Secrets of the Sea Receives BP Oil Spill Grant
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Posted by: Emily Stehle, APR
MEDIA CONTACT: Jeannie Clary (727) 278-8216
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SECRETS OF THE SEA MARINE EXPLORATION CENTER AND AQUARIUM RECEIVES GRANT TO UNCOVER MYSTERIES FROM BP OIL
Award is Part of $11-Million Grant Received by USF College of Marine Science through BP’s Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative
MADEIRA BEACH, Fla. – (June 12, 2012) – Secrets of the Sea Marine Exploration Center and Aquarium (Secrets of the Sea) announced today that it has received an education grant through BP’s Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GRI). The GRI’s aim is to continue assessing the impact of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the Gulf of Mexico’s ocean and coastal ecosystems and to create better ways of predicting damage from future spills.
The $40,000 grant comes is part of the $11-million awarded through the GRI to the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science. It will help Secrets of the Sea in its efforts to highlight questions that have arisen as a result of the BP spill. These questions will be woven into several mystery station exhibits throughout the facility, which will be a new major visitor attraction combining real-time marine research and hands-on experiences with living marine exhibits.
"Secrets of the Sea is committed to showcasing lingering questions from the BP oil spill, not only so that we know how the Gulf’s already been affected, but also in the hope of protecting it in the future,” said E. Howard Rutherford, president and CEO of Secrets of the Sea. "One of the benefits of this facility is that it will make the research accessible for visitors and help us all understand how the ocean impacts us on a daily basis, and likewise, our effect on the ocean.”
Scheduled to open in John’s Pass Village in 2013, Secrets of the Sea is backed by the St. Petersburg Ocean Team, one of the largest concentrations of marine scientists and engineers in the United States. More than 250,000 visitors are expected to visit Secrets of the Sea in its first year, generating more than $8 million in direct economic impact to south Pinellas County beach communities.
USF’s College of Marine Science was one of just eight centers, selected from 77 proposals nationwide, to receive a GRI grant in August 2011. The college leads an international consortium of universities in four states, Canada, the Netherlands and Germany, in examining the impact of the spill and the use of chemical dispersants. BP has pledged $500 million over 10 years to support scientific research in the Gulf and established the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative as an independent body to consider research proposals. The GRI Research Board has 20 members, 10 appointed by BP and two recommended by the Governor of each of the five Gulf Coast States.
About Secrets of the Sea Marine Exploration Center and Aquarium
Scheduled to open in Spring 2013, Secrets of the Sea Marine Exploration Center and Aquarium will be a new cutting-edge, 13,000 sq. ft. major visitor attraction combining real-time marine research and hands-on experiences with living marine exhibits. Secrets of the Sea is backed by the St. Petersburg Ocean Team, one of the largest concentrations of marine scientists and engineers in the United States. Located in one of the Tampa Bay area’s most visited destinations, John’s Pass, annual attendance for Secrets of the Sea is expected to exceed 250,000 visitors. To learn more, visit www.TheSecretsOfTheSea.org.