$1,970.00 Matching Funds Remaining.
Over the past twenty years, the South Carolina Aquarium has been connecting people to water, wildlife, and wild places through inspiring exhibits, interactive educational programming, and hands-on conservation efforts. Our mission to inspire conservation of the natural world by exhibiting and caring for animals, by excelling in education and research, and by providing an exceptional visitor experience continues to drive innovative and extraordinary growth across all program areas and elevate our role within our community, and beyond, as a trusted resource in education and conservation.
Families, businesses, and cultural institutions, like the South Carolina Aquarium, are now confronting unexpected and substantial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Its impact has been immediate, personal, and destabilizing at a minimum.
In response, the South Carolina Aquarium made the difficult decision to close its doors to the public on March 16, 2020 and has since realized an immediate and drastic impact. The financial health of our institution is critically dependent on admissions and related earned revenues, which account for approximately 80% of our operating budget, with March through August continuing to comprise our busiest season. Without this critical revenue stream, our ability to sustain basic business functions, including the care of the more than 5,000 animals in our population, is threatened.
In an effort to mitigate the severe financial impact we are facing as a result of the pandemic, the Aquarium has established the Emergency Relief Fund. Funds generated will provide critical support to the on-going care of our animal population, including daily feedings, veterinary treatments, and enrichment activities, as well as the continuation of our STEM education programs and conservation initiatives through the remainder of the year.
Despite the tremendous challenges the Aquarium is confronting as a business, our team has adapted rapidly to our novel, virtual reality and is creatively engaging our community through a variety of projects.
Through our Distance Learning Initiative, the Aquarium is offering interactive virtual visits and programming through our award-winning education team to serve the more than 775,000 K-12th grade students now learning from home. Students of all ages are invited to become digital explorers and discover the diverse and complex habitats of South Carolina and the animals that call it home. This invaluable learning opportunity is indicative of the unique reach and nimble programming of the Aquarium, which, even in the midst of uncertainty, delivers inspiration to learners of all ages
While social distancing requirements impede on our ability to gather, the Aquarium’s conservation team continues to inspire and support citizen science efforts across the state to positively impact the spaces we inhabit, and protect our precious natural resources. Through a solo sweep challenge, virtual citizen science workshops, and on-going data analysis, the Aquarium continues to support our coordinated network of conservation stewards and engage new constituents statewide. With more than 830,000 pieces of debris logged into our Litter-free Digital Journal, the quality and breadth of our data collection continues to cultivate new dialogue about critical conservation initiatives directly impacting our communities.