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South Salt Lake Journal

Living Planet Aquarium videos bring animals to public

May 05, 2020 10:29AM ● By Jenniffer Wardell

Lesley Scoville, endotherms keeper at the aquarium, feeds a sloth in one of the Scarlet's Adventure videos. (Photo courtesy of Loveland Living Planet Aquarium)

By Jenniffer Wardell | [email protected]

We can’t go to the aquarium right now, so the aquarium is doing its best to come to us. 

Loveland Living Planet Aquarium has spent the last several weeks offering free educational videos through their social media accounts that highlight different aspects of the aquarium. The videos started with the Scarlet’s Adventure series, which took a macaw to visit some of the aquarium’s other residents. They’ve since expanded to several different types of videos, ranging from crafts and science projects to behind-the-scenes explanations of various aspects of the aquarium. 

"People are still learning and are looking for resources," said Brent Beardsley, public programs manager at the aquarium. "People are looking for things to watch especially for their children to help them learn. We want to help give people those resources so that they will have something wonderful and fun to see and experience right from home."  

The first series, Scarlet’s Adventure, is a 12-part series that can be viewed in its entirety through the aquarium’s website: thelivingplanet.com/scarletsadventure. The series showed Scarlet visiting everyone from sloths and otters to penguins and other birds, with other team members answering questions and offering insights into the animals. One video even discusses the plants of South America that help the native animals there thrive. 

"Primarily, our mission is to inspire people to explore, discover, and learn about Earth's diverse ecosystems. We also aim to foster a sense of stewardship for all life on the planet," Beardsley said. "With that in mind, and given that families and teachers are now isolated at home, we want to provide engaging, entertaining, and educational experiences that connect people with the Aquarium's mission."

Their newest video project involves special themed videos for each day of the week that focus on different subjects. Monday videos focus on aquarium-themed crafts and art projects, while the Tuesday videos feature animal trivia. Thursday videos mostly focus on simple science experiments that families can do at home. The series can be found on the aquarium’s YouTube page.

“One of my favorite parts is how everyone has been working together on (the videos) – animal care, marketing, education and more,” Beardsley said. “As we are doing more videos than we normally do, we are bringing in more people and letting them showcase their ideas and talents.”

Of course, it’s not always easy.

“One of the biggest difficulties is remote meetings and work,” he said. “It's tricky to do it all while maintaining social distancing.”

Beyond the technical challenges that come with putting the videos together in a time of social distancing, Beardsley said that his team misses aquarium guests as much as the guests miss being able to visit. 

"The thing that we miss the most is being able to see the faces and reactions of our guests," he said. "To see that moment of 'wow' and 'aha' as they experience the aquarium."

There has been one unexpected side benefit, however.

“We have done more deep cleaning, and now the Aquarium is sparkling clean,” he said.

Until everyone can come and see the animals in their newly sparkling habitats, however, he added that the aquarium staff will continue working to bring some of that magic to people’s homes. 

“We hope that our viewers will have fun and learn something,” he said. “We want them to experience curiosity and a sense of wonder. This pandemic is not going to last forever, but the learning that children engage in and their sense of wonder at the natural world is something that will.”

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