Educational Programs

The Maritime Aquarium's educational programs use the motivating power of live animals and varied marine habitats to make science a positive adventure for your students as they're introduced to scientific concepts, processes and the importance of science in our everyday lives.

Our Programs 

  • Are for grades pre-k through college.
  • Help you achieve academic goals defined by the Next Generation Science and Common Core standards.
  • Vary between 45 minutes and 2 hours in the classroom. Times are listed in each program description.
  • Are for up to 30 students. Groups of more than 30 must book two sessions.
  • Cost various amounts, based on the duration and the number of times we present it to your students. Prices are listed with each program description. 
  • Must be booked at least four weeks in advance, and must be prepaid at time of reservation.
  • Can be tailored to specific needs. 

For special program needs or help in developing a full-day package, call (203) 852-0700, extension 2270.

Click Here to Download our Full 2018-19 Educational Programs Brochure


Programs by Grade

 

Toddlers, Preschool & Kindergarden

18 Months - 3 Years

Tide Pool Tots

We can learn a lot about the big world from just a tiny tide pool. Through active reading, puppet play and hands-on sensory experiences, toddlers observe living creatures found on our local shoreline and learn how our senses can help us to understand our natural environment. Max of 20 students per presentation. 20 minutes, but minimum of two programs must be booked.

In-House: $135 for first two; $110 for each additional two.

Traveling Teacher: $170 for first two; $120 for each additional two. Additional travel fees may apply.


Grades PK-K

Fish Tales

Learning comes to life through stories, songs, lots of movement, and even the occasional live-animal friend. As a Traveling Teacher program, “Fish Tales” is ideal for school settings as well as at community centers, libraries or anywhere that grown-ups and kids can play. Can be booked as a single program or a series, including an After-School Series. 45 minutes.

In-House: $120 for first or simultaneous; $110 for second and additional sequential.

Traveling Teacher: $170 for first or simultaneous; $120 for second and additional sequential. Additional travel fees may apply.


House for Hermit Crab

Hermit crab is outgrowing his shell and it’s time for a new home. Using Eric Carle’s classic story as motivation, students consider the differences between living and non-living things. Students meet and touch live crabs and mollusks, sorting and classifying them by size, shape and other attributes that promote early science skills. 45 minutes.

In-House: $120 for first or simultaneous; $110 for second and additional sequential.

Traveling Teacher: $170 for first or simultaneous; $120 for second and additional sequential. Additional travel fees may apply.

Standards: N.G.S.S – K:  L.S1-1, E.S.S2-2


Meet the Animals

Nothing sparks an interest in nature and science like an up-close meeting with live animals. An aquarium educator will introduce students to live crabs, snails and sea stars. Children will count their legs, describe their body shapes and explain how they feel. Finally, they’ll collect their ideas and observations on an “I Notice, I Wonder” chart. 45 minutes.

In-House: $120 for first or simultaneous; $110 for second and additional sequential.

Traveling Teacher: $170 for first or simultaneous; $120 for second and additional sequential. Additional travel fees may apply.

Standards: N.G.S.S – K:  L.S1-1


Grades K-1

Similarities and Differences

How are members of the same group of animals similar and different from each other? Learning to classify living things is an important early-elementary science skill. Young students engage in up-close examinations of crabs, fish, turtles and mollusks. They use their senses of sight and touch to describe similarities and differences in shape, texture, color and more. There’s nothing like live animals to spark inquiry in young scientists! 60 minutes.

In-House only: $135 for first or simultaneous; $120 for second and additional sequential.

Standards: N.G.S.S – 1:  L.S1-1

Elementary School (Grades 1-3)

Grades K-1

Similarities & Differences

How are members of the same group of animals similar and different from each other? Learning to classify living things is an important early-elementary science skill. Young students engage in up-close examinations of crabs, fish, turtles and mollusks. They use their senses of sight and touch to describe similarities and differences in shape, texture, color and more. There’s nothing like live animals to spark inquiry in young scientists! 60 minutes.

In-House only: $135 for first or simultaneous; $120 for second and additional sequential.

Standards: N.G.S.S – 1: L.S1-1


Grades 1 -2

Life Cycles

Every animal changes during the course of its life, but some more than others. Students make discoveries about life cycles by examining live animals and the shells, cocoons and other artifacts they leave behind as they grow. In this hands-on experience, students are introduced to different types of animals and classify and sequence their life-cycle patterns. They also learn key words related to life cycles, including egg, larva, adult and metamorphosis. 45 minutes.

In-House: $120 for first or simultaneous; $110 for second and additional sequential.

Traveling Teacher: $170 for first or simultaneous; $120 for second and additional sequential. Additional travel fees may apply.

Standards: NGSS – 1:  L.S.3-1 2:  L.S.4-1


Gallery Explorations

In the company of an Aquarium educator, your students see The Maritime Aquarium as never before. These themed, guided tours use the motivating power of the Aquarium’s animals, along with observational strategies for young students, to bring grade-appropriate life science topics alive. Choose one focus for your exploration:

  • Scales, Shells and Skin: Body Coverings and Protection
  • Slithering and Swimming: Movement Strategies

One hour each. Please note: from April through June, Gallery Explorations are offered only before 10 a.m. and after 1 p.m.

In-House only: $120 for first or simultaneous; $110 for second and additional sequential.

Standards: NGSS – 1:  LS1-1 2:  LS4-1


Structures & Functions

There’s no better way for students to learn about the relationship between structure and function than through close-up observations of live animals. Students examine such animals as crabs, sea stars, snails and turtles in considering how every animal’s body is adapted to the things it needs to accomplish in order to survive. (NOTE: horseshoe crabs replace turtles in the Travel presentation.) This program teaches students to look at even unfamiliar animals and draw well-reasoned conclusions about their lifestyles. 45 minutes.

In-House: $130 for first or simultaneous; $120 for second and additional sequential.

Traveling Teacher: $180 for first or simultaneous; $130 for second and additional sequential. Additional travel fees may apply.

Standards: N.G.S.S – 1:  E.T.S1-2, L.S1-1 2:  E.T.S1-2, L.S4-1


Turtle Town

There’s a beach in Hawaii called Turtle Town where people come from all over the world to view sea turtles up close. But your students don’t need to travel thousands of miles for face-to-face encounters with turtles. Students compare turtles of land and sea to discover how the creatures are adapted to their terrestrial and aquatic lifestyles. They examine the look and feel of turtle shells, and, best of all, meet and touch a live terrapin. 45 minutes.

In-House only: $120 for first or simultaneous; $110 for second and additional sequential.

Standards: NGSS – 1:  ETS1-2, LS1-1 2:  ETS1-2, LS4-1


Grades 2-3

Shark Safari

Touching a live shark is a memorable experience. But that’s just one element of this exciting program. Students start off examining shark teeth and jaws, feel the sandpapery texture of shark skin, and learn how superb adaptations have allowed sharks to survive for millions of years. Then, your safari guide will lead students to the Aquarium’s Ocean Beyond the Sound exhibit for a close look at the 7-foot sand tiger sharks. The final stop is our Shark and Ray Touch Pool to safely touch small sharks and a variety of rays (cousins of sharks). One hour.

In-House only: $145 for first or simultaneous; $130 for second and additional sequential.

Standards: N.G.S.S – 2:  E.T.S1-2, L.S4-1 3:  L.S4-3


Aquatic Plants & Seaweeds

Aquatic plants and seaweeds provide a fantastic opportunity for comparison of each other and to the plants that live in terrestrial environments. Students will observe, feel and draw samples of a variety of these organisms, focusing on the structures they share and those that differ depending on the challenges of life on land and in the water. Finally, students will have the opportunity to learn about human uses for aquatic plants and seaweeds and to examine a variety of products made from them. 45 minutes. Offered only April through June.

In-House only: $120 for first or simultaneous; $110 for second and additional sequential.

Standards: N.G.S.S – 2:  L.S2-1, L.S4-1


Grades 3-4

Life Between the Tides

Imagine living in a place that gets flooded every day! That’s the challenge faced by the amazing and resilient animals of Long Island Sound’s intertidal zone. Students read tide charts and learn how the moon influences the rise and fall of the tides. They meet and touch different kinds of crabs, mollusks and gastropods, use an age-appropriate field guide to identify them, and employ their observation skills to explain how these animals are adapted to the daily and seasonal changes in their environment. One hour.

In-House: $135 for first or simultaneous; $120 for second and additional sequential.

Traveling Teacher: $185 for first or simultaneous; $135 for second and additional sequential. Additional travel fees may apply.

Standards: N.G.S.S – 3:  L.S4-3 4:  L.S1-1


Squid Adaptations

Among the most amazing and alien life forms on Earth, squid are endlessly fascinating. Students examine real squid specimens to locate and identify the body structures the creatures use for feeding, moving and protecting themselves. They use tweezers and hand lenses to find a squid’s ink sac, siphon, arms and tentacles, and also compare a squid’s adaptations to those of fish and jellies. One hour.

In-House: $135 for first or simultaneous; $120 for second and additional sequential.

Traveling Teacher: $185 for first or simultaneous; $135 for second and additional sequential. Additional travel fees may apply.

Standards: N.G.S.S – 3:  L.S4-3 4:  L.S1-1


Grades 3-5

Gallery Explorations

In the company of an Aquarium educator, your students will see The Maritime Aquarium as never before. These themed, guided tours use the motivating power of the Aquarium’s animals, along with observational strategies for young students, to bring grade-appropriate life science topics alive. Choose one focus for your exploration:

  • Hide, Seek, Chomp: Adaptations of Marine Animals
  • Behind-the-Scenes: Species in Our Own Backyard

One hour each. Please note: from April through June, Gallery Explorations are offered only before 10 a.m. and after 1 p.m.

In-House only: $120 for first or simultaneous; $110 for second and additional sequential.

Standards: N.G.S.S – 3: L.S4-3 4: L.S1-1, L.S1-2 5: L.S2-1

Elementary School (Grades 4 & 5)

Grades 3-4

Life Between the Tides

Imagine living in a place that gets flooded every day! That’s the challenge faced by the amazing and resilient animals of Long Island Sound’s intertidal zone. Students read tide charts and learn how the moon influences the rise and fall of the tides. They meet and touch different kinds of crabs, mollusks, and gastropods, use an age-appropriate field guide to identify them and employ their observation skills to explain how these animals are adapted to the daily and seasonal changes in their environment. One hour.

In-House: $135 for first or simultaneous; $120 for second and additional sequential.

Traveling Teacher: $185 for first or simultaneous; $135 for second and additional sequential. Additional travel fees may apply.

Standards: N.G.S.S – 3:  L.S4-3 4:  L.S1-1


Squid Adaptations

Among the most amazing and alien life forms on Earth, squid are endlessly fascinating. Students examine real squid specimens to locate and identify the body structures the creatures use for feeding, moving and protecting themselves. They use tweezers and hand lenses to find a squid’s ink sac, siphon, arms and tentacles, and also compare a squid’s adaptations to those of fish and jellies. One hour.

In-House: $135 for first or simultaneous; $120 for second and additional sequential.

Traveling Teacher: $185 for first or simultaneous; $135 for second and additional sequential. Additional travel fees may apply.

Standards: N.G.S.S – 3:  L.S4-3 4:  L.S1-1


Grades 3-5

Gallery Explorations

In the company of an Aquarium educator, your students will see The Maritime Aquarium as never before. These themed, guided tours use the motivating power of the Aquarium’s animals, along with observational strategies for young students, to bring grade-appropriate life science topics alive. Choose one focus for your exploration:

  • Hide, Seek, Chomp: Adaptations of Marine Animals
  • Behind-the-Scenes: Species in Our Own Backyard

One hour each. Please note: from April through June, Gallery Explorations are offered only before 10 a.m. and after 1 p.m.

In-House only: $120 for first or simultaneous; $110 for second and additional sequential.

Standards: N.G.S.S – 3: L.S4-3 4: L.S1-1, L.S1-2 5: L.S2-1


Grade 4

Stream Table Investigation

Geologist Charles Lyell is credited with the insight that water’s powerful ability to shape the landscapes we see today also caused major transformations over the course of Earth’s history. Using the Aquarium’s stream-table models, students conduct an inquiry to discover the role erosion and deposition play in creating rivers and landforms. Students create their own model to learn how natural and fabricated objects can affect these processes. 90 minutes.

In-House: $200 for first or simultaneous; $185 for second and additional sequential.

Traveling Teacher: $265 for first or simultaneous; $200 for second and additional sequential. Additional travel fees may apply.

Standards: N.G.S.S – 4: E.S.S.2-1, E.S.S 3-2


Grade 4-5

Marine World Magnified

As amazing as the marine world is to the naked eye, there are incredible plants and animals that can only be seen with special tools. Students use microscopes and hand lenses to observe different kinds of plankton and invertebrates, which may include barnacles, sea squirts, jellyfish larva, tunicates, brine shrimp and more. Then, they use math and language strategies to describe the scale of what they’ve seen. One hour.

In-House only: $145 for first or simultaneous; $130 for second and additional sequential.

Standards: N.G.S.S – 3-5: E.T.S1-2


Grade 5

Brine Shrimp Inquiry

Through a guided inquiry experiment, students take on the role of behavioral scientists as they investigate how brine shrimp respond to stimuli. Creating hypotheses, recording observations and deciding how to control variables, students engage in an experiment that emulates the scientific process. Afterward, students draw their own conclusions and present their results. One hour.

In-House: $145 for first or simultaneous; $130 for second and additional sequential.

Traveling Teacher: $185 for first or simultaneous; $135 for second and additional sequential. Add’l travel fees may apply.

Standards: N.G.S.S – 5: E.T.S1-3


Grade 5-7

Water Pollution

Long Island Sound and its watershed provide a perfect opportunity to explore human impacts on aquatic ecosystems. Students share their knowledge about sources of pollution and then “pollute” a watershed model to demonstrate how pollutants travel and where they end up. They also discuss strategies for cleaning up the pollution that makes its way to the Sound, and identify ways everyone can contribute to that effort! 45 minutes.

In-House: $130 for first or simultaneous; $120 for second and additional sequential

Traveling Teacher: $180 for first or simultaneous; $130 for second and additional sequential. Additional travel fees may apply.

Standards: N.G.S.S – 5: E.S.S2-1, E.S.S3-1 6 & 7: E.S.S3-3

 

Middle School

Grades 5-7

Water Pollution

Long Island Sound and its watershed provide a perfect opportunity to explore human impacts on aquatic ecosystems. Students share their knowledge about sources of pollution and then “pollute” a watershed model to demonstrate how pollutants travel and where they end up. They also discuss strategies for cleaning up the pollution that makes its way to the Sound, and identify ways everyone can contribute to that effort! 45 minutes.

In-House: $130 for first or simultaneous; $120 for second and additional sequential

Traveling Teacher: $180 for first or simultaneous; $130 for second and additional sequential. Additional travel fees may apply.

Standards: N.G.S.S – 5: E.S.S2-1, E.S.S3-1 6 & 7: E.S.S3-3


Grades 6-8

Gallery Exploration: Sound Ecosystems: Species & Food Chains of Long Island Sound

Led by an Aquarium educator, your students see The Maritime Aquarium as never before. This themed, guided tour uses the motivating power of the Aquarium’s animals, along with observational strategies for middle-school students, to bring grade-appropriate life science topics alive. One hour. Note: from April through June, Gallery Explorations are offered only before 10 a.m. and after 1 p.m.

In-House only: $120 for first or simultaneous; $110 for second and additional sequential.

Standards: N.G.S.S – 6-8: L.S2-3, L.S2-4


Exploring Systems

What are the essential parts of the circulatory, respiratory and digestive systems? How do they work together to accomplish the body’s essential functions? In these comparative-anatomy programs, students are guided in a focused fish dissection. They think not only about how these systems operate in fish, but compare them to their analogous systems in humans. Take each program separately, or combine them for a 90-minute lab. Fee charged for extra specimens.

  • Respiratory & Circulatory Systems (1 hour)
    • In-House: $145 for first or simultaneous; $130 for second and additional sequential
    • Travel: $185 for first or simultaneous; $135 for second and additional sequential
  • Digestive System (45 minutes)
    • In-House: $145 for first or simultaneous; $130 for second and additional sequential
    • Travel: $185 for first or simultaneous; $135 for second and additional sequential
  • Respiratory, Circulatory, Digestive Systems (90 minutes)
    • In-House: $225 for first or simultaneous; $200 for second and additional sequential
    • Travel: $265 for first or simultaneous; $200 for second and additional sequential

Standards: N.G.S.S – 6-8: L.S1-3


Grades 6-12

Sound Resilience - Get on Board!

Hurricanes and nor’easters, sea level rise and coastal erosion! This timely new program provides the opportunity for middle- and high-school students to delve into these local environmental threats through a unique and comprehensive hands-on experience. With its development funded through a three-year grant from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this program consists of three sessions: two in your classroom and one on Long Island Sound aboard the Aquarium’s hybrid-electric research vessel. Onboard the boat, students will collect environmental data and biological samples, and evaluate the resilience of their home coastline. An exploration of urgent real-world issues linking science and citizenship, “Sound Resilience – Get On Board!” provides an unprecedented opportunity for students to learn how the work of scientists is relevant to students’ everyday lives and the futures of their communities.

Sessions 1 and 3: 1 hour each in your classroom

Session 2: 2-hour cruise on the Aquarium’s research vessel

Through Spring 2019, FREE to schools in these communities: Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, New Canaan, Norwalk, Westport, Wilton, Weston, Fairfield, Bridgeport and Stratford.

Cost for schools in communities other than the 11 above: $1,100 for three sessions. Please contact us about possible financial assistance.

For more details about “Sound Resilience: Get on Board!” and how to apply, email abunge@maritimeaquarium.org or call (203) 852-0700, extension 2208.

High School

Grades 6-12

Sound Resilience - Get on Board!

Hurricanes and nor’easters, sea level rise and coastal erosion! This timely new program provides the opportunity for middle- and high-school students to delve into these local environmental threats through a unique and comprehensive hands-on experience. With its development funded through a three-year grant from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this program consists of three sessions: two in your classroom and one on Long Island Sound aboard the Aquarium’s hybrid-electric research vessel. Onboard the boat, students will collect environmental data and biological samples, and evaluate the resilience of their home coastline. An exploration of urgent real-world issues linking science and citizenship, “Sound Resilience – Get On Board!” provides an unprecedented opportunity for students to learn how the work of scientists is relevant to students’ everyday lives and the futures of their communities.

Sessions 1 and 3: 1 hour each in your classroom

Session 2: 2-hour cruise on the Aquarium’s research vessel

Through Spring 2019, FREE to schools in these communities: Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, New Canaan, Norwalk, Westport, Wilton, Weston, Fairfield, Bridgeport and Stratford.

Cost for schools in communities other than the 11 above: $1,100 for three sessions. Please contact us about possible financial assistance.

For more details about “Sound Resilience: Get on Board!” and how to apply, email abunge@maritimeaquarium.org or call (203) 852-0700, extension 2208.


Grades 9-12

The Science of Diving

Survival underwater poses a myriad of physical, biological and chemical challenges. In a program that bridges the sciences, students examine how marine animals are adapted to overcome these challenges, and the ingenious technologies humans have developed to do so. Experiments focusing on pressure and how light and sound travel through water provide hands-on engagement with some of the key issues involved in underwater survival. Students also meet a member of the Aquarium’s dive team to learn what’s involved in learning to dive, and what it’s like to be submerged with the large sharks in our “Ocean Beyond the Sound” exhibit. 75 minutes.

In-House only: $150 for first or simultaneous; $140 for second and additional sequential.

Standards: N.G.S.S – P.S4-1, L.S4-2


Sound Sentinels

How do scientists measure climate change, and what tells them if it’s having an impact on habitats and species? It’s all about sentinels. In this program, students learn about the biotic and abiotic sentinels that scientists use to understand the effects of a changing climate on Long Island Sound. After collecting and analyzing water-quality data and up-close examination of live animal sentinels, the program culminates with an immersive role-playing activity. Students adopt the perspectives of a variety of community members as they debate issues related to the health and management of the Sound. 90 minutes.

In-House only: $175 for first or simultaneous; $160 for second and additional sequential.

Standards: N.G.S.S – L.S2-2, L.S4-5, E.S.S3-5


Behind-The-Scenes Exploration: Aquarium Careers Tour

Explore off-exhibit areas as you learn about the many careers that are involved in making The Maritime Aquarium a great place for visitors as well as for the animals that live here. View the “Ocean Beyond the Sound” exhibit – with its 7-foot sharks – from above and visit our “Fish Kitchen” to learn how our aquarists meet the nutritional needs of more than 1,000 animals every day. Students not only learn about the behind-the-scenes operations of the Aquarium, but what they need to do to work with animals in a similar setting some day. One hour. Please note: from April through June, this program is offered only before 10 a.m. and after 1 p.m.

In-House only: $120 for first or simultaneous; $110 for second and additional sequential.


Behavioral Husbandry Lab

Learn the fundamentals of how we study animal behavior and why enrichment is beneficial to animals in human care. Students receive first-hand experience being creative in designing and building an enrichment object for Aquarium animals using food and other sensory materials. Then students meet with a member of our Animal Husbandry department, who will put the enrichments in with the animals. Students then complete ethogram behavior surveys, logging how the animals interact with their enrichment item. 2 hours.

In-House only: $350 

Must be booked at least 4 weeks in advanced. Limited to two bookings per month. Simultaneous and sequential programs not available on the same day.


Shark Anatomy & Evolution

For decades, sharks have been called “living fossils.” But recent studies have challenged the notion that sharks have changed little over the course of evolutionary time. Guided by the Aquarium’s expert instructors, students work in groups dissecting small sharks to investigate shark adaptations and why they’ve been so successful. Students also learn about the relationship between bony and cartilaginous fish, and why many shark species are now threatened. 105 minutes. Fee charged for extra specimens.

In-House only: $275 for first/simultaneous; $250 for second and additional sequential.

Standards: N.G.S.S – L.S4-1

College

Behind-the-Scenes Exploration: Careers Tour

Explore off-exhibit areas as you learn about the many careers that are involved in making The Maritime Aquarium a great place for visitors as well as for the animals that live here. View the “Ocean Beyond the Sound” exhibit – with its 7-foot sharks – from above and visit our “Fish Kitchen” to learn how our aquarists meet the nutritional needs of more than 1,000 animals every day. Students not only learn about the behind-the-scenes operations of the Aquarium, but what they need to do to work with animals in a similar setting some day. One hour. Please note: from April through June, this program is offered only before 10 a.m. and after 1 p.m.

In-House only: $120 for first or simultaneous; $110 for second & additional sequential.

Animal Behavior Lab

Learn the fundamentals of how we study animal behavior and why enrichment is beneficial to animals in human care. Students receive first-hand experience being creative in designing and building an enrichment object for animals using food and other sensory materials. Then students meet with a member of our Animal Husbandry department, who will put the enrichment in the exhibit. Students then complete ethogram behavior surveys, logging how the animals interact with their enrichment item. 2 hours.

Cost is $350. Must be booked at least 4 weeks in advanced. Limited to two bookings per month. Simultaneous and sequential programs not available on the same day.

Study Cruises & Research Charters

Marine Life Study, Environmental Science, and Oceanography cruises, as well Coastal Resilience cruises, are all available as college-level presentations. These give students hands-on experience with scientific sampling equipment and methods. Contact our Reservations Department for details. Plus, our innovative vessel is available for research charters. 

For details, contact Nicki Rosenfeld at (203) 852-0700, extension 2244, or nrosenfeld@maritimeaquarium.org. 

College Internships

The Maritime Aquarium is proud to offer internships for college students in many different areas including education, animal husbandry, life support and more!

An internship is a perfect introduction to biology and the challenges of working with live animals in an aquarium. Often, college students can receive course credit, fulfill degree requirements and gain valuable practical experience by working as an Aquarium intern. Our college interns work with aquarists, educators, volunteers, development staff and marketing staff. Previous interns have gone on to full-time positions at The Maritime Aquarium, Sea World, Mystic Aquarium, Georgia Aquarium, Scripps Institute and other aquariums, as well as careers in related fields, such as veterinary medicine.

Click Here to Learn More About College Internships

Financial Assistance

Need financial assistance? Click Here to Download our Group Financial-aid Form and either email it to reservations@maritimeaquarium.org or mail to: The Maritime Aquarium, 10 North Water Street, Norwalk, Connecticut 06854; or fax it to: (203) 852-8892.

Our Mission

Mission: The Maritime Aquarium inspires people of all ages to appreciate and protect the Long Island Sound ecosystem and the global environment through living exhibits, marine science, and environmental education.

Contact Us

Open Daily 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Phone: (203) 852-0700

10 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT 06854

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