Immersion Learning and Mystic Aquarium Sponsoring First-Ever Goldfish Training Contest

Tue, 12/8/2009 - 10:39 AM

By Becky Giantonio

Mystic, CT - Everyone knows whales and sea lions can be trained, but few realize that a variety of fish, including goldfish, can learn behaviors, too. Immersion Learning™, a division of Sea Research Foundation, is challenging kids across the nation to show off their animal training skills during its first-ever Goldfish Training Contest. The top three entrants will win the opportunity to be a beluga trainer for a day at Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration during Immersion’s “Marine Mammals of the Arctic” live webcasts February 10 to 12.

Open to students ages 10 to 14, the contest encourages kids to use the same positive reinforcement tactics used by aquarium trainers to train a goldfish. These techniques are featured in the new “Marine Mammals of the Arctic” program curricula, used at Immersion sites across the country, as well as in the “Beluga University” game at An online video showing how Mystic Aquarium staff trained puffer fish also serves as a source of inspiration.

To enter, kids must submit a two-minute video through by January 8 that shows how they trained a goldfish to perform a unique behavior. The three winners will be notified by January 15 and will receive an all-expenses-paid trip (with one chaperone) to Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration during the week of the webcasts, which will be watched by students across the country and will include interviews with beluga whale trainers and scientists conducting research on Arctic animals, footage of Arctic animals in their habitats and details on seal rescue and rehabilitation. Each winner will be featured as an “apprentice trainer” during one day of webcast programs, and will work closely with the aquarium’s beluga whales and professional trainers.

Complete contest guidelines can be found at under “Marine Mammals of the Arctic.” To learn more about the “Marine Mammals of the Arctic” webcasts, go to

About Immersion Learning™
Immersion Learning™ was founded by Dr. Robert Ballard and Dr. Stephen Coan in 2002. Through live broadcasts from scientific expeditions, hands-on activities and an engaging Web site, this non-profit science education organization brings ocean adventures and discoveries from Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration, the University of Rhode Island and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration to more than 50,000 kids in classrooms, after-school settings, such as Boys & Girls Clubs, and other informal learning arenas each year.

About Sea Research Foundation, Inc.
Mystic Aquarium, Institute for Exploration and Immersion Learning are divisions of Sea Research Foundation, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. The mission of Sea Research is to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through education, research and exploration.

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