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Shedd Aquarium Launches "Surge" to Empower the Public and Save Species

New Digital, Lifestyle Platform Mobilizes Public and Gives Ways to Protect and Preserve Nature

May 21, 2021

Fish rushing in a school towards, the camera, with the words 'surge: Shedd Aquarium' overlaid in bold white text.

Photo by: © naturepics_li/Getty Images

Today Shedd Aquarium announces a new, global community of environmental advocates and “change agents” who have pledged to jump into action and support advocacy efforts that ultimately safeguard aquatic species and nature. Called Surge, the new digital platform will equip its followers with the knowledge and tools necessary to take individual actions in their daily lives and tackle issues including plastic pollution, climate change, environmental justice, equal access to nature, and more. In celebration of Endangered Species Day today, Shedd is looking to double the platform’s impact by World Ocean Day on June 8. With nearly 2,500 supporters currently and a goal of recruiting 2,500 more, Surge aims to harness the power of collective action to save species from extinction.

“We are currently facing a biodiversity crisis that can truly feel overwhelming and paralyzing to the public,” said Jaclyn Wegner, director of conservation action at Shedd Aquarium. “Shedd Aquarium’s Surge community puts power back in the hands of the people, helping them understand the impact of collective action and delivering the urgent alerts, tools and tips to make lasting change right to their inbox. What’s more, because Surge is digitally based, we can extend well beyond Chicago, so no matter where you live, you can join Shedd and help us protect our planet.”

After signing up for Surge, supporters will unlock ways to get involved with Shedd’s environmental movement, from advocacy for pressing policies to tips you can apply in your daily life that will help protect our planet. Surge supporters receive:

  • exclusive newsletters that share planet-friendly cooking tips, suggested swaps for sustainable products, interviews with influential community members, and more
  • action alerts when your voice is needed to influence urgent issues
  • invitations to special events and hands-on volunteer opportunities
  • useful tools to take real action and raise awareness

In its inaugural month, Surge supporters have joined forces to advance new legislation to address plastic pollution, including the federal Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act of 2021, by signing and sending letters to Congress that voice support for the proposed policy. The community also helped raise awareness of unnecessary plastic goods consumed every day globally through an initiative called #CutOutCutlery—an educational campaign to move away from automatically including or expecting disposable cutlery in to-go meals and at restaurants. This summer, Surge supporters will help bolster initiatives that spur widespread climate action.

The public can become a Surge Subscriber to receive newsletters and content to stay up-to-date on ways to act for animals, or they can financially support the initiative as a Surge Stakeholder by donating monthly, starting at $3. While Surge Subscribers will receive regular updates and calls to action, Surge Stakeholders will receive exclusive benefits including invitations to gated events and unique access to community impact-makers and Shedd’s experts. Contributions from Stakeholders also fuel critical wildlife conservation work carried out by Shedd’s aquatic scientists, veterinarians, researchers, environmental stewardship and policy experts, and more.

Shedd’s Surge is part of the aquarium’s ongoing mission to spark compassion, curiosity and conservation for the aquatic animal world. Shoulder to shoulder with partners, Shedd Aquarium seeks out solutions to the most pressing conservation issues of our time, catalyzes deeper and more focused research programs that benefit individual animals in need, while addressing the health and ecological integrity of aquatic ecosystems, and informs and influences policy on issues affecting wildlife and wild places everywhere.

Anyone can join “Surge” online at

VISUALS: Relevant photos are available for download:
Photo credit: ©Shedd Aquarium