By Pet Age Staff//August 2, 2023
By: Pet Age Staff//August 2, 2023
Press release: Aperture
Aperture Pet & Life, the integrated company for some of the largest brands in the aquatics industry, including Bulk Reef Supply, Neptune Systems, EcoTech Marine and AquaIllumination, recently announced an expanded partnership with The Florida Aquarium.
Aperture brand Bulk Reef Supply (BRS) and The Florida Aquarium have joined forces to offer a collection of co-branded merchandise with 100 percent of the net proceeds being donated to The Florida Aquarium. These funds will be utilized to support the aquarium’s vital conservation efforts, specifically focused on the protection and conservation of Florida’s critically endangered coral reef. This collection includes plushies and T-shirts featuring Mr. Chili, the BRS mascot who is a coral polyp.
This collaboration between Aperture and The Florida Aquarium not only strengthens their long-standing relationship, but it also contributes to a significant cause.
“We are excited to support the critical coral conservation efforts of The Florida Aquarium. Their work is nothing short of extraordinary, fueled by a team with passion and relentless dedication to addressing the coral crisis,” said Natalie Strahan, chief executive officer for Aperture Pet & Life. “They are making a significant impact for our ocean’s futures and generations to come. Therefore, we are proud to honor The Florida Aquarium researchers, scientists and team members by Mr. Chili becoming Super Chili for the month of July in recognition of their work and as a reflection of them being superheroes in our eyes.”
Super Chili will also assume the part-time role of a coral conservation mascot for The Florida Aquarium. He will act as a representative for reef education and conservation, particularly focused on educating children. As a coral polyp himself, the hope is he will help inspire the next generation to learn about our coral reefs and the important role they play for our oceans and our planet.
“The more we understand and have connection to something, the more we care about it. This unique partnership allows us to leverage the benefit of how toys like plushies can evoke imagination and compassion, which can ultimately be a catalyst for developing a sense of environmental responsibility and empathy toward the natural world,” said Roger Germann, president and chief executive officer of The Florida Aquarium. “Super Chili has the strength to save coral reefs, one coral at a time, but when his superpower is fueled by millions of children and adults who care about coral enough to make positive environmental choices – now that’s hero’s work.”
Corals support 25 percent of all ocean life, are the ecosystem engineers that build physical homes for animals, protect up to 90 percent of our coastlines from damage and provide food and economic benefit to hundreds of millions of people.
The scientists at The Florida Aquarium have been tirelessly dedicated to addressing the coral crisis. Their focus lies in protecting coral species that are on the brink of extinction in the wild, increasing coral reproduction rates, and advancing overall coral health. Through their relentless efforts, these coral scientists have made coral sexual reproduction history many times with their work, which has been vital to the restoration of the third largest barrier reef in the world, Florida’s Coral Reef.
In August 2019, The Florida Aquarium, in partnership with the Horniman Museum and Gardens, became the first to successfully spawn critically endangered pillar coral in a laboratory. In 2023, the first juvenile pillar corals born and raised in aquariums were returned to the ocean for the first time.
“We could not be prouder or more humbled to partner with the incredible team at The Florida Aquarium on their historic and revolutionary work,” said Strahan. “There has never been a more important time than now to support their research and help children and adults alike become a part of the mission to conserve our coral reefs.”
By supporting The Florida Aquarium’s conservation work, the collaboration between Aperture brand BRS and the Aquarium aims to make a tangible impact in safeguarding the fragile coral ecosystems. The funds generated from the co-branded merchandise will go directly toward supporting research, restoration projects and education initiatives focused on coral reef preservation. This partnership not only fosters a deeper understanding of the importance of coral conservation but also provides crucial resources for sustaining these irreplaceable marine habitats for generations to come.
Aperture brands, including BRS, reach and represent one of the largest home aquarist communities in the world. In a recent survey of BRS customers, 90 percent indicated that contributing to coral conservation efforts is important to them. This partnership also provides this key community a new opportunity to give back to something they are deeply passionate about.
“We are grateful for our amazing partners at Aperture Pet & Life and Bulk Reef Supply and bolstered by their commitment to saving coral reefs, supporting our coral conservation efforts through philanthropy and outreach, and of course, sending Super Chili to join us in the global fight,” said Germann.