The Outer Banks has an undeniable connection to the ocean. How can you not when the ocean is right at your back door? The NC Aquarium is excited to join in the global celebration of World Oceans Day on Friday, June 8, with a day of activities, games, crafts for kids, and educational opportunities.

Now in its 26th year, World Oceans Day aims to focus more attention and discussion into the ways we can be better stewards of this magnificent resource. Around the world, organizations, aquariums, and festivals will mark the occasion with special events.

At the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island, guests can immerse themselves in programs surrounding the science of the ocean, learn about how plastics impact sea life and test their knowledge in ocean trivia.

“Spreading the word about steps we can take to protect the ocean is important to us at the aquarium all year long,” says educator Beth Harkness. “But there’s a special feeling knowing that, on World Oceans Day, people all over the planet are sharing the importance of these messages, too.”

Plastic reduction is the central theme for this year’s World Oceans Day. The website worldoceansday.org is full of useful information on the importance of lessening the impact of plastic straws, bottles and bags on sea life. These plastics get into the ocean ecosystem and are often mistaken for food by animals like sea turtles. In fact, it is common to see sea turtles admitted to NCARI’s Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation (S.T.A.R.) Center that have ingested plastics.

It’s not just the plastics you can see that are the problem. Plastic in the ocean breaks down into microscopic particles called “microplastics,” and those particles get eaten by smaller animals, which in turn get eaten by larger ones. Microplastics work their way up the food chain until they are even present in the food we eat.

So how can everyone help? Making the decision not to use single-use plastics like straws is a big step.

“This is a big chance to raise awareness of plastics and how we can make positive changes just by making small changes in our lives, and World Oceans Day is a great way to get the word out.”

Brian Postelle is the Public Relations Coordinator for the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island.

Brian Postelle is the Public Relations Coordinator for the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island.

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