Traditional aquariums of old focused mainly on entertainment as the way to show people what lies beneath the surface, and to expand awareness. Today, we do better. Today’s aquarium focus on education while engaging visitors with a variety of exhibits, technologies and experiences that do not need to rely on animal shows for impact. The conservation aquariums of today actively participate in working to achieve sustainable aquatic ecosystem health in systems both local and distant. They contribute with research, studies and programs that expand global knowledge. They integrate with school systems for enhancing lessons, they work with post-secondary institutions to give access to important facilities needed for research. They are staffed with passionate individuals who are working to protect, to understand, and to preserve life that exists under the surface and around the edges of aquatic ecosystems.
The initial role of the visitor to conservation aquariums is passive; they come to experience the exhibits, spend the day with family or friends or simply by themselves to enjoy the facility. However for many, through understanding, awareness and access to expert knowledge, visitors become active conservationists. Small actions done by many make for large impacts down stream. The conservation aquariums of today are the catalysts for action for our global waters.
There are no public conservation aquariums in the Prairies, no place to come and learn about the precious resource that is water. As a region of Canada that has little to no direct access to ocean waters it is arguably the most perfect place to have a facility dedicated to the aquatic biosphere. What we don’t know about, we can’t care about. Healthy aquatic ecosystems are the key to sustainable water supplies, and water – both salt and fresh – is a single contiguous global system. What happens here eventually impacts the other side of the world. What happens on the other side of the world affects us here.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a biosphere thus:
The aquatic biosphere specifically focuses on the life that exists within, on and at the edges of water.
Yes, there will live exhibits at the aquarium, representing a variety of ecosystems. What there will NOT be are cetaceans; no whales or dolphins, or other large animals. You will still get to experience them, but through a variety of media instead.
This is a great question and probably our number one question. The project has been investigating a number of options and possibilities, both within the City of Edmonton limits and without.
If you think this is a great project for our region you can help by sending your City Councillor, Provincial MLA and Federal MP a note to add your voice of support for its development to happen here in our backyard.
Education is at the heart of our mission. So, yes, there are a number of programs, tools and resources being planned. Inbound and outbound field trips are also in planning, so that schools who are too far to come to Edmonton can still benefit.
If you’d like to help with some of this development, we are looking for educators from a variety of backgrounds to help make sure what is being developed is in alignment to current curriculum guidelines and student (& teacher) friendly as well.
Learn more about volunteering here.
You bet! Volunteers are the heart and soul of this project. If you want to really get involved there is a list of specific volunteer positions that need filling in the news section. If you’re not sure or just want to get on the volunteer mailing list for upcoming events, you can sign up here. Once your application is accepted, there is an online volunteer forum set up for general discussions and questions that you will receive an invitation to join. You will also be added to the volunteer mailing list for updates, information and upcoming events.
Not at this time, but once we start into the Capital Campaign, positions will start to open. If this sounds like something you’d like to work at, the best suggestion is to get on the mailing list (below), then follow us on Facebook or Twitter. That way you’ll stay current with what is happening and you’ll be the first to know about upcoming job openings.
Get the latest project updates
signup for newsletter