Childhood education is crucial to encouraging the aquarium hobby and maintaining awareness of the health of our oceans and reefs for our future generations. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has just submitted a use permit for a $30 million project to create a new education center. The Aquarium currently works with schools and hosts school children every day. To date, over two million school children have visited the Aquarium since 1984, through its free educational programs. The new education center will be a four story,  26,000-square-foot facility, with an event center on the fourth floor. Some of the features currently planned include wet labs with marine life, a sea life support system and running sea water. The city has thirty days to review the plan and if all goes well, the Aquarium hopes to break ground by this fall.MBAThe building, designed by the San Francisco-based architectural firm Mark Cavagnero Associates, will be constructed to U.S. Green Building Council LEED Gold standards, and will feature solar panels and water conservation. Although the Aquarium hosts many children, currently there are only two small labs for hands on encounters for the kids. The new education center will put the focus on interactive learning. “With larger facilities in the new center, nearly every visiting student will be able to take part in one of the many programs we’ve created to help school districts and home school families better meet California’s Next Generation of Science Standards,” said Rita Bell, the aquarium’s director of education.  “There’s a serious need in California to bolster science and environmental education in our schools and we’re responding to that need.” MORE

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