Mission: The Texas State Aquarium (TSA), which opened in 1990, has a mission of connecting people with nature and inspiring conservation of the Gulf of Mexico.
Results: The Aquarium, which houses over 2,500 specimens representing over 330 species, has developed more than 25 permanent and special exhibits to interpret the animals and sensitive ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico. The aquarium entertains and educated more than 500,000 visitors annually, as well as serving over 60,000 students of all ages every year through its on-site, outreach, and distance learning education programs. The Aquarium treats hundreds of injured or sick animals annual through its Second Chance Wildlife Rehabilitation Program, with the goal of returning as many of those animals as possible back to their natural habitats. Moreover, the Aquarium invests a portion of its profits into research projects involving the species and ecosystems it interprets through its Wildlife Care Conservation and Research Fund.
Programs: It all began in 1969 with the dream of what corpus christi could be. Visionary community leaders had a bold, yet simple purpose with the texas state aquarium-- create educationally enriching and entertaining exhibits and programs to connect people with nature, and inspire them to care for, and ultimately help conserve the gulf of mexico. Today, after being open to the public for more than 20 years and having educated and entertained 10 million visitors, the texas state aquarium is the leading attraction in south texas, an economic driver of the coastal bend tourism economy, a regional environmental education center reaching more than 60,000 students each year, and an award-winning center for wildlife care and rehabilitation. Beyond our education programs, the aquarium has worked diligently to organize and carry out beach clean-up events in partnership with the texas general land office. In addition to coordinating these efforts, tsa staff conduct educational programs that highlight the effects garbage have on regional wildlife. Finally, our wildlife rehabilitation program "second chance wildlife rehabilitation program" ministers to the needs of hundreds of injured shore and water birds, marine turtles, and marine mammals each year. In the last two years, we have successfully treated and released 92 animals. And, since 2007, we have successfully treated 68 green sea turtles and a number of atlantic bottle nose dolphins. It is through these and many other programs that the texas state aquarium helps preserve our region's rich environmental heritage and empowers millions of visitors to take action to help preserve and protect our natural environment. And finally, as a private, not-for-profit institution, the aquarium has a tremendous economic impact (over 43 million each year) without the need for city, county or state funding subsidies.
at the heart of the aquarium's mission, is environmental education. In 2014, over 60,000 students experienced the aquarium through our outreach and distance learning programs. One example is our gulf alliance partnership: building cultural competency in experiential environmental education which specifically targets underserved, underrepresented middle school students. Another program that focuses on field investigations is our sunset lake invaders program. Funded by noaa's coastal service center, this study involved high school students researching invasive species, mapping these species, submitting data to on-line data base, developing eradication plans, and presenting their results to local city managers. The aquarium has also conducted professional development sessions for over 4,500 teachers.