The National Aquarium was proud to host Australian Ambassador Arthur Sinodinos on Friday, April 22—Earth Day. The ambassador toured the Australia: Wild Extremes exhibit with 30 students from Tyler Elementary School in Washington, D.C. Ambassador Sinodinos then presented the Aquarium with a donation intended to expand access for students to the Aquarium's virtual Australian Adventure field trip experience and other 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 artifacts. Cover was instrumental in the creation of the exhibit and has extensive knowledge dating back to its inception and opening in December 2005. The ambassador's group also had the opportunity to visit the other exhibits throughout the Aquarium.
The Australia: Wild Extremes 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.