FOBIA  Friends of Belle Isle Aquarium

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1.         Introduction


                        Greetings.  My name is Jennifer Boardman, Iím a member of the group Friends of The Belle Isle Aquarium, known by our acronym, FOBIA.  Along with me are, Mike, Vance and Karen, also FOBIA Members. 


                        Our mission is to save, preserve and protect the Belle Isle Aquarium for the next 100 Years and to fight against the planned closure currently slated for April 3, 2005.


2.         Thank you!


                        Thank you to Detroit Synergy for inviting us here to talk about this important issue.  We appreciate any opportunity to get the word out of this looming tragedy.


3.         History    


                        The Belle Isle Aquarium was designed by Albert Kahn, whose designs include the Fisher Building, the Belle Isle Conservatory and even Central Park in NY.


                        The Belle Isle Aquarium opened itís doors on August 18, 1904 and is the oldest, continuously operating aquarium in the United States.


                        The Belle Isle Aquarium currently houses 1,500 individual animals of 146 species including many native Detroit at Great Lake species such as perch, pike and sturgeon.


                        The interior of the Belle Isle Aquarium is completely veneered in aqua glass, originally thought to be powabic tile, but the tiles are actually much earlier.  They mimic an undersea experience.


                        Aside from her history and beauty, the Belle Isle Aquarium, through itís dedicated professionals, has done what no other aquarium on the planet has done:


                                    -           it witnessed the parthenogenic reproduction of a bamboo shark.  This shark came to the aquarium as a sexually immature juvenile in 1995.    It began laying egg casings in 2000 but was never housed with a sexually mature male capable of fertilizing the eggs.    To the shock of the world, the egg casings produced 2 viable embryos.  These embryos have survived and are now juveniles happily thriving at the Belle Isle Aquarium.   This miracle of nature made the National Geographic Magazine, as well as international news.


                                    -           In addition, the Belle Isle Aquarium is the home of the Golden Skiffia.  This fish is extinct in the wild.  However, not only does it thrive at the Belle Isle Aquarium, it produces offspring.   However, when the offspring are sent to other aquariums in the the fish die within a year.  Therefore, closing the Belle Isle Aquarium will, for all intents and purposes, cause the Golden Skiffia to pass into extinction.


4.         6 things you can do NOW to help?


                        1.         Talk about it!  Get the word out of the planned 4/3 closing           date.

                        2.         Contact legislators, the mayorís office, zoo officials and the       media.  Tell them the aquarium is too important to close. 

                        3.         Donate you can do that at our website, itís tax deductible.

                        4.         Visit the Aquarium, itís open W - S, 10 to 4

                        5.         Visit the website, (FOBIA)

                                    You can reach me there directly, Jennifer @___


5.         Conclusion:


            Over the years, Belle Isle has lost itís canoe rentals, itís horse back riding, itís zoo and most recently the water park.   The Belle Isle Aquarium is the line we draw in the sand.   Please join us in saving it for the next 100 years.


            Thank you for allowing me to speak to you tonight.  Itís been an honor.