In a Groundhog Day take on winter, Stryker the harbor seal at the Aquarium of Niagara made his annual winter weather prediction on Friday. Better bundle up, as Stryker predicts a frigid winter in Western New York.
For the second year in a row, the Aquarium of Niagara teamed up with energy company NOCO to deliver the winter weather outlook. Last fall, Stryker predicted a cold winter, and he went one-for-one when Western New York experienced a milder-than-usual winter. The aquarium’s rescued seals spend Western New York winters in their comfortable outdoor habitat where they naturally adapt to all kinds of extreme weather conditions.
Third graders from Harry F. Abate Elementary School – Niagara Falls City School District joined in on the fun, cheering Stryker on as he made this year’s prediction. The students then went inside the aquarium for additional STEM and weather-related enrichment activities.
“The aquarium embraces a spirit of collaboration when it comes to advancing our mission,” said Gary Siddall, president and CEO of the Aquarium of Niagara. “Through our partnership with NOCO, we are able to educate visitors about the impact of their choices on our environment. Together, we are able to provide our community with meaningful animal interactions that inspire people to make a difference for aquatic life.”
Bobbie Thoman, NOCO’s sustainability manager, said, “While NOCO may not know winter like our friend Stryker, we’ve been helping our customers stay warm for nearly 90 years. Our partnership with the Aquarium of Niagara is an extension of our commitment as a full-service energy company to offering sustainable energy solutions that have a positive impact on both the environment and wildlife.” NOCO has been providing home heating services to the Western New York community since 1933.
Friday’s event is part of an ongoing collaboration between NOCO and the Aquarium of Niagara focused on local conservation efforts that have a direct impact on aquatic life. Earlier this year, the two organizations teamed up to create “Dangerous Beauties,” a new exhibit highlighting the impacts of illegal wildlife trading and the importance of local conservation efforts. The exhibit features species that suffer from the ornamental fish trade including a rare Asian arowana that was confiscated at the U.S.-Canada border and an ocellate river stingray. The exhibit also highlights NOCO’s River Road Research project, which transforms local food waste into food for insects, and those insects later become food for fish.
The nonprofit Aquarium of Niagara is home to more than 120 different species, including 10 rescued and nonreleasable marine mammals. It is open daily at 9 a.m. year-around, except for Christmas and Thanksgiving. For more information, visit aquariumofniagara.org.
NOCO is online at noco.com.