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A girl signs a pledge to reduce her use of single-waste plastics.

1. Reduce Plastic Consumption

A staggering 22 million pounds of plastic enters the Great Lakes every year, threatening wildlife and even our drinking water. Reducing your plastic use, like opting for reusable grocery bags and refusing plastic cutlery when ordering food to go, can help keep plastic out of our waterways.

A beautiful view of the Chicago skyline from the edge of the Chicago River, where volunteers comb through native prairie plants for invasive species.

2. Volunteer for a Shedd Aquarium Action Day

As the weather warms up, consider getting outside with Shedd to restore and protect local forest preserves, waterways and beaches. You’ll support animals from frogs to fish while having fun and learning along the way.

A school of fish behind a logotype reading "Surge: Shedd Aquarium".
A diver holds a conch in one hand and a measuring device in the other.

3. Join Surge

Want to do better by the planet, but not sure where to start? Join Surge: your go-to source for living in harmony with our blue planet. Learn how to reduce your environmental footprint at home, receive opportunities to take action for wildlife right or go deep on environmental legislation with our experts. It’s all here in engaging ways that work for you, joining others in making a big impact.

Two bikers cruise in front of Shedd's historic building.

4. Think twice about your transportation

Before jumping in the car, look into your various transportation options to see which would have the smallest environmental impact. Walking, biking or taking public transportation can reduce your environmental footprint and teach you more about a particular place, its people and culture. If you need to fly, consider ways to offset your carbon footprint. 

Two young participants in Shedd's Summer Road Trip look through binoculars at something in the woods.
Plastic bottles washed up on a rocky beach in the Bahamas are coated in a fine layer of salt but show no sign of degrading.

5. Advocate for Reducing Plastic in National Parks

Whether you’re planning to visit a national park this summer, or simply planning to spend more time outside, be an advocate for your favorite park and the planet! The Reducing Waste in National Parks Act is meant to ban the sale of single-use plastic in national parks across the country. Join us to encourage members of Congress to support the bill and protect our national parks from plastic pollution. Sign this petition, then share your support on social media using #PlasticFreeParks.

An intern lends a hand in Shedd's vegetable garden.

6. Register for a teen workshop or summer camp

Teen workshops and Shedd summer camps are great ways to meet peers, learn about the aquatic world and look nature in the eye. During our April and May Teen Workshops, your teen will connect with staff who drive our green initiatives, take a closer look at onsite breeding programs and learn how we care for and talk about endangered species. In Shedd’s Summer Splash for grades K—5 and Summer Road Trip for grades 6—8, your teen will spend a week exploring and learning both at Shedd and beyond!

Scuba diver documenting the collapse of a Nassau grouper spawning aggregation in The Bahamas.

7. Participate in citizen science

Shedd researchers can’t be in multiple places at once, so they need your help! Become a citizen scientist, which means you can observe and report on the wildlife you spot as you spend time outdoors. Experts can then use the data you inputted to, for example, learn more about fish migrations. Download the iNaturalist Fish Finder app in your app store and get started!

Rescued sea otter pup Ellie chews on sustainably sourced clams, one of otters' favorite treats.
Beautiful sushi rolls are arranged on a metal plate.

8. Eat more sustainably

The choices you make for your meals can help the planet! Prioritize plants and minimize red meat in your diet. Read food labels to learn if the product you’re choosing was made or caught sustainably. Instead of heading to the grocery store, check out farmers markets for locally grown goods. Take this quiz to find out more about where you fit into culinary conservation.

A caterpillar climbs along a sprig of dill.

9. Plant native species

Garden for the birds and the bees! If you have access to green space or even a few pots to plant a garden, consider planting native species. By using native plants accustomed to our local landscape and climate, we can conserve water, combat climate change and provide habitat for butterflies, birds and insects.

A family in Underwater Beauty peers through a habitat teeming with quick-moving, many-shaped reef fish.

10. Become a Shedd Member

Support compassion, curiosity and conservation of the aquatic animal world and join us with a membership level that's right for you! Not only do you get free access to the aquarium year-round and member-exclusive opportunities, but your support also helps animals across the globe.