New Exhibition Shows How We All Affect the Ocean 

A new exhibition this summer and fall takes visitors on an exciting journey through our watersheds to understand how everyone’s actions on land affect the ocean, even if they don’t live down the Jersey Shore. 

Ocean Bound, opening Saturday, Aug. 20, abounds with hands-on activities, eye-popping aquatic life and fascinating videos that help guests understand what a watershed is, recognize threats to the watershed, identify solutions to problems, and even how to go about implementing change.

“No matter where we live, we all depend on the ocean and its vast resources for medicine, jobs, oxygen, food and so much more,” said Academy President and CEO Scott Cooper. “A healthy ocean is one of our greatest environmental challenges, and we all need to do our part to keep it vital by starting right in our own communities.” 

One activity that helps guests understand this concept is Storm Drain Downers, a kinetic ball machine designed to mimic how water and pollutants flow into neighborhood storm drains and right through to streams and rivers. Along the various paths, users attempt to divert the pollutants (colored balls) while allowing water (blue balls) to travel through to the ocean.

In Ocean Bound, visitors of all ages will enjoy diving in to: 

  • Pilot a life-size “submersible” from mountain stream to the ocean, discovering aquatic life and habitats along the way. 
  • Make it rain in a 3-D watershed model. 
  • Flip a set of tubes containing different materials and liquid and observe how some materials float more readily than others and so are easier to transport downstream. 
  • Be a biologist like scientists at the Academy and discover fun facts about aquatic animals and their environments.
  • Learn how scientists successfully reintroduced river otters to their original habitat after they had nearly disappeared. 
  • Get tips on how to become a watershed warrior and help save animals and birds by changing your own habits on land. 
  • Explore through videos the Academy’s ongoing efforts to restore freshwater mussels in local waterways, study eels in Crum Creek in the Kirkwood Preserve, and collect macroinvertebrates in Cobbs Creek to gauge the health of the creek.  
  • Learn about the ginormous North Atlantic and North Pacific garbage patches.  
  • Play with flippers, shark and fish toys and also reading easy books about water science. 

Ocean Bound is on view Aug. 20 through Jan. 15, 2023 and is a key part of the Academy and Drexel’s Water Year 2022 celebration. Ocean Bound was created by the Sciencenter of Ithaca, N.Y., with funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 


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