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Aquarium of the Pacific Breaks Ground on Environmental Exhibition and Classroom

Aquarium of the Pacific Breaks Ground on Environmental Exhibition and Classroom


December 13, 2007

Project to teach vital lessons about water in the midst of drought

New “green” building will obtain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’s (LEED) highest certification, offering eco ideas for home owners

Long Beach, California, December 13, 2007—From cities looking to recycle waste water to restrictions on garden watering, water issues are becoming more pressing. The Aquarium of the Pacific has announced plans for Our Watersheds: Pathway to the Pacific, a new addition that will provide its Southern California visitors with sustainable solutions and the knowledge to make a difference at any age. The nonprofit Aquarium announced plans today to open a new watershed environmental exhibition, classroom, and native garden in November of 2008.

“With the Southland facing drought issues, it is even more crucial for residents to learn about their watersheds and how their actions impact these systems and our water supply,” said Barbara Long, Aquarium of the Pacific, VP of special projects.

The new addition will become the first building in the city of Long Beach to receive a LEED platinum rating—the highest LEED rating for a “green” design. The watershed education classroom will be designed to maximize its use of natural light and solar energy, will be constructed with recycled and other sustainable materials, and will include a native landscaped “green roof” with live vegetation, resulting in myriad environmental benefits.

“The LEED platinum-certified classroom will be used for watershed education programs for children as well as adults. We’ll be able to provide valuable learning lessons for any age, whether its how trash in our streets can flow into our rivers and ocean or how native gardening can save water at home,” said Amy Rosenberg, Aquarium of the Pacific director of education. When not in use for classes, the building will serve as a meeting space for community groups, government agencies, and others.

Adjacent to the classroom, a shaded outdoor area will feature five exhibits on our watersheds, including a model of the Los Angeles and San Gabriel watersheds with various interactive features. Hands-on exhibits will demonstrate the practical and environmentally friendly ways in which we can live more sustainably with nature and its resources. The exhibits will define a watershed, illustrate the watersheds of San Pedro Bay region, and explore concepts of water supply and use. Surrounding the classroom and outdoor exhibits, native landscaping will represent the flora found in the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Watersheds and illustrate how native gardens can significantly reduce water use.

The Aquarium’s President & CEO Jerry Schubel, broke ground on the project after announcing the details to city officials, donors, and other Aquarium stakeholders that gathered earlier today. “The primary goal of the project is to motivate visitors to improve the quality of life for people and the environment by making sustainable choices for the future of our local watersheds,” said Schubel.

Our Watersheds: Pathway to the Pacific tells the story of the changing relationships of people within the San Pedro Bay drainage basin and their environment—terrestrial, riverine, and coastal ocean. The new watershed exhibition, classroom, and native garden are made possible through funding provided by: Rivers & Mountains Conservancy; Institute of Museum and Library Services; An Anonymous Foundation; American Chemistry Council; Metropolitan Water District; Water Replenishment District of Southern California; California Coastal Conservancy; Long Beach Water Department; and Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor Don Knabe.