Today, U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and U.S. Representative Jim Himes (CT-4) announced $484,955 in Environmental Literacy Grant funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk. The funding will be used for a three-year program to enable students, teachers, and Aquarium visitors to identify environmental hazards in their region, and the important elements of science underlying those hazards. The Maritime Aquarium is one of five nation-wide grantees.

“The Maritime Aquarium is a Connecticut treasure, and this grant is a true testament to the Aquarium’s ability to educate, engage, and inspire visitors of all ages. Climate change is a true threat to our planet and region, and this program will give the Maritime Aquarium the tools to teach thousands of students and visitors about the most pressing environmental challenges. We congratulate the Maritime Aquarium for this major, competitive award, and look forward to the impact that this program will have on our community,” said Blumenthal, Murphy, and Himes.

“We thank the USDC and NOAA for endorsing this innovative program,” said Dr. Brian Davis, president of The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk. “It is critical that residents of our shoreline communities understand the complexity of environmental issues and are able to engage in civic dialogue that addresses the new challenges – both physical and financial – produced by a changing climate.

“We are excited to work with NOAA, as well as with local schools and agencies, to bring a deeper understanding of environmental issues to students and teachers through interpretative experiences that this grant will support. Our nearly 500,000 guests of the Aquarium will benefit from this information as well,” Davis added.

The Maritime Aquarium, with the support of partners, will develop materials, teaching strategies, and lesson plans related to environmental hazards, community resilience, and the underlying science. The program will serve 150 middle and high school teachers and more than 1,875 students from 10 Fairfield County towns on or near the Connecticut coast. A related exhibit in the Aquarium's main gallery and programming for the public on the Aquarium's new research vessel, Spirit of the Sound, will engage at least 84,000 more Aquarium visitors and 15,000 vessel passengers during the grant period.