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October 18th, 2021

'SHARKS: On Assignment with Brian Skerry' Exhibition now open at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center in Erie, PA.

September 27, 2021 through January 30, 2022

TREC - 301 Peninsula Drive – Erie, PA

Exhibit Open Daily, 8am - 4pm


Featuring the incredible work of award-winning photographer Brian Skerry to raise awareness about the status of sharks around the world



Erie, PA September 27, 2021- Tom Ridge Environmental Center visitors will come face-to-face or rather face-to-nose with one of the world's most feared predators in the new exhibition "SHARKS: On Assignment with Brian Skerry," opening September 27, 2021. National Geographic Explorer and award-winning photojournalist Brian Skerry has spent more than 10,000 hours underwater exploring the world's oceans with a camera to show why sharks need to be protected and appreciated as an integral species within the ecosystem. The exhibition will include large-scale images and videos—all highlighting Skerry's passion, skill and life-long commitment to conservation of the world's oceans. "SHARKS: On Assignment with Brian Skerry" will remain open at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center until January 30, 2022.


The more Skerry understands these creatures, the more he wants to show them in a different light, as something to respect and value rather than revile and fear. Yet, sharks face many dangers as more than 100 million are killed each year, primarily for their fins.

"Sharks represent an endless well of inspiration, a blend of grace and power that lures me into the sea time and time again in hopes of producing a new rendering that truly captures their essence," says Skerry. "As a journalist, I'm driven by a sense of responsibility and a sense of urgent need to broadcast that sharks are in trouble and need our help."

            "SHARKS: On Assignment with Brian Skerry" allows visitors to dive into the depths of the oceans to swim alongside Tiger Sharks, Great Whites, Oceanic Whitetips and Shortfin Makos while learning about each species' habitat and threats they face. Additionally, they'll get a glimpse into National Geographic's ocean conservation efforts, including the Pristine Seas Project. National Geographic and Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Enric Sala launched the Pristine Seas project to find, survey and help protect the last wild places in the ocean. Through exploration, scientific research, economic and policy analysis, and outreach, National Geographic has worked to establish marine reserves where aquatic life can thrive—while ensuring that they will be effectively managed for years to come. Pristine Seas is one of National Geographic's key initiatives dedicated to environmental preservation.

"This exhibition is another example of the ways in which National Geographic uses its powerful storytelling to make a meaningful impact on conservation efforts," said National Geographic's vice president of Exhibitions, Kathryn Keane. "Brian's life story and his powerful photographs take the standard perception of these feared and iconic predators and turn it on its head. Through their sheer majesty and beauty, his photographs help us gain a deeper understanding of the world's sharks and see them in an entirely new light."

"The Tom Ridge Environmental Center Foundation and two of our major sponsors; PNC and the Honorable Tom Ridge and Michele Ridge are excited to bring this first National Geographic exhibit to Erie and the Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC).   We are working with additional sponsors and SHARKS: On assignment with Brian Skerry is free to the public.  We hope to bring future exhibits like this one to further environmental education and STEAM efforts in our region" says Barbara Chaffee, President of the Tom Ridge Environmental Center Foundation.

Award-winning photojournalist and conservationist, Brian Skerry has dedicated his life to telling the story of marine wildlife and underwater environments—from tropical coral reefs to polar ice. While on assignment, he's lived on the bottom of the sea, spent months aboard fishing boats, and traveled in everything from snowmobiles to canoes to the Goodyear Blimp to get the picture. A National Geographic magazine photographer since 1998, Skerry's work has also appeared in a wide range of other prestigious outlets, including BBC Wildlife, U.S. News & World Report and Sports Illustrated. He's won the coveted Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition 11 times, in addition to many other prizes. In 2014, he was named a National Geographic Photography Fellow and in 2015, a Nikon Ambassador. Additionally, Skerry was honored as the Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year at the 2017 National Geographic Explorers Festival in Washington, D.C.


About the National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 14,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature experiences, stories and content. To learn more, visit


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