Maritime Aquarium Raises Over $400K at Annual Gala

Norwalk, CT – With sustainability and conservation at the forefront of the Seas the Night Gala on Nov. 2, The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk raised over $400,000 in support of its live exhibits, award-winning education programs and conservation efforts benefiting Long Island Sound. 

“Our Seas the Night Gala was a unique moment to celebrate our 35th year anniversary and how far we’ve come, as well as our future and how much more we can accomplish for our community and environment,” said President and CEO Jason Patlis. “Since 1988, we have played a pivotal role in revitalizing South Norwalk, and provided unique learning experiences not just for students, but for people of all ages. In the years to come, we will continue to foster our community’s connection to our blue planet in a way that truly enriches their lives and inspires them to take action to protect our ocean.”

In its first gala outside of its South Norwalk facility, the Aquarium welcomed over 100 guests. The location – HMTX World Headquarters – is one of the greenest buildings in Connecticut and the first in Norwalk to pursue the Living Building Challenge, the world’s most stringent green building rating system. 

This year’s honorees were selected for their distinguished service and dedication to their communities. Harlan Stone received the Community Leader Award, which was accepted on his behalf by Rick Taylor; Richard B. Alexander received the Innovation Award; and Dr. Sylvia Earle received the Visionary Award. 

Dr. Earle, a National Geographic Explorer in Residence and Founder of Mission Blue, also delivered the evening’s keynote address. During her speech, she emphasized the importance of having hope in regards to conservation and the importance of the individual choices we all make in our daily lives. She shared a similar message the previous night at the Aquarium during her presentation Hope for the Ocean in a World of Crisis

The beauty of our environment was brought indoors by Carlyle Upson, whose watercolor paintings featuring horseshoe crabs decorated the event space, and several members of a local garden club, who designed the centerpieces that were later donated to local senior centers and hospitals. 

Digital Content Creator and Actress Eva Amurri hosted the program and International String Quartet provided live music throughout the event. The menu, prepared by On the Marc Catering, highlighted delicious locally-sourced vegetarian meals, which require less resources to produce and have a positive impact on our planet.

Sponsors included Clay and Margaret Fowler, Genco Shipping and Trading Limited, Fairfield County Bank, and Sillycow Farms LLC. To learn how you can further support the Aquarium’s mission,

THE MARITIME AQUARIUM AT NORWALK inspires people of all ages to appreciate and protect the Long Island Sound ecosystem and the global environment through living exhibits, marine science and environmental education. The aquarium is home to over 7,000 animals of hundreds of species including seals, sharks, rays, jellies, turtles and meerkats. Additionally, it offers sensory-enhanced 4D movies, in-person and virtual education programs for schools and families, and public cruises aboard its hybrid-electric research vessel. The Maritime Aquarium is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, and receives support from the State of Connecticut DECD’s Offices of Culture and Tourism. For more information, visit

Submitted by Fairfield, CT

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