From Minneapolis to New Orleans ... Every Drop Counts

Environmental Artist Wyland Brings His Annual Clean Water Tour to the Mississippi River to Paint a Picture of Healthy Waterways

Aliso Viejo, California, UNITED STATES

MINNEAPOLIS, Oct. 4, 2006 (PRIMEZONE) -- As part of its mission to promote the ongoing conservation of the nation's water habitats, the Wyland Foundation, in partnership with the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, will embark Oct. 7-29 on its third annual clean water environmental awareness tour, "Barging Down the Mississippi."

The foundation -- led by renowned marine life artist Wyland -- will show thousands of people in nine states how to "picture" healthy rivers through by working together on a series of large environmentally themed murals.

"We're using art as a gateway to conservation," says the artist, who is best known for his Whaling Walls, mega-sized environmental-themed murals of marine life in over 70 cities around the world. "For a lot of people, that's where the concept of a healthy environment really sinks in -- by visualizing how to protect our rivers, lakes, and streams and the animals that live in and around them."

In 1998, water quality in the United States began to decline for the first time since the 1970s. During the same year, Wyland launched the Wyland Ocean Challenge, an ambitious national tour of 50 states in 50 days to raise awareness about healthy oceans. Now, the artist's foundation has expanded its mission to educate and inspire people everywhere about the importance of protecting all aquatic habitats.

Previous tours have taken place on the East Coast and West Coast, with a focus on coastal habitats. The goal in year three of the five-year program is to share concepts of the interconnectedness of water and visualize water habitats of the Mississippi River watershed in their natural states.

The 23-day tour will begin at the headwaters of the Mississippi, where Wyland, community volunteers, and science educators will join families for a day celebrating the natural wonders of the Mississippi River ecosystem. The tour will include painting events at zoos, aquariums, museums, and schools in Minneapolis, Dubuque, Madison, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Springfield, Memphis, Jackson, and New Orleans, and promote preservation and restoration of the Mississippi River watershed.

Each event will include water quality sampling, an interactive "water pledge" kiosk where families can learn about and make electronic pledges to reduce pollution, conserve water and change habits, and a running tote board to tally the gallons of water saved throughout the event. The tour hopes to encourage people to reduce water waste by 10,000,000 gallons over the next year. A supplemental classroom education program devoted to protecting water-based ecosystems is also planned in selected cities.

About the Wyland Foundation

The Wyland Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization that inspires people to care about our oceans and related marine ecosystems. Founded in 1993 by marine life artist Wyland, the foundation encourages involvement in conservation through classroom education programs, community service, and art in public places. The foundation's newest book, "Hold Your Water: 68 Things You Need to Know to Keep Our Planet Blue" (Andrews-McMeel Universal), provides practical tips and insights for preserving our most precious resource.

About the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund

The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund is a private, non-profit charitable foundation dedicated to finding sustainable solutions through support of wildlife habitat preservation, species research, conservation education and animal rescue, rehabilitation and release. Since the charity was launched in 2003, more than $2 million has been awarded to support hundreds projects worldwide. More information about the Fund can be found online at