Press release

Dr. Romano inducted into Saint Michael's College Alumni Academic Hall of Fame

Sea Research Foundation’s Dr. Tracy Romano, a 1986 graduate of Saint Michael's College, was inducted into the Saint Michael's College Alumni Academic Hall of Fame.

Dr. Tracy Romano, a 1986 graduate of Saint Michael's College, Executive Vice President of Research and Zoological Operations for Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut, was inducted into the Saint Michael's College Alumni Academic Hall of Fame in ceremonies at the Vermont college on September 28, 2012.

Dr. Romano was cited for having pursued a career at the highest level of research science. “By studying the health and safety of dolphins, beluga, and bowhead whales, Dr. Romano has profoundly advanced understanding of human disruption to the sea habitat of these marine mammals,” the citation said.

“With a resume of scientific research supported by over $1 million in grants and documented in a 20-page resume of journal publications and presentations, Dr. Romano has advanced understanding of these magnificent sea mammals immeasurably.”

Founder of the field of marine mammal neuro-immunology

Tracy Romano earned her Ph.D. in neurobiology and anatomy from the University of Rochester in 1993. She was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship with the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program in collaboration with Scripps Research Institute in San Diego. Dr. Romano joined Mystic Aquarium in 2004. As leader of Mystic’s research team, Dr. Romano is a founder of the field of marine mammal neuroimmunology.

The citation stated, “We are proud that Dr. Romano’s Saint Michael’s experience has led to such great heights. Her achievements are truly exceptional. Saint Michael's College is extraordinarily pleased to claim Dr. Tracy Romano as a graduate. We are humbled by her accomplishments and we applaud her!”

Tracy Romano reflects on her Saint Michael’s experience

In response, Dr. Romano reflected on her Saint Michael’s experience. “I am constantly reminded of my experience at St. Michael’s College,” she said, “as I live my life even now 25 years later.”

She said Saint Michael’s affected her in three ways; it gave health in mind, body and spirit.

“I learned to calculate the molarity of a solution in chemistry,” and I learned how to “truly appreciate the golden doors on the baptistery” when I visited Florence, Italy. At Saint Michael’s, she said, “The teachers, challenged us to think for ourselves, yet were always there to guide, help, instruct--and inspire” She cited her continuing relationship with Emeritus Professor of Biology, Dr. Dan Bean, who inspired her then, and inspires her now, as a teacher, with his contagious passion for the subject matter.

Cross-country runner for St. Mike’s and for Zaf

She said she learned much during her four years as a cross-country runner. “When I am faced with challenges in my life to this day, I still hear the words of my coach Zaf Bludevich [SMC Associate Director of Athletics] saying: “c’mon Romano, get up this hill, work the hill Romano, you can do it”.

During one particularly grueling practice, Dr. Romano said, “Despite how exhausted I was, I knew if Zaf believed I could do it, then I better give it a shot…and I ended up running an even faster time for that last quarter than what he had asked for,” she added. Running cross-country at Saint Michael’s inspired her to be a x-c country coach today, she said. I try to inspire as Zaf inspired me and teach the kids self-confidence, self-esteem and to believe in themselves. “Believe it or not I even throw in one of Zaf’s old jokes now and then.”

Speaking of health in spirit, Dr. Romano said, “When I was at St. Michael’s I remember hearing about some prime real estate that the Edmundites owned in a place called Mystic, Connecticut.” Before long she was a visitor to the St. Edmund’s retreat at Mystic, and “what a special gift this has been,” she said. “To be able to attend mass there, spiritual retreats, special events; to know and learn from Father Tom [Hoar, SSE], to be reunited with Saint Michael’s alumni and to see there on occasion, Father Mike, Father Berube and others from the Society of St. Edmund (founders of Saint Michael's College) and from Saint Michael’s community….”

Dr. Romano closed with heartfelt thanks for her Saint Michael's College education.

Published on October 12, 2012. Courtesy of Saint Michael's College.

Andy Wood joins Sea Research Foundation as vice president of marketing

Sea Research Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Andy Wood as vice president of marketing.

Sea Research Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Andy Wood as vice president of marketing. Based in Mystic, Conn., Sea Research Foundation is a nonprofit organization that operates Mystic Aquarium, the Ocean Exploration Center and, in partnership with National Geographic Society, The JASON Project and its Immersion Learning program.

Prior to joining Sea Research Foundation, Wood served as partner and managing director for Caspari McCormick, a Delaware-based creative agency. He brings more than 15 years of marketing and advertising experience that spans a variety of industries. In his new role, Wood will oversee the strategic development of Sea Research Foundation’s marketing and advertising initiatives, with a primary focus on Mystic Aquarium’s attendance-driving campaigns.

“Andy brings talent, energy and a unique perspective to our organization,” said Sea Research Foundation Executive Vice President of Marketing and Public Affairs Peter Glankoff. “His extensive experience goes well beyond traditional marketing and advertising. He understands our brand and will be an invaluable asset in advancing our mission of inspiring people to care for and protect our ocean planet. We are thrilled to have him join our team.”

Wood managed Sea Research Foundation’s account in his role with Caspari McCormick and his leadership contributed significantly to Mystic Aquarium’s recent attendance growth. Wood has also worked with the Greater Mystic Visitors Bureau, Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, DuPont, and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, among others.

Wood is a native of Southern New Jersey and has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Rutgers University.

Sea Research Foundation Unveils Mystic Aquarium's Centenary Titanic Exhibit

Beckoning visitors to “journey to new depths of discovery,” Sea Research Foundation, operator of Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Conn., today previewed its major new exhibit -- Titanic – 12,450 Feet Below

Beckoning visitors to “journey to new depths of discovery,” Sea Research Foundation, operator of Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Conn., today previewed its major new exhibit -- Titanic – 12,450 Feet Below -- located at Mystic Aquarium’s newly renamed Ocean Exploration Center exhibit hall.

The new exhibit, opening to the public on April 12, marks the 100th anniversary of the maiden voyage and loss of the celebrated ocean liner. It is the product of a very special collaboration between famed oceanographic explorer Dr. Robert Ballard, president of Sea Research Foundation’s Institute for Exploration, who led the 1985 expedition that first located and mapped the sunken Titanic, and Tim Delaney, the former top Walt Disney Imagineering designer. Now head of Tim J. Delaney Design, he has collaborated with Dr. Ballard on several projects over the past 30 years. The Ocean Exploration Center renovation and its inaugural Titanic – 12,450 Feet Below exhibit are sponsored by United Technologies Corporation.

Sea Research Foundation President & CEO Dr. Stephen M. Coan has called the renamed Ocean Exploration Center and centenary Titanic exhibit “A unique and important collaboration that will give people a chance to experience Titanic through the eyes of the person who found her, someone recognized as one of the world’s greatest explorers, and through the imagination of a world-renowned exhibit designer. We believe that the Ballard and Delaney team, with the support of one of America’s greatest companies, under the aegis of an organization dedicated to protecting our oceans through research, education and exploration, is an unbeatable formula for public enrichment and inspiration.”

Tim Delaney described the exhibit that he and his team are building as “a very different approach to the Titanic experience, one that taps directly into the excitement of exploration and discovery. Our Titanic exhibit is awe-inspiring and emotional. It is designed to capture the moment of discovery that only access to the actual discoverer’s insight and vision can deliver. Working hand-in-glove with Bob Ballard and Sea Research has enabled us to create something that both adults and children will find thrilling, immersive, interactive, experiential and memorable. Titanic – 12,450 Feet Below takes you there.”

Bringing the legendary vessel’s timeless history to life, Titanic – 12,450 Feet Below captivates minds with a glowing iceberg that is cold to the touch, a bi-level adventure area inspired by Titanic’s engine room, hands-on experiences that unfold Titanic’s lingering mysteries, and modern deep-sea technology that led to Titanic’s eventual discovery.

When Dr. Ballard became the first person in 73 years to lay eyes on the deep-sea wreck of the Titanic, his identification with the discovery was sealed forever. While mountains of historical, technical and testimonial documentation abound, Dr. Ballard has always been the indisputable constant in Titanic’s rediscovery—and the redoubling of interest in its story as the centenary date approaches. With Titanic – 12,450 Feet Below, Dr. Ballard and Delaney offer the public a fresh view into the mystery, science and fascination of Titanic.

“The Titanic sinking is, of course, one of the greatest dramas of the last century,” said Dr. Ballard. “Everything about her conception, construction, launch, passage, passengers, loss and legend is fascinating and mind-boggling. Our goal with this new exhibit has been to draw visitors into the wonder of discovery by exposing them to natural phenomena such as icebergs, hydrodynamics, navigation, deep-sea exploration, and to present them with challenges, options and insights for interpreting the story on their own. We follow the mantra of learning by doing, and this new exhibit is designed to do just that. I believe that the excitement of discovery is transferrable and can inspire future generations of explorers, discoverers and innovators. That’s what Titanic – 12,450 Feet Below is all about.”

Titanic – 12,450 Feet Below, opening to the public on April 12, is located at Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Conn. Exhibit admission is included with the facility’s general admission prices and membership.

About Sea Research Foundation
Based in Mystic, Conn., Sea Research Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that operates Mystic Aquarium, Institute for Exploration and, in partnership with National Geographic Society, The JASON Project and its Immersion Learning program. The mission of Sea Research is to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through education, research and exploration. Sea Research receives major support from United Technologies Corp., The Coca-Cola Company and Foxwoods Resort Casino. For more information, visit


Published January 11, 2012

Sea Research Foundation Earns Top Charity Navigator Rating

Sea Research Foundation has been named one of America's exceptional charities by Charity Navigator, a nonprofit organization that analyzes the financial and managerial health of charities nationwide.

Sea Research Foundation, parent of Mystic Aquarium, The JASON Project and renowned oceanographer Dr. Robert Ballard's Institute for Exploration, has been named one of America's exceptional charities by Charity Navigator, a nonprofit organization that analyzes the financial and managerial health of charities nationwide.

The four-star rating means that Sea Research "exceeds industry standards and outperforms most charities in its cause," according to Charity Navigator, whose mission is to help people give to charity with confidence that their donation will be used effectively.

"We are extremely gratified at this wonderful recognition from Charity Navigator," said Sea Research President & CEO Dr. Stephen M. Coan. "We have worked diligently to put Sea Research Foundation in a position to sustain and grow its important missions of education, exploration, research and stewardship of the seas. Donors can be certain that their gift to Sea Research is used efficiently and responsibly in our operations, and with the highest standard of accountability."

See Charity Navigator's report on Sea Research Foundation here.

About Sea Research Foundation
Based in Mystic, Connecticut, Sea Research Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that operates Mystic Aquarium, Institute for Exploration and, in partnership with National Geographic Society, The JASON Project and its Immersion Learning program. The mission of Sea Research is to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through education, research and exploration.


Published October 27, 2011

Sea Research Foundation Brings Educational Programming to Asia

Partnership with Singapore's Resorts World Sentosa brings Sea Research's expertise to students across Southeast Asia

Sea Research Foundation, which oversees The JASON Project science programs in collaboration with the National Geographic Society, has entered into an agreement with Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), Singapore’s first integrated resort, to jointly develop a marine environmental curriculum for students in Southeast Asia.  Contents of the curriculum will be drawn from Sea Research Foundation’s Mystic Aquarium, distinguished for its marine animal research and husbandry expertise.

As part of the three-year agreement, Sea Research Foundation, a global leader in marine research, deep-sea exploration and hands-on education, and the National Geographic Society will join forces with RWS’ new Marine Life Park (MLP) in Singapore to bring the award-winning JASON Project science programs to students in the region.  The MLP will become the exclusive manager for The JASON Project in Southeast Asia, and Mystic Aquarium will assist in developing comprehensive pre-school to tertiary school programs at the new MLP.

The JASON Project is an internationally acclaimed multi-media science program that works collaboratively with schools and teachers to create hands-on and multi-media learning experiences in classrooms.  The JASON Project was developed by the National Geographic Society and is now managed by Sea Research Foundation in collaboration with the National Geographic Society.

“Set to be a world-class park with a strong focus on education, research and stewardship, we are honored to be working with RWS and its MLP,” Dr. Stephen Coan, president and CEO of Sea Research Foundation said.  “We share a deep commitment to engaging young people and learners of all ages in the importance of marine conservation and the fundamentals of science as a means for understanding the ocean environment.”

Mr. Tan Hee Teck, president and CEO of RWS, said: “We are very committed to research and education, and this focus is paramount as we move toward completing and opening our new Aquarium and the MLP.  Our collaboration with Mystic Aquarium and The JASON Project – both globally renowned entities of the Sea Research Foundation - as well as the well-respected National Geographic Society, will put us in the forefront of science, conservation and education programs dedicated to our oceans and marine life.  These programs will undoubtedly yield important resources for the students of Singapore and other Southeast Asian nations.”

Programs will include travelling teacher experiences that will take place in schools, on-property education programs, and interpretative and hands-on learning experiences.

The MLP and Sea Research Foundation will also collaborate on various biological research programs.  Sea Research Foundation specializes in studying the immune systems of marine mammals and the correlation between marine mammal immune response to human health issues.  The MLP team of veterinarians, marine mammal specialists and curators will provide additional expertise and support to expand such research.

About Sea Research Foundation
Sea Research Foundation is based in Mystic, Connecticut, USA and is the parent organization of Mystic Aquarium, Institute for Exploration and The JASON Project.  A non-governmental, mission oriented organization, it is focused on marine research, conservation, exploration and education.  Sea Research Foundation and National Geographic Society, also a non-governmental mission oriented organization, work jointly in developing and implementing The JASON Project science program throughout the world.

About Mystic Aquarium
Mystic Aquarium is a division of Sea Research Foundation, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, and is counted among the nation’s leading aquariums with more than 300 species and an extensive collection of marine mammals, including New England’s only beluga whales.  Mystic Aquarium has been a pioneer in offering guests a variety of up close encounters with a wide range of marine animals.  The mission of Sea Research Foundation is to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through education, research and exploration.  Learn more at

About The JASON Project
A non-profit subsidiary of the National Geographic Society, The JASON Project works with NOAA, NASA, the Smithsonian Institution and other leading organizations to develop inquiry-based science curricula and professional development.  The JASON Project was founded in 1989 by Dr. Robert Ballard, the oceanographer and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence best known for his discovery of RMS Titanic and who today serves as The JASON Project’s chairman and chief scientist.  Learn more at

About Resorts World Sentosa
Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), Singapore’s first integrated resort, is located on the resort island of Sentosa.  Spanning 49 hectares, the resort has welcomed over 15 million visitors since it opened in January 2010.  RWS is home to the region’s first-and-only Universal Studios theme park, a casino, luxurious accommodation in four unique hotels, the Resorts World Convention Centre, celebrity chef restaurants as well as specialty retail outlets.  The resort also offers entertainment ranging from its resident theatrical circus spectacular, Voyage de la Vie, to public attractions such as the Crane Dance and the Lake of Dreams.  RWS is currently developing the second phase of the Resort.  Upon completion, RWS will open the Maritime Experiential Museum and Aquarium, the Marine Life Park (MLP), a destination spa and two additional hotels.  Notably, when it opens in 2012, the MLP will be the world’s largest oceanarium housing some 100,000 fishes in over 55 million litres of water as well as offering a structured education and research programme dedicated to the propagation, care and conservation of marine life animals.  RWS is wholly owned by Genting Singapore, a company of the Genting Group. Learn more at


Sea Research Foundation Launches New Website to Showcase Global Reach

New website highlights leadership role in education, research and exploration.

Sea Research Foundation, Inc. launched a new website,, to showcase the organization’s global reach and provide a gateway to help users understand its leadership role in education, research and exploration. Based in Mystic, Connecticut, Sea Research is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that operates Mystic Aquarium, Institute for Exploration and Immersion Learning. In partnership with National Geographic Society, Sea Research also manages The JASON Project, an internationally acclaimed science program for students in classrooms, after-school and mentoring programs, and summer camps.

“Over the past three decades, Sea Research Foundation has evolved into a global organization,” explains Sea Research President & CEO Dr. Stephen M. Coan. “Our new website further establishes the Sea Research brand and demonstrates how the unique and complementary offerings of Mystic Aquarium, Institute for Exploration, Immersion Learning and The JASON Project contribute to our greater mission.”

Until now, the Sea Research brand lived on Mystic Aquarium’s website. The new Sea Research website illustrates how the organization inspires people to care for and protect our ocean planet through education, research and exploration. From Institute for Exploration’s deep-sea expeditions in the Mediterranean and Black Seas, to Mystic Aquarium’s animal rescue efforts in South Africa and the United States, the work of Sea Research has a universal impact. Immersion and JASON touch the lives of millions of students worldwide through engaging and effective science curricula, while Mystic Aquarium excites and engages over 700,000 visitors each year.

Mystic Aquarium
Mystic Aquarium, formally Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration, is counted among the nation’s leading aquariums with more than 300 species and an extensive collection of marine mammals, including New England’s only beluga whales. As a pioneer in offering guests a variety of up close animal encounters, Mystic Aquarium showcases the living collections, science and conservation work of Sea Research Foundation through exhibits, demonstrations and educational programming. Learn more at

Institute for Exploration
Dedicated to deep-sea research featuring the work of Dr. Robert Ballard, who discovered the sunken Titanic on the North Atlantic seabed in 1985, Institute for Exploration uses remotely operated vehicles to uncover ancient shipwrecks, little-known geological and biological phenomena and the roots of human civilization hidden deep beneath the ocean’s surface. Learn more at

Immersion Learning
Immersion Learning creates out-of-school science programs designed for use in after-school settings, mentoring and summer camps. Through live webcasts from scientific expeditions, hands-on activities and an engaging website, Immersion brings ocean adventures and discoveries to youth nationwide. Learn more at

The JASON Project
Based in Ashburn, Virginia, The JASON Project is an independent 501(c)3 operated by Sea Research Foundation in partnership with National Geographic Society and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). JASON focuses on formal classroom education including classroom-based curriculum that place students in challenging, real-world situations. Learn more at

A Tribute - William Edward Kelley, Jr.

Mystic Aquarium’s founding president and renowned inventor passes away at age 93.

Mystic Aquarium and the Sea Research Foundation community mourn the loss of Mystic Aquarium’s founding president, Bill Kelley, who died on February 8 at the Verde Valley Medical Center near his home in Cottonwood, Ariz. He was 93.

Bill was a remarkably accomplished person who was fascinated by the earth, the stars and the oceans, making significant contributions in diverse fields and to numerous organizations as founder and director, and to the scientific community as an innovator, inventor and adventurer.

William “Bill” Kelley was born July 13, 1917 in Elyria, Ohio and graduated from Elyria High School in 1936. He served as an interpreter in Italian and French during World War II with the Army’s 57th Signal Battalion in North Africa, Italy, France, Germany and Austria, and in combat and campaigns in Naples, Foggia, Rome, Arno, Southern France, Rhineland and Central Europe. His decorations and citations include European, African and Middle Eastern service medals with five Bronze Stars and one Bronze Arrowhead.

As a child, Bill Kelley built crystal radio sets. In 1947 he received his Amateur Radio Operator License: W 8 A E (William 8 Adam and Eve). He pursued his hobby of astronomy from age 10, building his own telescope from salvaged parts in Elyria. He authored several articles on astronomy which appeared in Sky & Telescope and other publications. He was a member of the Salt Lake Astronomical Society in Utah for many years enjoying the meetings as well as public and private star parties. He gave presentations on telescope making at the Riverside Telescope Makers Convention in California.

Kelley was a member of the Astronomers of Verde Valley in Arizona where he participated in meetings and star parties for the public. He taught numerous classes on telescope making over the years. He continued to build telescopes until three years ago. His most recent creation was the OmniScope which could be used as a telescope, microscope and for viewing in between those ranges. Mystic Aquarium has been planning an exhibit featuring the OmniScope that will now open in the spring as a tribute to Mr. Kelley.

A marine biologist who wrote several technical papers, Bill Kelley served as first director of the Cleveland Aquarium from 1954 to 1964. During that time he was also Associate Director of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History where he secured funding for the Ralph Mueller Planetarium. He became a Fellow of the Gemological Association of Great Britain in order to work with the extensive gem collection at the museum.

He was the developer of artificial sea water which became known as “Instant Ocean.” a product still used in public aquariums, university laboratories and home aquariums. In 1964 he founded and was President of Aquarium Systems which sold “Instant Ocean.” He was founding President of Niagara Falls Aquarium in 1965. While there he led an expedition up the Amazon River to collect dolphins for the aquarium.

In 1973 he became founding President of Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut and was Trustee Emeritus until his passing. During that time he served on the Board and as Chairman of the Eastern Connecticut State University Foundation.

He was a member and past officer of the Mingus Gem and Mineral Society in Arizona. As a member he identified gemstones at no charge as part of the March Mingus Gem and Mineral Show each year from 1995 to 2010. He was Founder and President of Opals, Inc. which had opal mining interests in Virgin Valley, Nevada, from 1968 to 1972. He devised a system to keep the opals from crazing and cracking. This mine produced the famed Royal Peacock opal.

He was described by many as a true renaissance man. Ever the scientist, he was fascinated by the whole universe. His interest in gems and minerals took in the earth. His interest in marine life took in the oceans and his interest in astronomy took in the sky. Bill clung to life and lived it fully for his 93 years. He always had a zest for life and never let his mind stop coming up with new ideas. He was a man of many talents who not only had an interest in marine biology, gemstones and astronomy, but also music (he began playing the organ at age 91), tennis, skiing, food (there is a notebook with his recipes), wine (he was well known for his identification of wine in blind tastings and he hosted many wine dinners), coffee, chocolate and making friends. He had a winning smile and a great curiosity. He was always a teacher.

He is survived by his wife of 22 years, Lois, brother Carl Kelley of Ohio, sister Jean Klembeck of California and several nieces and nephews including Tom Kelley, James (Adrienne), Paul Klembeck, Judith (Michael) Simon, Richard (Dianne) Brunenschenkel and Cary (Steve) Droze. He was predeceased by his first wife Ruth (Hollis), sister Edith and brother James (Dorothy).

A Memorial Service will be held at the Mountain View United Methodist Church, 901 South 12th Street, Cottonwood, AZ 86326 at 2:00 pm on February 26, 2011, followed by a Celebration of Life with refreshments at the church’s reception hall.

Arrangements for burial with Honors to be held at the Prescott National Cemetery, 500 Highway 89 North, Prescott, AZ 86313 on Monday February 28th at 2:00 pm were made by Bueler’s Funeral Home, Cottonwood, AZ.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations payable to the Sea Research Foundation, 55 Coogan Blvd, Mystic, CT 06355

Mystic Aquarium Announces Association of Zoos and Aquariums Accreditation

AZA accreditation is the highest possible recognition that a living animal institution can achieve.

Sea Research Foundation’s Mystic Aquarium has been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) after an extensive evaluation of the organization, as announced by President and CEO of Sea Research Foundation and Mystic Aquarium Dr. Stephen M. Coan. According to Coan, the accreditation comes after the organization successfully restructured its long-term debt with Citibank and substantially improved its financial operations.

Coan said that AZA accreditation is the highest possible recognition that a living animal institution can achieve. He noted that not all institutions that apply for accreditation receive it. Mystic Aquarium is the only accredited aquarium in Connecticut, a status not shared by The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, which focuses only on the Long Island Sound. Accreditation, while voluntary, commits zoos and aquariums throughout the nation to the highest standards of animal care, safety, guest services, conservation, education and research.

“We believe that accreditation is necessary and appropriate,” said Coan. “It is a peer reviewed process. The AZA accreditation committee includes animal care, veterinary, financial and executive officers from other institutions who scrutinized the level of animal care, breeding practices, safety standards, and the cleanliness and upkeep of our facility. Accreditation is a tribute to our Board of Trustees, our staff and the many members and supporters of Mystic Aquarium, which is the flagship of Sea Research Foundation.”

The accreditation committee, which inspected Mystic Aquarium’s facilities during a visit in December, cited significant improvements to exhibits, quality of programming, visitor amenities and signage for visitors in their accreditation report. AZA accreditation is reviewed every five years, and, at Coan’s request, the association gave Mystic Aquarium a one year extension on the existing accreditation in 2009 so that Sea Research Foundation could complete negotiations on the financial restructuring with Citibank.

Mystic Aquarium is one of the nation’s most revered aquariums. With a collection of nearly 5,000 animals and an extensive marine mammal collection, it is the largest aquarium in New England. Mystic Aquarium is unique in its focus on biological research, its connection with deep-sea exploration through the Institute for Exploration, and its international science education through the world renowned Immersion Learning and The JASON Project programs.

The aquarium enjoys a unique and exclusive relationship with National Geographic Society, featuring lectures by National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence and a major National Geographic exhibit, “Crittercam: The World Through Animal Eyes.” The Crittercam exhibit has breathtaking video footage and images of animals in the wild, captured by safely attaching cameras to their bodies and providing unfettered access to their behaviors. The exhibit runs through November 2011.

Mystic Aquarium will make numerous improvements to the visitor experience over the next several years, including renovation and expansion of its deep-sea exhibits. The organization has launched a major fundraising campaign, and secured more than half of its goal in the first year. Citibank, as part of their commitment to the organization, has agreed to match gifts to the organization by providing a 25% write-down on remaining principal for every dollar raised by Sea Research Foundation within the term of the debt reduction agreement.

"Faces of Our Planet" Series Returns

Through film, live performance and multimedia presentations, audiences are transported to the ends of the Earth and into the ocean’s depths.

On February 11, 2011, Sea Research Foundation, National Geographic Live and the Garde Arts Center will launch the second season of "Faces of Our Planet," a five-part series that reveals the mysteries, magnificence and discoveries of the world’s human, animal and geographic faces. Through film, live performance and multimedia presentations, audiences at the Garde will be transported around the world, to the ends of the Earth and into the ocean’s depths.

Built upon Sea Research’s long-standing relationship with National Geographic, the “Faces of Our Planet” series debuted at the Garde Arts Center in February 2010.

“We are proud to be a part of this remarkable collaboration among local and international organizations,” said Sea Research Foundation President and CEO Dr. Stephen M. Coan. “The second season of ‘Faces of Our Planet’ continues the tradition of presenting leading scientists, explorers and entertainment on the frontier of innovation. In providing local audiences with inspiring views of the world, we hope these events will foster a deeper appreciation of our planet."

The 2011 “Faces of Our Planet” series consists of the following events, all at the Garde Arts Center:

Dangerous Encounters featuring Brady Barr
Friday, February 11, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.

Reptile expert Brady Barr has made it his life’s work to study and protect some of the world’s most dangerous land animals—alligators and crocodiles. He is the first person to capture and study all 23 species of wild crocodilians. Barr has hosted or contributed to over 70 wildlife documentaries, including the ongoing series “Dangerous Encounters,” on the National Geographic Channel. True to the series title, in 2007 Barr survived an attack by a 12-foot reticulated python while working in a dark cave in Indonesia.

Tickets: adults $18, seniors (65+) $15, student/child $10; tickets for Mystic Aquarium members are $10.

Sea Party featuring the Movie “OCEANS”
Saturday, February 19, 2011    Family Activities at 2:30 p.m.; Movie at 4 p.m.

A family-friendly ocean celebration with live sea stars, crabs and lobsters from Mystic Aquarium and sea-themed crafts precede the Disneynature film “OCEANS” on the Garde’s giant movie screen. Incredible state-of-the-art-underwater filmmaking goes to the depths in an unprecedented look at the lives of elusive deepwater creatures through their own eyes. Audience members migrate with whales, swim alongside a great white shark and race with dolphins at play.

Tickets: adults $12, child under 12 $8; tickets for Mystic Aquarium members are $10 for adults and $6 for children.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Sunday, March 6, 2011 at 3 p.m.

For over forty years, the voices of Ladysmith Black Mambazo have married the intricate rhythms and harmonies of their native South African musical traditions to the sounds and sentiments of Christian gospel music. The result is a musical and spiritual alchemy that has touched a worldwide audience representing every corner of the religious, cultural and ethnic landscape. Their musical efforts over the past four decades have garnered praise and accolades within the recording industry, but also solidified their identity as a cultural force to be reckoned with. Performance supported in part by People’s United Bank.

Tickets: Garde Circle $46, loge $46, orchestra $36, balcony $30; student/child: $42, $42, $33, $27; special discounts are available for Mystic Aquarium members.

Roots of the Family Tree featuring Spencer Wells
Friday, March 11, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.

Join Spencer Wells on an epic journey that spans the globe, revealing an incredible tapestry of human diversity along the way. As director of National Geographic’s Genographic Project, and a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, Spencer Wells has an extraordinary goal – using DNA from participants around the world to document and create the first-ever map of human migration, showing how humans came to populate the planet after leaving the cradle of Africa some 60,000 years ago, a journey about which little has been known until now.

Tickets: adults $18, seniors (65+) $15, student/child $10; tickets for Mystic Aquarium members are $10.

Diving into Danger: Blue Holes featuring Kenny Broad
Saturday, March 26, 2011 at 4 p.m.

Largely unexplored, and considered among the most hazardous places to dive, the flooded caves, or “blue holes” of the Bahamas, are a potential treasure trove of scientific knowledge. Recently, National Geographic Emerging Explorer Kenny Broad, a diver and advocate for freshwater conservation, led a scientific expedition to these dangerous but fascinating blues holes, making discoveries with implications for fields as diverse as microbiology, archaeology, and even astrophysics.

Tickets: adults $18, seniors (65+) $15, student/child $10; tickets for Mystic Aquarium members are $10.

“Faces of Our Planet” tickets are available at the Garde Arts Center Box Office at 325 State St., New London, Conn., in person or by phone at (860) 444-7373, ext. 1. Single tickets are available at the Garde Arts Center Box Office and online at Special pricing is available for students, groups, Mystic Aquarium members, and purchases of three or more events.

About Sea Research Foundation, Inc.
Mystic Aquarium, Institute for Exploration and Immersion Learning are divisions of Sea Research Foundation, Inc., a private, non-profit 501(c)3organization. The mission of Sea Research is to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through education, research and exploration.

About Garde Arts Center
Founded in 1985, the Garde Arts Center was created to save and transform the historic Garde theatre into a non-profit regional center for the performing arts and education in the heart of downtown New London, serving greater Southeastern Connecticut, a region rich in geographic, economic, ethnic and cultural diversity. The Garde owns and operates the recently restored 1,450-seat Garde Theatre, a historic movie/vaudeville house built in 1926 and the intimate 130-seat Oasis Room. 

About National Geographic Live
National Geographic Live
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United Technologies to Donate $1 Million to Mystic Aquarium for Ocean Exploration Center

New exhibit space, features and exhibits highlight the history of human undersea exploration.

United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) and Sea Research Foundation, Inc., which operates the acclaimed Mystic Aquarium, announced that UTC will donate $1 million toward a major expansion and transformation of the aquarium’s Challenge of the Deep exhibit hall.

UTC’s donation will help pay for new exhibit space, features and exhibits that highlight the history of human undersea exploration, with emphasis on the exploits of renowned oceanographer Dr. Robert Ballard, whose Institute for Exploration is based at the Mystic Aquarium campus. Today’s joint announcement was made at the United Technologies Research Center, underscoring UTC’s commitment to innovation and exploration.

When completed in 2012, the exhibition hall will be renamed the “United Technologies Ocean Exploration Center” and will be the only exhibit in the world dedicated to deep sea oceanographic archaeology, geology and exploration. Upon entering, visitors will be immersed in displays that depict everything from mythical sea monsters to Dr. Ballard’s groundbreaking undersea discoveries of the RMS Titanic and other vessels, ancient and modern, as well as recent expeditions to the Black Sea, and the Mediterranean and Aegean seas.

“United Technologies has a proud history of supporting science and technology education and the communities in which we live and work,” said Dr. J. Michael McQuade, UTC Senior Vice President for Science & Technology. “This exploration center is closely aligned with UTC’s own history of pioneering innovation and discovery.  We believe our donation will launch a major new attraction at the Mystic Aquarium, become the catalyst for even more contributions from others, and inspire generations of future scientists and engineers.”

Dr. Stephen M. Coan, Sea Research Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer, said,  “United Technologies Corporation has a long and distinguished history of support for the work of Sea Research Foundation, and this donation underscores their commitment to the furthering of science, technology and engineering education. This significant donation makes it possible for us to dramatically reach more people of all ages with the inspiration of deep sea exploration.”

When completed, the new United Technologies Ocean Exploration Center will feature 20,000 square feet of exhibit space, seven distinct exhibit galleries, a permanent Titanic exhibit, a “4-D” motion theater with a unique deep dive show, and a new 10,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor plaza including covered dining area. The project also will include a grand new entrance way that will attract visitors to the up-to-date, interactive exhibits inside.

The United Technologies Ocean Exploration Center also will encompass the Nautilus Live Theater, in which visitors can watch live satellite transmissions of ongoing undersea research being conducted around the world by Dr. Ballard and his team aboard the Exploration Vessel Nautilus.

“Visitors to the United Technologies Ocean Exploration Center will learn the history of undersea exploration and the state-of-the-art techniques we employ today to uncover the secrets of the vast oceans that share our planet,” Dr. Ballard said.

Earlier this year, Dr. Ballard and his team completed a three-month mission aboard the Exploration Vehicle Nautilus in the Black Sea and Aegean Sea to map the sea floor, study underwater volcanoes, investigate unusual life forms, explore shipwrecks, and more.

The contribution furthers UTC’s long-standing commitment to supporting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) educational efforts. More than 700,000 guests visit Mystic Aquarium annually, making it the largest non-casino attraction in Southern New England. Sea Research Foundation is the region’s largest provider of educational outreach programs for K-12 students, including its innovative Immersion Learning program.

About Sea Research Foundation, Inc.
Sea Research Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)3 organization, operates Mystic Aquarium, one of the world’s largest aquariums; Institute for Exploration, focused on deep sea ocean environments and led by Dr. Robert Ballard; Immersion Learning, an after-school distance learning and digital media company; and The JASON Project, dedicated to providing experience-based  science curricula and professional development for grades 5-8. The mission of Sea Research is to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through education, research and exploration.

About United Technologies Corp.
United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Connecticut, USA, is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the global aerospace and building industries. UTC’s products include Pratt & Whitney aircraft engines, Sikorsky helicopters, Carrier heating, air conditioning and refrigeration systems, Hamilton Sundstrand aerospace systems and industrial products, Otis elevators and escalators, UTC Fire & Security systems and UTC Power fuel cells. More information can be found at