Atlanta (April 9, 2012) – Georgia Aquarium received a $50,000 grant from The UPS Foundation, which leads the organization’s corporate citizenship efforts (NYSE:UPS). The grant will be used to establish a coral bank system for endangered staghorn corals at Georgia Aquarium and will also provide hands-on coral conservation activities in the Florida Keys. The grant is of great importance because over 90 percent of staghorn and elkhorn corals in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary have been lost since 1980, with slow reproduction and low levels of genetic diversity hampering natural recovery. The generous grant from The UPS Foundation will greatly aid Georgia Aquarium in helping to prevent the extinction of these corals through hands-on reef restoration, by providing resources to construct an in-house coral bank and to enhance staff skills in coral propagation. To restore the coral reef systems, teams of Georgia Aquarium divers and biologists will assist Key Largo-based partner Coral Restoration Foundation (CRF) with propagating corals in their offshore nursery and subsequently planting them onto degraded reefs. Georgia Aquarium will build a coral “bank” aquarium system which will house different strains of these endangered corals and display them to the visiting public. Members of the Aquarium’s zoological operations staff will then participate in the Sexual Coral Reproduction (SECORE) workshop to hone skills in coral spawning. “Georgia Aquarium is thrilled to receive this grant which will help continue to lead research on environmental and conservation issues and grow the mission of Georgia Aquarium,” said Kristie Cobb Hacke, vice president of sponsorship and development at Georgia Aquarium. Established in 1951 and based in Atlanta, The UPS Foundation identifies specific areas where its backing clearly impacts social issues. In support of this strategic approach, The UPS Foundation has identified the following focus areas for giving: nonprofit effectiveness, encouraging diversity, community safety and environmental sustainability. In 2011, The UPS Foundation distributed more than $45.3 million worldwide through grants that benefit organizations or programs such as Georgia Aquarium and provide support for building stronger communities.
“The UPS Foundation is committed to funding impactful programs that make a meaningful difference in our communities – so we are proud to support Georgia Aquarium’s efforts to establish a coral bank system for endangered coral,” said Eduardo Martinez, president of The UPS Foundation.