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Embassy gifts the National Aquarium donation to expand access to education programming

28 April 2022

On Earth Day 2022, Ambassador Arthur Sinodinos toured the National Aquarium's Australia: Wild Extremes exhibit with 30 students from the Embassy's adopted school, Tyler Elementary School in Washington, DC. Ambassador Sinodinos then presented the Aquarium with a donation to expand access for students and families to the Aquarium’s virtual Australian Adventure field trip experience, and for fututre collaborative educational programming with the Embassy.

The Aquarium has worked closely with the Embassy since envisioning and opening their Australia: Wild Extremes exhibit. The students attended this event courtesy of the Washington Performing Arts’ Embassy Adoption Program. The partnership program with the District of Columbia Public Schools connects 75 embassies and partners with fifth and sixth grade D.C. Public Schools classrooms for a year of learning about the arts, culture, history and geography of the class’s adopted region.

National Aquarium Curator, Jack Cover, led the students through four interactive stations where they learned about Australia and explored artefacts. Jack Cover was instrumental in the creation of the exhibit and has extensive knowledge dating back to its inception and opening in December 2005.

The Australia: Wild Extremes exhibit is home to nearly 1,000 animals representing more than 70 species — many of which are only found in Australia. Guests come face to face with turtles, crocodiles, snakes, lizards, free-flying birds and more as they walk through this replication of an Australian river gorge. The exhibit has achieved several first-species reproductions since opening, the most recent addition being the Mary River turtle. The Mary River turtle is only found on the Mary River of Queensland. The National Aquarium has hatched out several clutches of Mary River turtles, with the most recent clutch hatching on April 8. This protected species is permitted under an Ambassador Agreement with the Australian government. All reproductive success is reported and the Australian government reviews and approves any transfer of specimens to other institutions.