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Environmental Conservation

Environmental Conservation Efforts

Nauticus is passionate about the preservation and conservation of our natural resources and marine environment. As a River Star Model Level Business and a certified Virginia Green attraction, Nauticus is committed to minimizing it’s environmental impacts by preventing pollution wherever feasible in it’s operations and educating the public on the importance of green practices through programs, exhibits and events.

Nauticus was awarded the “Most Innovative Green Projects” award by the Virginia Green Travel Alliance in April 2019 for the installation of the Seabins program.




Our Conservation Goals


  • Reduce waste across Nauticus campus

  • Clean and protect our waterways and marine environment

  • Educate and Empower our Community about environmental stewardship and the impacts of climate change


Conservation Programs 

Youth Education Programs

We currently offer school and groups programs to educate about Climate Change and inspire even our youngest students to take action.

    • Grade K-5: Our Changing Climate    Take a look at how thermal expansion, glacial melting work, and more. Learn the causes and effects of sea level rise and what you can do to help! Virginia SOL’s: Science – k.1, K.11, 1.1, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8, 2.1, 2.5, 2.7, 2.8, 3.1, 3.7, 3.8, 4.1, 4.7, 4.8, 5.1, 5.8, 5.9

    • Grade 6-12: Climate Change Lab     Interactive experiments on thermal expansion, glacial melting, and more. Learn the causes and effects of sea level rise and what you can do to help! Resiliency is key as our area looks to the future. Virginia SOL’s: Science – 6.1, 6.4, 6.7, 6.8, 6.9, LS.1, LS.5, LS.7, LS.9, LS.11, PS.1,  PS.6, ES.1, ES.2, ES.6, ES.8, ES.10, BIO.1, CH.1, PH.1

    • Watershed Workshop     Is the water in your backyard healthy? Discover how we are all connected to our watershed by examining our aquatic habitat. This program introduces students to the role watersheds play in our lives through water quality testing, an interactive watershed model and an awesome trivia game. Virginia SOL’s: Science –  2.1, 2.5, 2.7, 3.1, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.8, 4.1, 4.4,  4.8, 5.1,  5.9, 6.1, 6.8, 6.9, LS.1, LS.8, LS.9, PS.1, ES.1, ES.6, ES.8, ES.10, BIO.1, BIO.2, CH.1

View Additional Education Programs

Nauticus Youth Volunteers

We have a dedicated corp of Youth Volunteers who build leadership and public speaking skills as they learn how to be advocates for our local environment and community!

Our volunteers have educated thousands of museums guests about environmental conservation, climate change, and different ways they can take action at home. They have also been a driving force behind craft preparation as they help collect, create, and organize all of the recycled craft materials.

Interested in becoming a volunteer? Learn more.



Nauticus Seabins

Through a partnership with Warstila Defense, Inc., Nauticus has installed the first Seabin units on the East Coast.

Seabin, a floating trash bin located in the water at marinas, docks, yacht clubs and commercial ports, collect floating trash by drawing in water from the surface. Using low-energy submersible pumps, the water is then pumped back into the marina, leaving litter and debris trapped in the Seabin’s catch bag to be disposed of properly. The bins also have the potential to collect some of the oils and pollutants floating on the water’s surface.

Maintained by Nauticus Education Staff, volunteers and the Youth Action Council, the Seabin will contribute to the health of the waterway by cleaning as much as one ton of litter from the river each year. The three Seabin units are open to the public for viewing at the Nauticus Marina. Stay up to date on Seabin news by following Nauticus on Facebook.

Current Exhibits – Stewards of the Sea

In partnership with the Hampton Roads Naval Museum and Nauticus, U.S. Fleet Forces Command has created Stewards of the Sea: Defending Freedom, Protecting the Environment. This 1,000-square-foot, highly-interactive exhibit explores how the Navy protects marine life while fulfilling its mission.



Traveling Exhibits

We’re proud to be recipients of the Virginia Green Travel Award for the Planet or Plastic? exhibition! We featured this U.S. museum debut exhibition from National Geographic from January to April 2021.

Plastic has become so commonplace that it’s easy to ignore our dependence on it. This exhibition endeavored to change that by showcasing the global plastic waste crisis and highlighting innovators working to solve this urgent issue. The “Planet or Plastic?” exhibition built upon National Geographic’s multiyear global initiative aimed at raising awareness about the crisis to reduce the amount of single-use plastic reaching the ocean.



Digital Membership Cards

In August 2020, Nauticus began offering digital membership cards to reduce our use of plastic (cards) and paper (renewal letters, card delivery, etc.) By going digital, we will avoid using thousands of sheets of paper and envelopes, and printing over 2,000 cards every year.

It also offers our Members a convenient way to access their membership cards through their smartphone wallet app. Digital membership cards will be offered to all Members in 2020, and will become the default option starting in 2021. To learn more, visit our Membership page.





Skip the Straw!

It is estimated that 119 billion pounds of plastic waste is currently in our oceans and waterways, and every year millions of pounds of new plastic waste builds up from the improper disposal of straws, cups, water bottles, plastic bags, and other single-use items.

In 2019, Nauticus committed to go straw free and switched providers in their cafe to offer only paper straws and purchase recyclable and even compostable food containers.

Nauticus also works with the cafe to promote sustainable seafood and other food choices.


Additional Virtual Programs & Activities

In 2020, we committed to reducing our use of single-use plastics or other consumable products in our educational programming and crafts. We accomplished this goal during Afro-futurism event held in February in celebration of Black History Month by using only recycled and recyclable products for all of our crafts and activities!

Nauticus has reaffirmed this commitment with our virtual programming and adventures as we craft and learn science with you at home. Below are several of our virtual offerings for families to enjoy environmentally friendly craft and STEM content.