Maritime Aquarium marks Black History Month with live-streaming programs celebrating black scientists and authors

The work of marine biologist Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is the focus of one of the virtual programs offered in February by The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk to celebrate Black scientists during Black History Month. There’s no cost – just a suggested donation – for these one-hour live-streamed programs. See the schedule and register at (contributed photo)

NORWALK, CT – Log in to learn the achievements of Black scientists and authors during upcoming live-streaming educational programs offered by The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk during Black History Month.

The Virtual programs offered during Black History Month are part of a changing suite of online programs offered weekly by the Aquarium. There’s no set charge, just a suggested donation for each.

Tom Naiman, the Aquarium’s director of Education, said the contributions of Black scientists, especially in the marine sciences, are less-known and less-appreciated.

“For a field that is dedicated to preserving biodiversity in the natural world, we can do a much better job of reflecting and celebrating diversity among the scientists and authors we rely on for knowledge and inspiration,” Naiman said. “These programs are a step in that direction, and one that we plan to build on in a variety of ways.”

The programs, all one hour long, are:

• “Fish Tales” story time for preschoolers
Friday mornings at 11 a.m. (Feb. 5, 12, 19 & 26)
During these interactive story times, an Aquarium educator will lead young children and their parents/caregivers through songs, rhymes, dances, book readings and maybe even a visit with an animal ambassador. For the month of February, we will be using stories written by Black authors and celebrating work of Black scientists that has an impact on our lives every day. Sign up for one, some or all four.

• “The Changing Oceans”
Sat., Feb. 20 at 10 a.m.
Primarily for ages 10-14 but open to all. The ocean ecosystem has been changing as long as humans have been observing it. This program explores what is causing the change, how it is affecting us, and one of the scientists researching it. Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is a marine biologist working to reverse climate change and the effects of overfishing.

• “Bioluminescence”
Wed., Feb. 24 at 4 p.m.
Primarily for ages 10-14 but open to all. The deeper we explore into the ocean, the stranger the animals become. Animals may look alien, and many of them glow. Join us to learn more about this glowing, or bioluminescence, and why it is important for animals in the deep ocean. We highlight Emmett Chappelle, a scientist who used the chemicals created by animals with bioluminescence to find ways of detecting life.

Capacity in each session is 50 participants.

The Maritime Aquarium has been offering a weekly lineup of live-streamed presentations about marine animals and the aquatic environment since its COVID-19 closure last March – and still now since reopening in June. The programs, which vary week to week but include options for different age groups, have been viewed by more than 20,000 participants in 43 states, Puerto Rico and six foreign countries.

Advance registration is required so that participants can be emailed a Zoom link for the specific program.

Sign up – and learn more about the family attraction’s animals, exhibits, programs, cruises onto Long Island Sound this winter and more – at

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