June 29, 2022

Donors to match $10K for new aquarium

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635870132429694907-1229-Butterfly-House-Aquariums-5653-1From Argus Leader

A fundraising effort to come up with the thousands of dollars it’ll take to replace an aging, 600-gallon saltwater aquarium at Sioux Falls’ marine cove is nearing its goal thanks to a $10,000 gift by a team of local philanthropists.

Last month the Marine Cove’s only Caribbean exhibit was shut down and drained after a leaky seal worsened along with concerns the 600-gallon tank that holds coral and other sea life could burst. Since then, the Sertoma Butterfly House and Marine Cove launched the Caribbean Cove Challenge and has been racing toward a goal of $30,000, the anticipated cost of replacement.

“If we can hit $10,000 by Dec. 31, then we will be at our $30,000 goal,” said Audrey Willard, executive director at the southern Sioux Falls non-profit.

Fueling the success of the Caribbean Cove Challenge, at least in part, is a $10,000 matching gift. Through the end of the year, the gift, dedicated on Dec. 15 from Joe and Elaine Floyd, Kate Florio and Larry Burris, Lee and Karen Larsen and the James and Eloise Elmen Foundation, will match all donations up to $10,000 dollar for dollar.

So far, more than $7,500 has been matched. If another $2,500 comes in before year’s end, Sioux Falls’ could see its Caribbean Cove exhibit back in operation by spring, Willard said.

Meeting that timeline is important when considering the uptick in traffic the facility sees in the spring, especially for youth with peaking curiosities, said Lee Larson, one of the philanthropists who ponied up money for the matching gift.

“In the spring when the yellow-fever season hits and all the buses are bringing kids for field trips, the big thing about the butterfly house and the Marine Cove…is the opportunity for young people to see sea life that they would never ever experience unless they got somewhere near or into an ocean,” he said. “The saltwater aquariums that we have give them exposure to all of that.”

The Marine Cove’s Caribbean exhibit will feature coral reef restoration and invasive species. Partnering with the Coral Restoration Foundation, the Marine Cove will highlight the foundation’s process of restoring reefs in the Caribbean and on display will be the threatened Staghorn Coral and endangered Elkhorn Coral. Only a few public aquariums in the country are capable of caring for these types of corals, Willard said.

To make a donation to the Caribbean Cove Challenge, call 605-334-9466 or visit www.SertomaButterflyHouseandMarineCove.org/Charli to make a donation.

IMAGE: Isabella Esse, 5, of Jacksonville, Fla., checks out the pop-up dome aquarium in the Marine Cove area Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015, at the Sertoma Butterfly House and Marine Cove in Sioux Falls. The Sertoma Butterfly House and Marine Cove is in the process of raising $30,000 to replace their Caribbean exhibit.
(Photo: Joe Ahlquist / Argus Leader)

For more on this story go to: http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/2015/12/29/donors-match-10k-new-aquarium/78022908/

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