For Immediate Release

Dan McFadden 
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Mystic Seaport to Host 38th Annual Sea Music Festival June 8-11

Performers from Around the World Gather to Celebrate Music of the Sea


Mystic, Conn. (May 19, 2017) —Musicians from around the world will come to Mystic Seaport to celebrate the musical traditions of the Golden Age of Sail at the 38th annual Sea Music Festival, Thursday through Sunday, June 8-11. The Festival is the premier sea music event in North America.

This year’s roster includes musicians from Great Britain, France, and Australia, along with singers from across the United States. The weekend’s festivities include daytime and evening concerts, special performances for children, instructional workshops, a scholars’ symposium, and a unique opportunity to witness sea music at work aboard the Museum’s historic vessels.

More than 15 individuals and groups will be featured at the Festival representing the gamut of traditional and contemporary sea music. The French group Nordet will perform their blend of a cappella working songs with masterful modern compositions. The Sydney-based group Roaring Forties is renowned for the powerful impact they make singing unaccompanied folk songs. Rhode Island’s Vox Hunters will present an exciting repertoire of driving dance tunes blended with an unorthodox collection of interesting songs. 

Visitors may also take in performances from The Chanteens, Larry Kaplan, Jerry Bryant, Atwater/Donnelly, Sparky and Rhonda Rucker, Dick Swain, Tom Lewis, The Johnson Girls, and the Mystic Seaport Chantey Staff, including Geoff Kaufman, Craig Edwards, Denise Kegler, and Don Sineti.

New to the lineup this year is Anayis “AJ” Wright, a traditional folk musician who came to sea music through the Chantey Skills class at the Williams-Mystic undergraduate program at the Museum. She performs as a solo vocalist, and plays cello and concertina.

All workshops and daytime concerts in the Festival are included in regular Mystic Seaport admission. Special tickets are required for evening concerts and can be purchased online, in person at the Museum’s entrances, or by calling 860.572.0711. Weekend passes are also available. College students will be admitted into the Festival for the youth rate upon presentation of a current student ID.

As part of the Festival, Mystic Seaport will also host the annual Music of the Sea Symposium Friday and Saturday, June 9-10. The Symposium, co-sponsored by Mystic Seaport, Williams College, the Williams-Mystic Program, and the University of Connecticut at Avery Point, features presentations of themed papers by some of the country’s leading maritime music scholars and explores subjects from history and folklore, to literature and ethnomusicology, along with many other related topics. Admission to the Symposium is free on Friday; Museum admission is required on Saturday.

For more information, including ticket packages, musicians’ bios, and a schedule of performances, visit

This event is made possible by the Friends of the Sea Music Festival, who raise funds each year to generously support sea music at Mystic Seaport.


About Mystic Seaport
Mystic Seaport is the nation’s leading maritime museum. Founded in 1929, the Museum is home to four National Historic Landmark vessels, including the Charles W. Morgan, America’s oldest commercial ship and the last wooden whaleship in the world. The Museum’s collection of more than two million artifacts includes more than 500 historic vessels and one of the largest collections of maritime photography in the country. The newly opened Thompson Exhibition Building provides a state-of-the-art gallery to host compelling, world-class exhibitions, beginning with the current show SeaChange. The Collections Research Center at Mystic Seaport provides scholars and researchers from around the world access to the Museum’s renowned archives. Mystic Seaport is located one mile south of Exit 90 off I-95 in Mystic, CT. Admission is $28.95 for adults ages 15 and older and $18.95 for children ages 4-14. Museum members and children three and younger are admitted free. For more information, please visit  
and follow Mystic Seaport on FacebookTwitterYouTube, and Instagram.



Media Contact: Dale Wolbrink
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First of its Kind Kickstarter Campaign Launched to Help Save Endangered African Penguins


Mystic, Conn. (May 17, 2017): African penguin populations have been declining for the past few decades. Mystic Aquarium joins other Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited members to take action and help reverse this trend. Today, the combined group launches the “Invest In The Nest” campaign on Kickstarter, the innovative crowdfunding platform. The campaign seeks to raise $150,000 to help build and place 1,500 artificial nests for African penguins in South Africa and Namibia.

Beginning on Friday, May 19, Endangered Species Day, guests at Mystic Aquarium will have the ability to see up-close one of these innovative and potentially species-saving nests.

“Mystic Aquarium has been caring for African penguins for 29 years,” said Gayle Sirpenski, Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Management Specialist. “We continue to have leading roles in the African penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP) and AZA’s Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE); two critically important conservation programs that seek to ensure the survival of this endangered species.”

Gayle Sirpenski has been an integral member of Mystic Aquarium’s Research and Veterinary Services team for 25 years. She is co-coordinator of the ‘African Penguin Species Survival Plan’—a cooperative animal management program that makes breeding and transfer recommendations to ensure the long-term survival of the species in accredited zoos and aquariums. Gayle is also at the forefront of engaging global efforts toward saving the African penguin in the wild.

“In my professional career, I’ve seen the population of African penguins decline dramatically due to a host of environmental and man-made threats,” continued Sirpenski. “For the first time in many years I feel a sense of hope that we can finally turn things around for African penguins in the wild. The Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to build artificial nests is a great way for the public to help with this innovative approach to saving a species.”

Mystic Aquarium also supports the SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction®, a program that brings together the expertise and resources of AZA, its members, and partners to help save species from extinction.

Establishing new artificial nests is a priority identified in the AZA SAFE African penguin conservation action plan, and necessary to help save African penguins.

“We’re always excited about campaigns that expand our worldview and actively contribute to innovation around the globe. Invest In The Nest is pushing boundaries in the practice of conservation and bringing optimism and direct action to the Kickstarter backer community,” says Clarissa Redwine, Kickstarter's Design and Technology Outreach Lead for the West Coast.  "This conservation effort takes backers through the process of designing, building, and installing habitat structures that will help save endangered African penguins, helping Kickstarter backers play a vital part in protecting wildlife."

In addition to the satisfaction of supporting this worthy cause, contributors to the Kickstarter campaign will be eligible for a variety of rewards at varying levels of investment, including exclusive behind-the-scenes access to some of the best aquariums and zoos in the country, as well as original penguin art, symbolic penguin adoption kits, t-shirts, totes, posters and more.

The Roger Tory Peterson Penguin Exhibit at Mystic Aquarium is home to 32 endangered African penguins.  While one of the most popular species at Mystic Aquarium, they are also important ambassadors to their endangered counterparts in the wild. A docent is always on exhibit to enhance the guest experience with behavioral and natural history information about the African penguin. World-class animal care specialists conduct feedings twice daily providing further insight into penguin care.

Visitation provides an otherwise unlikely connection to the engaging birds and inspires guests to join in conservation efforts-like the Kickstarter Campaign. Mystic Aquarium’s mission to inspire people to care for and protect the ocean planet is never more engaging then with their two penguin encounter programs. Each unique experience fosters a deeper appreciation for the animals.

“AZA-accredited aquariums and zoos believe we should do more to help save species, which is why we started SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction,” said Dan Ashe, President and CEO of AZA. “We brought together scientists and engineers to help us design the best nest for African penguins. Now we need the public’s help to build and place the nests in South Africa. Invest In The Nest is an opportunity for anyone to help save a species!”

If fully funded, the nests will be constructed by hand in South Africa, helping to create jobs for residents.

To back or follow the campaign, visit the “Invest In The Nest” campaign page


Mystic Aquarium, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, is counted among the nation’s leading aquariums with more than 300 species and an extensive collection of marine mammals, including New England’s only belugas. Mystic Aquarium has been a pioneer in offering guests a variety of up close encounters with a wide range of marine animals. The mission of Mystic Aquarium is to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through conservation, education and research. Mystic Aquarium receives major support from The Coca-Cola Company, Foxwoods Resort Casino, Resorts World Sentosa and United Technologies Corporation. Learn more at


Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and eight other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit


SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction combines the power of zoo and aquarium visitors with the resources and collective expertise of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and partners to save animals from extinction. Together we are working on saving the most vulnerable wildlife species from extinction and protecting them for future generations. To learn more, visit

Mystic Aquarium actively seeks intern for development department

Development & Special Events Intern

The Development Department of Mystic Aquarium is seeking a motivated individual to work alongside the team in its efforts to fundraise for the nonprofit organization. The Department is responsible for pursuing grants, donations and major gifts, as well as organizing special events and managing the donor database. The ideal candidate will be pursuing a course of study in nonprofit management or event logistics, and have strong communications skills. Creativity, attention to detail, and the ability to interact professionally with donors, the general public, and staff are all critical to this internship opportunity.

The Development & Special Events Intern will assist with special event coordination, cultivation efforts, logistical coordination of VIP visits, and administrative tasks. Schedule is flexible within Monday-Friday normal operating hours. Interested individuals should send an application, cover letter, resume, and letter of recommendation to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

For Immediate Release

Contact: Penny Newbury
The Arc New London County
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860-889-4435 x103

May 12, 2017

Knights of Columbus Council 7054 Awards $500 to The Arc New London County

NORWICH—The Gales Ferry chapter of the Knights of Columbus awarded $500 to The Arc New London County as part of the proceeds from its 2016 Tootsie Roll Drive. Thanks to the continued support of the Knights of Columbus, The Arc is able to provide recreation programs and activities, including Special Olympics, to over 170 participants with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) from southeastern Connecticut. The Arc’s Community Life & Advocacy program also offers self-advocacy, support groups for survivors of sex abuse and domestic violence, socialization and work presentation skills, and civic engagement groups that help individuals with I/DD live their best lives. For more information on The Arc NLC’s Community Life & Advocacy program, please contact Denise Tift at (860) 889-4435, ext. 110.


Record Attendance at the 4th Annual Women’s Business Development Council Women-Owned Business Day at the Hartford Capitol

Stamford, Conn. – May 10, 2017 – The 4th Annual Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC) Women-Owned Business Day took place on May 3rd at the State Capitol in Hartford with a record number of people in attendance. Under the theme of “Let Women’s Voices & Worth Be Known,” 16 presenters, including WBDC CEO Fran Pastore and Governor Dannel P. Malloy spoke to nearly 200 attendees about the importance of supporting women-owned businesses and the positive impact they have on the economy. The event gave attendees an opportunity to speak directly with elected officials and business leaders on matters of critical importance to women-owned business, from legislation to improving the business climate in Connecticut to access to capital and funding. 

“As we look to strengthen Connecticut’s economy, women entrepreneurs are critical to our success,” said Governor Dannel P. Malloy. “In 2016, over 112,000 women owned businesses generated a total of $16.5 billion in sales in our state. It’s clear women-owned businesses are a bright spot in Connecticut’s economy and I commend the WBDC for leading the way in facilitating their continued growth.”

“Women entrepreneurs have made enormous contributions to the economy at the state and national level. Women-owned businesses are growing at an impressive rate five times faster than male owned businesses nationally and it’s critical that they have access to the right resources to continue to be successful,” said Fran Pastore, CEO, WBDC. “WBDC Women-Owned Business Day provided discussions with key national and state leaders to drive the continued growth of women-owned businesses and shine a light on their impact on the state and nation.”

Over the past 20 years, WBDC has worked with nearly 19,000 entrepreneurs and business owners from across the state. The WBDC develops women business leaders and strengthens the economy of Connecticut by providing financial and entrepreneurial educational programs and access to capital to start-up, emerging and established business owners. It also manages the WBDC Capital loan fund, the only financial program in the state that provides loans ranging from $5,000 - $50,000 along with one-on-one coaching and extensive financial and business development training for loan recipients.

“As women business owners, WBDC Women-Owned Business Day gave us an opportunity to speak with our elected officials and shed light on the significant role that women entrepreneurs play in driving and growing the economy in Connecticut,” said Camilla Gazal, co-president of Zaniac corporate and owner of two Zaniac Learning Centers in Connecticut and a WBDC client.  “It’s important that we get inspired, get engaged and get involved and that we let our voices be heard.”

“In Connecticut and across the country, women business owners play an important role in growing our economy and creating jobs,” said Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman. “WBDC Women-Owned Business Day is a great opportunity for women business leaders from across the state to talk about the specific issues that impact them—and ensure their voices are heard at the Capitol. Diversity in our business community is important and makes our overall economy stronger.”

WBDC Women-Owned Business Day was sponsored by Traveler’s and Praxair, Inc., and produced in partnership with CTNext, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Connecticut Innovations, a leading source of financing and ongoing support for Connecticut’s innovative, growing companies.

About The Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC)

The WBDC, a 501(c)(3) founded in 1997, is headquartered in Stamford with offices in Danbury, Derby and Hartford. To learn about the educational programs, to donate or volunteer please visit or follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn. 

photo caption:  Fran Pastore, CEO, WBDC addresses attendees at WBDC Women-Owned Business Day at the Hartford Capitol.

Media Contact:

Jessica Antle
Ardent Communication for the WBDC
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