Charity Navigator, America’s largest and most popular independent evaluator of charities, has awarded the NC Aquarium Society the prestigious 4-star rating for good governance, sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency. The Aquarium Society, which supports the three NC Aquariums and Jennette’s Pier, is one of only a handful of aquarium organizations in the country to receive four stars. According to Charity Navigator President Michael Thatcher, only 9% of the charities measured have achieved this rating for four consecutive years, which “differentiates the NC Aquarium Society from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their support.”
“We are honored to receive Charity Navigator’s highest rating over this period, and are proud to share this news with our donors, members and constituents,” said Chuck Revelle, Chairman of the Society’s Board of Directors. “This distinction reflects our accountability and our commitment to support the Aquariums’ future.”
Charity Navigator works to help charitable donors make intelligent giving decisions by providing information on more than five thousand charities nationwide and by evaluating their financial health. It calculates each charity’s score based upon several broad criteria, including how much is spent per dollar raised, what percentage of funds goes to programs vs. administrative and fund-raising expenses, and the organization’s long-term financial health. It then assigns a rating from one to four, with four being the best rating. These are available at www.CharityNavigator.com.
Dr. Neal Conoley, President of the Aquarium Society remarked, “Our track record with Charity Navigator coupled with the Aquariums’ growing reputation highlights our focus on good stewardship of charitable contributions and maintaining the public trust.”
The nonprofit Aquarium Society, founded in 1986 as a support organization for the state’s three public aquariums, has been instrumental in helping each facility expand its educational exhibits and programs to better serve visitors. Following a loss of appropriated construction funding due to Hurricane Floyd in 1999, the Society stepped in to borrow the $26 million needed to rebuild and expand the Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. Today, the Society’s Living Treasures campaign offers giving opportunities for corporations, foundations and families to help meet the Aquariums’ needs for new exhibits, programs, and conservation initiatives.
Register today for the Pier’s annual Red Drum Tournament set for Saturday, Oct. 3. The tournament has been renamed to honor former Pier security guard Jim Mulford, who passed away Sept. 20. The event runs from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. with lines in the water from 8 a.m. to noon. There will be a short meeting and moment of silence just before 8 a.m.
The two featured categories are longest red drum and longest puppy drum in the slot of 18 to 27 inches. Additional prizes will be award for longest fish including black drum, bluefish, cobia, croaker, cobia, flounder, king mackerel, puffer, pompano, trout, mullet, sheepshead, spadefish, Spanish mackerel, spot, triggerfish and more. Sorry, no skates, rays or sharks will be scored.
Register online now or in person at the cashier counter. Prizes include: two Engel cooler/ dry boxes with complete, red drum rigging kits; fillet knives with sheaths and Got – Cha three packs all from T.W.’s Nags Head. Door prizes from Charter, East Carolina Radio and Sunny Day will be given away at the conclusion of the awards ceremony, which begins around 12:30 p.m.
Help us honor Jim Mulford by spending the morning fishing at the Pier. The entry fees are $15 for adults, $8 ages 12 and under and include an all-day fishing pass. Call 252-255-1501, ext. 202 for more information.
The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, Jennette’s Pier and the Outer Banks Community Foundation have teamed up with the Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research (OBX CDR) to develop and install informational graphic panels at these two aquarium facilities.
Christin Brown, education curator at Jennette’s Pier, said she’s proud of the project, which she and her staff helped organize and implement. Pier Director Mike Remige was glad they are in place for this summer season.
“These weather-resistant signs highlight the work of the dolphin research center and focus on the importance of conservation of bottlenose dolphins,” he said. “The two, three-foot by two-foot signs, have already been installed in strategic locations at each facility to highlight the potential of spotting one or more of these amazing creatures.”
Jessica Taylor, principal investigator for the research center, said she was also pleased with the way the signs turned out. She hopes the general public will learn how to do their part to protect bottlenose dolphins.
“Bottlenose dolphin are a protected species and an important part of the environment,” she said. “Support from the public is an integral part in continuing their conservation. Public support is key.
Coastal dolphins live between 40 to 50 years. As adults, they grow six to eight-foot long. They are warm-blooded, breath air and even have hair in the early stages of life. The research center uses markings on dolphins’ dorsal fins to track the area’s population, and they have identified more than 600 of these energetic and playful marine mammals, Taylor said.
At Jennette’s Pier, the attractive, new informational sign is conveniently located next to the spotting scope on the north side of the pier with direct views of the Atlantic Ocean. At the Aquarium, the graphic panel is located next to the entrance to the new Soundside Pier.
“Both facilities’ panels focus on conservation efforts while the Aquarium’s sign also includes information about how scientists identify individual dolphins,” Brown said. “Guests at the Aquarium have the potential to spot one of our local Outer Banks dolphins frolicking in the beautiful Croatan Sound!”
This unique educational project was made possible through a grant received from the Outer Banks Community Foundation with matching funds provided by both the N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke Island and Jennette’s Pier.
Earth Fair OBX IV promises plenty of free fun for everyone on Saturday, April 18 from 1 to 4 p.m. A wide variety of community groups will be on hand sharing their own environmental messages. Children are encouraged to visit these educational booths with “passports” in hand.
Once they’ve made the rounds and validated their passports at a minimum of eight stations, they’re awarded a free Earth Fair OBX IV T-shirt. If desired, they can tie-dye the white shirt, which features a unique raindrop logo by Brett Harrison of Wicked Oceans.
In addition, take a chance at winning a number of giveaways including up-cycled bird house kits, rain barrels and gift certificates from area business. This year’s Earth Fair OBX IV was made possible by grants from the Outer Banks Community Foundation and N.C. Coastal Federation. The Pier’s event is also part of the N.C. Science Festival.
The following organizations, business and schools are signed up for the event: N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke Island; Chesapeake Bay Adventures; College of the Albemarle, Associate of Science Program; Coastal Kayaks; UNC Coastal Studies Institute; Dare Master Gardeners; First Flight Adventure Park, First Flight High School, Girl Scouts, Hatteras Recycling Center, Manteo High School Student Environmental Action Club, The Nature Conservancy, N.C. Coastal Federation, N.C. Sierra Club, Network for Endangered Sea Turtles (NEST), National Park Service National Seashore, Outer Banks Children @ Play Museum, OBX Center for Dolphin Research, OBXplorers, OBXSurfInfo.com, North Carolina Sea Grant, Outer Banks SPCA and Surfrider Foundation, Outer Banks Chapter.
This event will be held rain or shine.
At least two children in Dare County’s Friends of Youth program will get the opportunity for several pretty cool adventures this summer, thanks to a $505 donation by the Manteo Rotary Club. Jennette’s Pier educators are looking for several more groups to make similar contributions.
The adventure camps are designed for participants from ages 5 to 16 to go fishing, surfing, kayaking, hang gliding and stand-up paddle boarding, and even gain valuable community service hours. Science activities such as fish dissections and nature hiking are also part of the week-long adventures.
“During the summer, if we didn’t plug them into this, these children would be doing nothing,” said Bennett, program coordinator for Dare County Friends of Youth. “It definitely boosts their self-esteem and makes them feel like they can do anything — it’s such a positive plus!”
And she should know. Bennett has led this group for the past 24 years. Their 25th anniversary is Monday, March 1, she noted.
Gould said he’s looking for similar community organizations such as the Manteo Rotary to commit to sponsoring additional “camperships” as he calls them. If interested, call Gould for more information at 252-255-1501 ext. 212.
Registration for all summer camps at Jennette’s Pier, as well as the N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke Island, opens Monday, March 2 at 9 a.m. Parents can come by the pier or register online at jennettespier.net. Camp listings for both the pier and aquarium are available online now.