​​​​​​​​​​Conservation in Action

Sea Turtle Hatchlings

One of our guest-favorite exhibits provides more than just a chance to see adorable baby loggerhead sea turtles. These hatchlings were selected from nests in the coastal Virginia area and brought to the Aquarium for study, public display, and eventual release. After a year of rearing by our animal care staff, the loggerheads will be prepared for release off the coast of Virginia and North Carolina, fitted with trackers with the goal of learning more about the "lost years."

See more about the program on our blog here and track the yearlings on seaturtle.org.

This project is made possible through public donations and our partnerships with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service​, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Old Dominion University, and University of Central Florida​.

Fish Egg Collection

One of the biggest challenges for public aquariums is addressing the long term sustainability of the animals in our care. A project between SeaWorld San Diego, the Florida Aquarium, and other AZA-accredited members is working to find a solution. The reproduction of tropical fish has been a challenge for even the best trained aquarists, and the Virginia Aquarium collects eggs from key species for the University of Florida's Tropical Aquaculture Lab. Researchers study the eggs and work to develop best practices for encouraging healthy reproduction and rearing of these amazing ambassadors to the ocean. To learn more about the project, check out our blog post here.

Coral Restoration and Repair

The Virginia Aquarium is home to a wide variety of live coral species, and our team recognizes the importance of healthy coral to healthy oceans. That's why we send participants to the Sexual Coral Reproduction (SECORE)​ annual workshop in Curacao. Learn more about what we're doing here at the Aquarium and abroad for coral reproduction on our blog here.

Ospreywatch

The Chesapeake Bay is home to the largest breeding population of osprey in the world. The Virginia Aquarium works with the Center for Conservation Biology, an affiliate of the College of William & Mary and Virginia Commonwealth University, on OspreyWatch and OspreyTrak programs. Learn more about what we hope to learn and why we monitor these incredible birds on our blog.

Frogwatch

Frogs and toads play an important role in the ecosystem, serving as both predator and prey, and living in both aquatic and terrestrial environs. Because of this, frogs and toads are indicators of environmental health, and monitoring their populations is key. Join us as a FrogWatch USA volunteer and learn to identify local frog and toad species by their calls during breeding season and help us keep an accurate look at their population in our area. To learn more about FrogWatch and how to get involved, check out our blog here.

Marine Debris / Trash Talking Turtles

Marine debris is one of the biggest threats to our ocean, and the Trash Talking Turtle is one way to help spread the word. The Trash Talking Turtle serves as a symbol for the conservation message and helps people physically see the problem with marine debris. To learn more about this program, including how to create your own Trash Talking Turtle, please check out the blog post here.

If you are interested in taking part in a beach cleanup or organizing one yourself, let us know! Contact us here for more information.

Water Quality Monitoring

Approved by the Commonwealth of Virginia's Department of Environmental Quality, the Virginia Aquarium's water quality lab can process water samples from community volunteers and groups interested in monitoring local waterways. Simply complete the registration form, bring your sample to the Aquarium on your assigned date, on ice, within 12 hours of collection. Results will be mailed to you within three business days. You can also access the results on our interactive map.

To learn more about the tests that can be run, as well as the importance of water quality monitoring, get more information here.​​