Virginia Aquarium Composting Pilot Program Ends with Success - November 28, 2012
Last month, the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center concluded a year-long Composting Pilot Program which resulted in ten restaurant and food service partners collectively diverting nearly 25 tons of organic waste away from the landfill and back into the productive cycle of organics/compost processing. To mark this occasion Mike Giuranna, Environmental Protection Agency Region III Solid Waste Specialist, will discuss the benefits of composting and recognize the Pilot Program Partners tomorrow, Thursday, November 29, at 12:30 p.m., at the Virginia Aquarium’s Bay & Ocean Pavilion.
The project was funded by a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Initially the program was to operate for six months but the Aquarium stretched the funding to last for an entire year while adding new partners along the way. “Now that these restaurants have developed this new sustainable practice of composting, it is hoped that they will continue while absorbing the minimal costs to do so,” said Virginia Aquarium Director of Research & Conservation Mark Swingle. One restaurant partner, Kristina Pitsilades-Chastain, vice president operations, of Captain George’s Seafood Restaurant, said, “I am sad to see the compost project come to an end but I hope all of us have shown how easily it can be done and how effective it can be. We absolutely want to continue composting.”
The restaurants participating as Pilot Program Partners are also designated Virginia Green which is a statewide program that works to reduce the environmental impacts of Virginia’s tourism industry. Attending tomorrow’s event is Virginia Green Program Coordinator Tom Griffin who has been so impressed with the program that he wants to share the results with all Virginia Green restaurants and businesses as a model.
The ten Pilot Program Partners are: Virginia Aquarium Café by Sodexo; Croc’s 19th Street Bistro; Doc Taylor’s; Tautog’s; Rockafeller’s; Bad Ass Coffee; Captain George’s; Fruitive; Virginia Wesleyan College; and Norfolk Academy.
According to the EPA, composting helps prevent methane and leachate formulation in the landfills. It also has the ability to regenerate poor soils, clean-up contaminated soil and prevent pollution. Compost can also be used to control erosion and restore wetlands. There are economic benefits as well since compost reduces the need for water, fertilizers and pesticides.
Move Over Virginia Sharks! - November 07, 2012
Nurse, sandbar and sand tiger sharks in the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center’s Norfolk Canyon Aquarium are about to have some competition in size and reputation. Staff is making room in the changing exhibits gallery for a walk-through replica of the extinct Megalodon, which at 60 feet long, could figuratively be called the mother of all sharks. The exhibit Megalodon: Largest Shark that Ever Lived dispels myths, confirms facts, examines its culture, and inspires lessons for science and shark conservation today.
This national traveling exhibition, produced by the Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville, with support from the National Science Foundation, opens at the Virginia Aquarium November 10 and runs through February 17. It is free with Aquarium admission. As unique as Megalodon was, so too is the exhibition that tells the story of this enormous creature. The exhibition showcases both fossil and modern shark specimens as well as full-scale models from several collections. Visitors enter a full-size sculpture of Megalodon through massive jaws and discover this shark’s history and the world it inhabited, including its size, structure, diet, lifespan, relatives, neighbors, evolution and extinction over 2 million years ago.
3D IMAX® Theater
Also opening November 10 in conjunction with the Meglalodon exhibit is Sea Rex 3D: Journey to a Prehistoric World. Audiences at the Virginia Aquarium 3D IMAX Theater will enjoy an incredible voyage, 200 million years back in time, for a face-to-face encounter with the T-Rex of the seas in this IMAX 3D movie on the Aquarium’s six-story high screen. Movie schedules for Sea Rex and other movies and advance ticket sales are available at www.virginiaaquarium.com or by calling (757) 385-FISH.
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