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Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
Celebrate Wonders of the Oceans

Saturday, June 11 and Sunday, June 12, 2016

(New Orleans, La.) - Audubon Zoo and Audubon Aquarium of the Americas will be spreading the word about how everyone can play a part in maintaining the health and welfare of the world's oceans during a pair of events this weekend.

On Saturday, June 11, and Sunday June 12, Audubon Zoo will celebrate World Oceans Day with a program of family-friendly activities from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Zoo's sea lion pool. On Saturday, June 11, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas will host Oceanfest by offering special educational programs all day throughout the building.

Zoo and Aquarium staffers will offer simple suggestions on how to practice ocean conservation by making simple changes in your daily life, from bringing reusable bags to the supermarket, to purchasing reusable drinking straws to picking up trash - especially plastic bags - in your neighborhood.

"It's time to change the mindset that throwing items away for convenience is okay,'' said Courtney Eparvier, curator of primates and sea lions at Audubon Zoo. "Let's start taking steps to reduce or eliminate plastic from everyday life. Plastic doesn't go away.

"The amount of plastic humans use is mind boggling when you start to look at it, It's up to each of us to begin changing our ways to help our planet. The shocking pictures of marine animals with full stomachs of plastic breaks my heart. Can you imagine the impact we could make if everyone did something?''

The ocean is often described as the heart of the planet. Like the heart, which pumps blood to every part of the body, oceans connect people across the Earth, regulate climate, feed millions, produce oxygen and are home to an incredible array of wildlife.

World Oceans Day at Audubon Zoo will feature presentations on the importance of ocean conservation by representatives of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and Audubon's Gulf United for Lasting Fisheries (G.U.L.F.) sustainable seafood program.

Zoo staffers will stage a raffle with all proceeds going to ocean conservation efforts. In addition, there will be ocean story telling in the sea lion theater, displays of bird feeders made from recycled plastic and a selfie station where guests can pledge to use reusable bags.

At the Aquarium on June 11, featured activities will be a "Better Bag Challenge'' to teach the benefits of reusable bags and a "Selfie for the Sea'' photo booth.

Audubon Zoo is located at 6500 Magazine St. Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is located at 1 Canal St.

Audubon Nature Institute operates a family of museums, parks and research facilities dedicated to celebrating the wonders of nature. Through innovative live animal exhibits, education programs, and scientific discovery, Audubon makes a meaningful contribution to preserving wildlife for the future. Audubon Nature Institute flagships include Audubon Park, Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Entergy Giant Screen Theater, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Special Survival Center, Woldenberg Riverfront Park and Audubon Wilderness Park. Ron Forman is President and CEO of Audubon Nature Institute.