate Member and Corporate Sponsor of the Aquarium, and the donation of an Animal Ambassador program (which includes penguin outreaches) to a school or community organization of their choice is one benefit of their membership.  If you’d like to learn more about our Corporate Partner programs, please see here.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Earth Day tips from the penguins

Earth Day is tomorrow, April 22, and here are some tips from our penguins to help your live blue™ on this special day and all year long!

Carpool:  If you and your friends are heading to the same destination, why not all go together in one car! This will help reduce the amount of carbon emissions that are released into the atmosphere.  Another way to help reduce car emissions is to use public transportation (when you visit the Aquarium, say, it is easily accessible by the MBTA subway system!) or even ride your bike or walk.

Penguins from the Shanghai Aquarium in China carpooling in a special penguin car

How do you transport seven rockhopper penguins from Orlando to Boston? You load up a van and drive! Learn more about how we transport penguins in this blog.

Reuse and recycle:  Before you throw that bottle away check to see if it has a recycle symbol on it; and if it does make sure you put it in the recycle bin. By reusing recycled materials it reduces the need to manufacture new materials which can be harmful to the environment.  It also reduces the amount of trash that ends up in landfills or even worse the oceans.   Better yet use reusable bottles or shopping bags whenever possible and that will help reduce the need for new products.

Choose sustainable food: If you like eating fish but feel bad that there are starving penguins in the wild, think about where your food is coming from. Try to pick fish that has been harvested or farmed in environmentally friendly ways. Click on this link to see the Aquariums guide to sustainable seafood. All the fish served at the Aquarium is sustainable — from the daily special served in our CafĂ© to the fish we feed the penguins and other animals. Try to purchase local or organic products whenever possible, too.

Feeding African penguins at the Aquarium

Conserve energy:  The less energy we use the less that needs to be produced. Conserve energy by using energy-saving thermostats and energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs, and by turning off the lights and water when not in use.

Instead of turning up the heat, be like these little blue penguins and put on a sweater.


Educate Yourself:  One of the best ways to help save the environment is to learn as much as you can and share your knowledge with friends and family. By learning about animals and habitats that are being negatively affected by our actions may help you take the extra effort to make more sustainable choices. Poke around our conservation and research web pages to learn what the Aquarium is doing to protect ocean animals, and what you can do to help. Stop by the Aquarium and listening to a penguin or Giant Ocean Tank presentation or read the Aquarium’s blogs. There are all great ways to get some useful knowledge.

Support Conservation Organizations:  There are many great local and global organizations out there that need your help. From donating money or volunteering your time to the New England Aquarium to writing a letter to your local government official, there are many ways you can help make a difference towards the health of our Earth.

SANCCOB is an important conservation organization dedicated to helping save African penguins in South Africa. Learn more about Paul’s time spent working at SANCCOB here.

From the penguin staff and all the penguins here at the New England Aquarium, Happy Earth Day!