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ORSANCO’s Foundation for Ohio River Education Introduces ‘Aquatic Wonders’ Mobile Aquarium

Celebrate Earth Day this year by getting an up-close and personal experience with the fish of the Ohio River.

The Foundation for Ohio River Education (FORE) by ORSANCO is showcasing its Life Below the Waterline mobile freshwater aquarium at the Hug the Earth Festival in Lost Creek Reserve, Troy, Ohio, part of the Miami Parks, today from noon to 5 p.m.

The mobile aquarium, with a capacity of 2,200 gallons, offers a glimpse into the diverse fish species inhabiting the Ohio River and its tributaries. Through electrofishing, fish are collected for display during events like the Hug the Earth Festival and then safely returned to their natural habitat. The Ohio River boasts a rich ecological diversity, supporting over 160 species of fish and other wildlife, including ancient species like Gar, Paddlefish, Bowfin, and Sturgeon. ORSANCO scientists confirm the thriving ecosystem of the river, emphasizing its importance in sustaining various forms of aquatic life. Ryan Argo, the Technical Programs Manager, notes that each fish has a unique story to share, providing an educational opportunity for the public to understand the local aquatic ecosystem within this diverse watershed.

Amanda Smith, the marketing administrator of Miami County Park District, expresses her hopes that the interactive experiences at the Hug the Earth festival will deepen visitors’ bond with nature, aligning perfectly with the essence of Earth Day and the importance of preserving our natural surroundings.

FORE, under the guidance of Executive Director Annette Shumard, is dedicated to organizing environmental education initiatives across the tristate area, promoting environmental stewardship and raising awareness about the Ohio River and its invaluable resources. These programs aim to educate individuals of all ages about the cultural, ecological, and economic significance of the Ohio River, dispelling any negative perceptions associated with it.

On Earth Day, observed annually on April 22, individuals worldwide unite to advocate for environmental conservation, recognizing our collective responsibility to safeguard the planet and its resources. Since its inception in 1970, Earth Day serves as a reminder of our interdependence with the environment and underscores our role as caretakers of the Earth.

The Ohio River stands as a vital environmental and economic asset, holding immense cultural, ecological, and recreational value. Serving as a lifeline for numerous communities spanning multiple states, the river sustains a diverse array of wildlife, provides drinking water for 5 million people, and supports industries crucial to regional economies. Additionally, it facilitates transportation of over 184 million tons of cargo annually, playing a pivotal role as a major shipping route. However, challenges such as pollution, runoff, and industrial waste pose threats to the river’s health, impacting water quality, public health, biodiversity, and the livelihoods of those dependent on the river. The Ohio River Basin is home to more than 30 million individuals.

FORE encourages individuals to reflect on the significance of the Ohio River this Earth Day and commit to safeguarding this indispensable resource that enhances the quality of life for communities across the basin.

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit FORE’s mobile aquarium at various events within the Ohio River Basin in 2024, with plans already underway for events in 2025.

Experience the wonder of the Ohio River’s aquatic life at the following upcoming events:

  • Miami Parks Earth Day Festival, Troy OH on April 20th
  • Dayton Water Festival, Dayton OH on May 8th
  • WAVE Foundation / Ohio River Sweep, Newport KY on June 8th
  • Winton Woods Kids Expo, Cincinnati OH on July 19th
  • ORSANCO Ohio River Celebration, Cincinnati OH on September 27th
  • ORSANCO Commission Meeting, Charleston WV on October 9th-10th