Chicago aquarium takes penguins to seafood restaurant, hopes to spread awareness of environmental campaign

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A small group of penguins got to spend a night at a seafood restaurant in Chicago, and it was all done for a good cause.

The Shedd Aquarium scheduled a visit to Shaw’s Crab House for its three Magellanic penguins, Tilly, Dolores and Olivia, which took place during Chicago Restaurant Week.

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All three penguins were able to waddle around the restaurant and receive the physical exercise they needed, according to a press release issued last week. The one-time event was a collaborative effort that promoted the city’s annual restaurant celebration and the aquarium’s sustainability campaign, called “Let’s Shedd Plastic.”

The Let’s Shedd Plastic campaign aims to encourage businesses and residents to scale down on single-use plastics. According to the Chicago aquarium, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought on a 30% increase in waste due to the population’s use of disposable masks, carryout containers and delivery packaging.

The organization predicts that “a great deal” of non-recycled plastics will end up in rivers, lakes and oceans.

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Shedd partnered with Choose Chicago and the Lettuce Entertain You restaurant group to spread awareness for the campaign with its beloved penguin ambassadors.

“The penguins at Shedd have brought joy to millions of people across the globe since the start of the pandemic, expanding the aquarium’s digital audience and enabling us to bring some of the world’s most pressing environmental issues to the forefront,” Jaclyn Wegner, Shedd’s director of conservation action, told Fox News. “In this most recent visit to Shaw’s Crab House in Chicago, a Lettuce Entertain You restaurant, their natural curiosity helped us introduce an important conversation about plastic pollution plaguing our waterways.”

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    The Shedd Aquarium scheduled a visit to Shaw’s Crab House for its three Magellanic penguins, Tilly, Dolores and Olivia, which took place during Chicago Restaurant Week. (Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez)

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    All the penguin ambassadors were able to waddle around the restaurant and receive the physical exercise they needed, according to Shedd Aquarium. ​​(Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez)

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Wegner added: “This field trip to Shaw’s was also a celebration of the Lettuce Entertain You restaurant group’s commitment to cut back on plastic use where possible, which came to fruition through Shedd’s new program for restaurants, called Let’s Shedd Plastic. Since first launching this Let’s Shedd Plastic program a month ago, more than 140 restaurants have committed to cutting back on single-use plastic use.”

In the long-run, folks at Shedd Aquarium hope the environmental campaign helps the world get closer to “a plastic-free future.”

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The aquarium’s partner, Choose Chicago, organizes Chicago Restaurant Week, which is set to end on Sunday, April 4. The 17-day event has had an extended run due to the pandemic, and nearly 300 local restaurants have participated.

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