Sunday, June 9, was the New England Aquarium‘s World Oceans Day Celebration. My family and I had a Vaquita table there, and it went better than well. We got the all-time Muskwa record of 438 table visitors, and combined with Muskwa’s other two tables in California and Connecticut, we directly educated 803 people about the Vaquita this weekend for World Oceans Day! Boston is a beautiful city and the aquarium is amazing, and combined with the perfect, non-windy weather right on the peaceful harbor, the stage was set for an amazing day.
We set up the table at about 10:15 am and the visitors started flowing in 15 minutes early at about 10:45. We got almost 20 people before the event even started. And for the rest of the day, we got almost 100 visitors per hour.
At the table, we had a lot of things. Behind us was a beautiful, life-size Vaquita vinyl banner hanging via one of my mom’s photography backdrop holders. The table was covered in a nice black tablecloth and had comfortable chairs, both put there before we arrived. On the table we had:
1. About 250 paper Vaquita cutouts that kids got to color with markers and pastels. We then tangled up the Vaquita in the fishing net taped to the front of the table for the kids to rescue and take home. On the back of the Vaquitas were V-log and the Muskwa Club’s and web addresses for parents to visit.
2. A poster featuring some of my drawings and included information on the Vaquita.
3. Flyers with info on the Vaquita, with instructions on how to donate to the switch-out, a link to my blog, and more.
4. Examples of what a Vaquita looks like, including paper Vaquitas decorated by my siblings, drawings by various artists, and plush Vaquitas.
5. And of course, ourselves to engage and teach people of all ages about this tiny endangered porpoise.
As the day went on, we got more comfortable with our “speech,” which was the guideline of what we said to every visitor of the table. It explained the basics of the Vaquita’s situation and ended with telling them how they could help and giving them a flyer if they were really interested. We ended up giving away all but one flyer, and all of the paper Vaquitas. In fact, we gave away the last of 250 paper Vaquitas to a kid at 3:59, with one minute left of the event. Everyone we talked to seemed very interested in the Vaquita’s situation, and the kids loved the craft. Because it would be difficult and unnecessary for all five of my family members to attend the table at the same time during the entire five-hour event, we took shifts where two or three of us walked around while the rest covered the table. While walking around, we checked out the other tables, which were all very interesting and worth spending some time at.
We also explored the New England Aquarium itself. The aquarium is probably the nicest I have ever been to. They are right on the harbor, and Boston is a very laid back city, which provided a very peaceful atmosphere. Inside the aquarium were some amazing animals and exhibits. They have Myrtle the Green Sea Turtle, who could be 85 years old, Atlantic Harbor and Northern Fur Seals, California Sea Lions, adorable Little Blue Penguins, and hundreds of species of fish and other marine life. But perhaps my favorite exhibit was Voices in the Sea. Voices in the Sea is a touchscreen exhibit (see blogroll) that features many marine mammals with information, videos, and more about the animal. I had suspicions that VITS would be at the New England Aquarium, so when I found it, I was pleasantly surprised. The best part is that VITS has the Vaquita! All of the information is 100% accurate, and there are three videos explaining different aspects of the Vaquita’s situation. I was glad to see that the aquarium was educating people about the Vaquita with Voices in the Sea.
World Oceans Day was the best day of my life. I loved educating people directly about the Vaquita, because I was so used to just writing about it. It was a rewarding experience that I hope to duplicate on National Save the Vaquita Day, July 6.