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Beyond the aquarium and across the globe, Shedd staff are working every day to protect and advocate for aquatic wildlife and their habitats. Just this past year, Shedd engaged in several conservation efforts that had far-reaching results for the aquatic animal world.

One important effort that Shedd hosted in 2017 throughout the majority of 2018 was the Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea traveling exhibit created by artist Angela Haseltine Pozzi, which showcased 19 larger-than-life sculptures of aquatic animals, created entirely from plastic beach trash. Since the project began, 10,000 volunteers have removed more than 38,000 pounds of plastic trash from over 300 miles of beaches. The exhibit helped spark conversations with Shedd guests about plastic pollution and the aquarium’s own plastic reduction efforts like Great Lakes Action Days and Shedd the Straw.

Shedd also initiated the #SheddTheStraw campaign, aimed at raising awareness for and reducing the use of single-use plastic. Scientists estimate approximately 8 million tons of plastic trash end up in the ocean annually, and plastic straws account for much of this harmful waste. Partnering with several local organizations, including the Chicago White Sox, Shedd has helped raise awareness for decreasing the use of plastic straws. Overall, Shedd has cut its own plastic use by 70% since 2013. Click here to view a quick video on this program.

Abroad, Shedd sent veterinarian Dr. O’Connor to Madagascar to help provide care to over 10,000 critically endangered radiated tortoises who were held captive as part of a poaching scheme. In Quebec, Shedd staff assisted in the first rescue and relocation of a stranded beluga calf in 2017. And Dr. Steve Kessel, Director of Marine Research, continues leading important research and conservation efforts to collect shark biodiversity data and collaborate with the Bahamian government to preserve essential shark sanctuaries. Closer to home, Shedd continues vital conservation work in Lake Michigan.  IIII



Looking for ways to get involved with Shedd? Visit Shedd’s website at or contact John Kinzer at to learn about the impact an Aquarium Council membership has on Shedd’s global mission, as well as how it can enhance your own experience.

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