KultureCity and Georgia Aquarium Debut New Wilkins Rhodes Sensory Room

The Dr. Gregory Bossart Memorial One Health Scholarship was launched earlier this year by the One Health Commission and Georgia Aquarium for one student, from anywhere in the world, who is leading a graduate or clinical research project focused on the interconnection between animals, people, plants, and their shared environment.

The inaugural $5,000 USD scholarship award will go to:

Taylor Weary for her One Health Project titled, ‘Healthy Children, Healthy Chimps: Reducing respiratory disease transmission from humans to chimpanzees in Uganda’. Taylor is a DVM/Ph.D. student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine in Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

We want all of our guests to feel welcome and safe when visiting Georgia Aquarium. This new sensory room is another way we can ensure all families and guests can enjoy their visit together and at their own pace. We’re proud of this new space as well as our partnership with KultureCity and we look forward to continuing our work together in the future.
- said Dr. Brian Davis, President and CEO of Georgia Aquarium

See the winning project narrative:
‘Common cold’ pediatric human pathogens have been identified as the causative agents of reverse zoonotic respiratory disease in wild chimpanzees of Kibale National Park, Uganda with outbreak mortality rates of up to 10%. It is hypothesized that these pathogens circulate in children living near chimpanzee habitats, and that adults in those villages become asymptomatically infected and carry the pathogens into the forest potentially infecting chimpanzees. The objectives of this project are to characterize respiratory pathogens in local children, forest workers, and chimpanzees using comprehensive molecular diagnostics and metagenomic DNA sequencing, and to examine the reverse zoonotic transmission risk that varies with pathogen type, season, environment, and the individual characteristics of humans and chimpanzees. Reverse zoonotic respiratory disease is a major threat to all wild apes, and SARS-CoV-2 has been a “game changer” in this regard. This study establishes prospective matched cohorts to identify where, when and how respiratory pathogens move from people to chimpanzees. The data will lead to evidence-based actions to reduce transmission to the approximately 1,500 chimpanzees of Kibale National Park and, by extension, to apes across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr. Gregory Bossart, VMD, Ph.D. was a highly respected veterinarian, pathologist, and conservationist committed to advancing the understanding of marine mammals as sentinels of ocean and human health. With a career spanning 30 years and over 200 publications, Dr. Bossart identified resurgent and emerging diseases in dolphins, manatees, birds, and whales. His research and innovative techniques helped characterize the first viral diseases in manatees and he was responsible for developing the first immunohistochemical technique for diagnosing brevetoxicosis (red tide poisoning) in both marine mammals and birds.

Dr. Bossart was also a dedicated proponent of the One Health concept and approach which was a prominent theme in his long-running Atlantic bottlenose dolphin Health and Environmental Risk Assessment (HERA) project. Started in 2003, HERA was developed to monitor how dolphin health in coastal habitats is impacted by environmental stressors and how those stressors potentially also impact human health. His contributions to the study of marine mammal health are far-reaching, and through this scholarship, Georgia Aquarium and the One Health Commission are committed to honoring Dr. Bossart’s One Health legacy. For more information on the Dr. Gregory Bossasrt Memorial One Health Scholarship, click here.

This article was published on: December 17, 2020

Evoqua Names Georgia Aquarium Winner of Second Annual Water Sustainability Award

PITTSBURGH—March 22, 2019—Evoqua Water Technologies (NYSE: AQUA), an industry leader in mission critical water treatment solutions, today named Georgia Aquarium the recipient of the Evoqua Water Sustainability Award for 2019. The award recognizes excellence in water stewardship, including companies using new or existing technologies in innovative, sustainable ways and companies that have made significant strides in water reduction.

Georgia Aquarium, the largest aquarium in the Western Hemisphere, is committed to working on behalf of all marine life through education, preservation, exceptional animal care and research across the globe. With hundreds of exhibits and tens of thousands of animals across seven major galleries, Georgia Aquarium must maintain life support system (LSS) processes that ensure the water is clean and healthy. The LSS systems consist of a combination of sand filtration, protein skimming and ozone disinfection. On top of this, the LSS team at Georgia Aquarium has developed a process of denitrification using fiberglass-reinforced plastic vessels, custom-built by Evoqua’s Neptune Benson, that house beneficial bacteria.

This process reduces nitrates that form in the aquarium’s 6.3-million-gallon Ocean Voyager exhibit. A recent study showed that the types of bacteria in the denitrification vessels are nearly identical to those found in applicable natural marine settings.

“Preserving water—the world’s most valuable resource—is at the heart of everything we do at Evoqua,” said Ron Keating, Evoqua CEO. “Each year, we’re excited to honor an organization that prizes sustainability as much as we do. Georgia Aquarium’s extraordinary LSS processes have made it a water savings hero, and we’re proud to be part of its efforts to enrich life through smart water use.”

We are honored to be selected by Evoqua for this significant award that recognizes the hard work and dedication that goes into sustaining Georgia Aquarium’s Life Support Systems daily
- said John Masson, Director of Life Support Systems at Georgia Aquarium

The award will be presented to Georgia Aquarium at an event in April, timed around Earth Day.

For the second year, Evoqua employees nominated companies from among its 38,000-customer base for their sustainability efforts to treat, re-use, and conserve water. Other companies shortlisted for the award included Johnson & Johnson and Phillips66.

Johnson & Johnson has a long history dating back to the early 1990s of conscientious energy use, water conservation, and utility minimization. Projects across the globe (from Cork, Ireland, to Malvern, Pennsylvania, U.S.), use recovery Reverse Osmosis (RO) to minimize water consumption and discharge to publicly owned treatment works.

WRB Refining, a joint venture between Phillips 66 and Cenovus Energy, recently completed a project at its Borger, Texas refinery that proved 400 gallons per minute (gpm) water savings. The project focused on water with high silica and salt content that was causing cooling tower inefficiency through scaling and fouling. The project repurposed existing Evoqua Water Technologies Reverse Osmosis (RO) equipment to help clean up the feed quality of the refinery cooling tower water.

To further highlight the importance of preserving water on World Water Day, Evoqua today released an infographic highlighting the influence water has on business, industry and modern life, including:

Providing peak performance conditions for elite swimmers
Creating award-winning beverages and ensuring food safety
Producing microchips and solar cells
Creating safe and sterile healthcare environments
To learn more about Evoqua and World Water Day, and to download the infographic, visit Evoqua’s World Water Day page.

Evoqua services more than 200,000 installations across the globe. For this reason, Evoqua understands the profound impact of providing solutions that ensure its customers and partners meet or exceed their sustainability goals. For more information on Evoqua’s sustainability efforts, as well as more information on the finalists, visit www.evoqua.com/sustainability.

This article was published on: June 25, 2019

Georgia Aquarium Earns Prestigious AZA Accreditation

The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) today announced that AZA’s Accreditation Commission has accredited Georgia Aquarium.
“Only the very best zoos and aquariums can meet the ‘gold standards’ set for accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums,” said AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe. “By achieving AZA-accreditation, Georgia Aquarium demonstrates that it is committed to exemplary animal care and welfare, educational and inspiring guest experiences, and supports AZA’s mission to conserve our world’s wild animals and wild places.”

To be accredited, Georgia Aquarium underwent a thorough review to make certain it has and will continue to meet ever-rising standards in categories which include animal care and welfare, veterinary programs, conservation, education, and safety. AZA requires zoos and aquariums to successfully complete this rigorous accreditation process every five years in order to be members of the Association.

Being an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is not only an honor, but a testament to our commitment to the care of all animals. We look forward to our continued successes with AZA in the world of animal care and conservation.
- Joseph Handy, President and Chief Operating Officer of Georgia Aquarium

The accreditation process includes a detailed application and a meticulous on-site inspection by a team of trained zoo and aquarium professionals. The inspecting team observes all aspects of the institution’s operation, including animal care and welfare; keeper training; safety for visitors, staff and animals; educational programs; conservation efforts; veterinary programs; financial stability; risk management; visitor services; and more. Finally, top officials are interviewed at a formal hearing of AZA’s Accreditation Commission, after which accreditation is granted, tabled, or denied. Any institution that is denied may reapply one year after the Commission’s decision is made.

Georgia Aquarium received its first accreditation from the AZA in 2008 and was accredited again in 2013. AZA requires zoos and aquariums to successfully complete the accreditation process every five years in order to be members of the Association.

“Being an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is not only an honor, but a testament to our commitment to the care of all animals,” said Joseph Handy, president and chief operating officer of Georgia Aquarium. “We look forward to our continued successes with AZA in the world of animal care and conservation.”

The AZA inspection committee noted that Georgia Aquarium’s new sea lion presentation, Under the Boardwalk, is “well done, interactive, and engaging, presenting strong conservation messages.” Georgia Aquarium also conducts “outstanding conservation research-focused on increasing knowledge and understanding of animals within their care.” While additional strengths were noted, Georgia Aquarium was also commended for its reuse of salt and freshwater that significantly reduces water consumption. The Aquarium continues efforts to conserve water and electricity.

Please contact Georgia Aquarium at 404-581-4000 for additional information about the facility, including special events and activities for visitors and its ongoing commitment to wildlife conservation and science education. For updates, follow Georgia Aquarium on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For exclusive behind-the-scenes content, subscribe to Georgia Aquarium’s new Facebook Watch series, Aquarium Love Stories.

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