|Deputy Secretary Scarlett represented the Coastal America federal agencies and the White House Council on
Environmental Quality at the ceremony.
June 14, 2007
(Veracruz, Mexico) -- In a ceremony today, Coastal America designated the Acuario de Veracruz as its first International Coastal Ecosystem Learning Center. The prestigious designation was presented by Lynn Scarlett, Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior. Governor Fidel Herrera, State of Veracruz, Mexico, and Dr. Martin Vargas Priesto, Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources were among the dignitaries.
Deputy Secretary Scarlett represented the Coastal America federal agencies and the White House Council on Environmental Quality at the ceremony. Bryon Griffith, Director, Gulf of Mexico Program, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Chair of the Gulf of Mexico Governor’s Alliance Federal Working Group presented the federal partnership commitments to the Veracruz Aquarium. The commitments include library and educational materials, an ocean news kiosk, exhibit development and educational curriculum, seminar exchange programs and technical support.
In addition, five Coastal Ecosystem Learning Centers (CELCs) have committed to provide staff training and educational resources in programmatic areas of particular importance to the Acuario de Veracruz. The Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership, a private-public partnership, has committed to provide travel support so that the staff of the Acuario de Veracruz can travel to its CELC partners for this important training.
“As a Coastal Ecosystem Learning Center, the Acuario de Veracruz will join a network of aquaria delivering a strong public message about the importance of our coastal resources. The Coastal America Partnership created this innovative network so that the general public, especially younger citizens as future stewards of our coasts, can better understand how human activities can affect the environment along our shorelines,” stated Scarlett.
Ms. Scarlett welcomed the Acuario de Veracruz to the Learning Center network, noting that: “The Administration is firmly committed to ocean and coastal issues. The Coastal Ecosystem Learning Center network connects with more than 25 million people each year, educating them about the function and value of coastal resources. ”
James L. Connaughton, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and Chair of Coastal America, stated, “This prestigious designation allows for greater collaboration between Mexico and the United States in our joint efforts to preserve, protect and restore the coastal and marine environment of the Gulf of Mexico. Lifelong education is an essential component to fostering a strong economy and promoting healthy ecosystems in the Gulf region. Coastal America's CELCs contribute to this goal by creating a compelling environment to engage communities in learning about our coastal resources and encouraging them to become good stewards of the resources; and the Veracruz Aquarium is now a stunning addition to this effort.”
The Coastal Ecosystem Learning Center network was established in 1996 by Coastal America, an interagency federal partnership that works to protect, preserve and restore the nation’s coastal ecosystems. The Learning Centers are selected to serve as regional educational centers that work closely with the United States’ federal partners to educate the publics about the value of coastal resources. With the designation of Acuario de Veracruz there are now twenty regional Learning Centers in this important educational network.
Representing the CELC network, Jerry Schubel, President, Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California, stated, "The Aquarium of the Pacific along with the John G. Shedd Aquarium, Texas State Aquarium, the Waikiki Aquarium, and the National Aquarium in Baltimore, in collaboration with the Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership (CWRP) is pleased to provide training and support to the Veracruz Aquarium. As key centers for education and conservation, aquariums in the Coastal Ecosystem Learning Center network serve to connect communities to the ocean and inspire respect and stewardship. As we must all work together to protect our one ocean and one planet, we are excited that the citizens of Mexico will have access to the resources and educational information of the Veracruz Aquarium. "
Patrick Hester, of Spectra Energy and Chair of the CWRP, stated, “It is vitally important that we instill the necessity of preserving and protecting aquatic habitat in our children and future generations. The CWRP is committed to supporting the educational and outreach programs of the Coastal Ecosystem Learning Centers that will support this goal.” Mr. Hester went on to say, "I am particularly pleased that CWRP has found a means to work closely with our Learning Center network to support the Veracruz Aquarium in our joint educational efforts to preserve and restore the important natural resources of the Gulf of Mexico.”
Marcelino Fernández Rivero, President of the Acuario de Veracruz, was very pleased to accept the official designation from Coastal America as its newest member to the Learning Center network. “With the strong support of and instruction of Governor Fidel Herrera Beltran and the State Government of Veracruz we are pleased to express our pleasure to become a part of such a successful and promising network of Learning Centers. The common focus on environmental education is tremendously important and the Learning Center network has shown its dedication to this effort. We are looking forward to contributing our resources, knowledge, and regional diversity to further achieve environmental awareness and stewardship among the public."
Virginia K. Tippie, Director of Coastal America, stated, “The Coastal America partners look forward to working with the Acuario de Veracruz in sharing information and technical expertise about our coasts and oceans. The Learning Center network provides a tremendous opportunity for us to transform national and regional information into effective messages and programs which the aquaria and museum network do so adeptly.”
About the organizations:
Acuario de Veracruz— the Veracruz Aquarium is a nonprofit institution and is Latin America's largest aquarium. The facility houses nearly 2,200 aquatic animals from around the world and 1,225,000 gallons of fresh and marine water. Since its opening in 1992 the Aquarium's mission has been to enhance appreciation of the aquatic world promoting the conservation of the natural resources with educational programs and research projects.
Coastal America—Coastal America is a partnership among federal, state and local governments and private alliances to address environmental problems along our nation’s coasts. The federal partners are: Departments of Agriculture, the Air Force, the Army, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, the Navy, State, Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency and the Executive Office of the President. To learn more about Coastal America, call 202-401-9928 or visit www.coastalamerica.gov.