Showing posts tagged as "Education"
Julie Packard: A 30th Anniversary Message
(Julie Packard is a founder and the executive director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium.)
Thirty years ago today, we began a grand adventure. The Monterey Bay Aquarium opened its doors for the first time—and began changing the way people think about the ocean.
What started in the late 1970s as the dream of a few marine scientists has grown to become the best aquarium in the world, and an ocean conservation leader of international stature.
For that, I want to thank you.
The tens of millions of people who have visited over the years, our Aquarium members and donors, the supporters of our Seafood Watch program, and the dedicated staff and volunteers who keep this place humming—all of you have played a critical role in shaping our development, and a future with healthy oceans.
An uncharted journey
We didn’t know what to expect on October 20, 1984. But the excitement, the enthusiasm we felt that day, has only multiplied since then.
Our commitment to admit school groups free of charge has blossomed into education programs that have reached more than 2 million students, thousands of teachers and hundreds of teens who are emerging as ocean conservation leaders. This year, we announced plans for our Ocean Education and Leadership Center that—with your help—will double our impact over the next few years.
We continue to inspire visitors through living exhibits that are second to none—a fact recognized when TripAdvisor® (the world’s largest travel site) named us the best aquarium in the world earlier this year. We were the pioneer of special exhibitions at public aquariums; our current exhibition, “Tentacles: The Astounding Lives of Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefishes,” is the latest incredible accomplishment of our talented animal care and exhibitions team.
A voice for the ocean
Over the years, we have stepped up our role as a voice for the ocean, through a rigorous science program and effective advocacy on behalf of policies to safeguard the health of the ocean and marine wildlife. We’ve been successful because everything we do is grounded in the best available science. That’s one reason we were able to lead the campaign to ban the shark fin trade in California. And it’s the reason our Seafood Watch program has become the most respected source of information for consumers, chefs and major seafood buyers across North America.
We’re expanding our research work to support recovery of threatened ocean species, including sea otters, Pacific bluefin tuna and great white sharks. We’re also more active on behalf of legislation and policy—in Washington, DC, in Sacramento and in collaboration with business leaders as well as colleagues who share our goals.
Shaping the future
Through it all, we have remained true to our founding values: a commitment to science, and to a culture that supports teamwork and innovation. We also recognize that the future of the ocean—and this Earth we share—will be shaped by how well we nurture and cultivate the talents of our children.
It’s a solid foundation that continues to serve us well. It positions us to think about how we can best make a difference for the ocean—and how to turn our aspirations for the future into reality.
Thank you for being an essential part of this journey. The ocean is on the road to recovery, but we’ve only just begun.
(Photo of Julie Packard by Corey Arnold)
Did you know more than 110,000 schoolchildren and teachers take part in life-changing education programs at the Aquarium each year? We’re inspiring a new generation of leaders to act on behalf of our oceans—and we can do more with your help!
Support our new Ocean Education and Leadership Center
(Photo: Karen Hayes @wdnesday)
What makes WATCH a winner? Our “Watsonville Area Teens Conserving Habitats” program recently won a Noyce Foundation “Bright Lights” award for outstanding community engagement. Our Executive Director Julie Packard tells why.
What makes our Discovery Labs special? “The wonder and excitement in students’ eyes,” says one teacher. “Some of them have never seen a clam before!” Learn more in our latest podcast.
Play and learn while helping the Aquarium! Mobile game Alphie the Squid follows a cute and curious squid exploring the oceans—and one dollar from each download is donated to our Children’s Education Fund!
High school senior Graham Foster wants a future in science when he graduates. He took a big step toward that goal when he joined 75 other students from Pajaro Valley High School, Aptos High School and Watsonville High School for the Aquarium’s Watsonville Area Teens Conserving Habitats (WATCH) program.
The award-winning education program begins with a two-week outdoor summer camp and continues through the school year. Boogie boarding, exploring riparian habitats and creating sand sculptures, combined with visits to organic farms and waste-water treatment plants immerse the teens in diverse habitats and introduce them to people who are making a difference in their community.
Alongside educators and local ecologists, the students learn scientific methods to evaluate the health of local wetland habitats. WATCH students gain a better understanding of ocean systems, and their commitment to ocean conservation issues grows stronger because of it. They also become more personally connected to the ocean, committed to conservation and confident in their ability to make informed, environmentally sound choices.
WATCH students continue their summer camp experience in the classroom the following year where they pursue a larger environmental project that involves community awareness and conservation. Several teens previously enrolled in WATCH programs have earned regional and national recognition for their conservation initiatives.
“The impact these high school students have on their community and surrounding environment is very impressive,” says Rita Bell, director of the Aquarium’s education programs. “Their enthusiasm for the environment, for learning and for one another, is infectious!”
Interested? Learn more about our education programs!
Ooey gooey! Pacific Grove teacher’s “icky” approach to marine science may earn a national teaching award, $10,000 and an opportunity to meet President Obama. We’re proud to have Stefanie Pechan on our education staff this summer!
Help us create ocean stewards
(David Royal — Monterey Herald)
WATCH is a winner! Our “Watsonville Area Teens Conserving Habitats” program just won a Noyce Foundation “Bright Lights” award—a national competition that recognizes select museums and science centers doing an outstanding job engaging with their local communities.
The decade-long science education collaboration between the Aquarium, Pajaro Valley Unified School District and the Watsonville community is one of only seven winners nationwide. How well does it work? One clue: Aquarium visitation by Latinos is up 70 percent since 2009 due in part to WATCH and other education initiatives.
Visiting the Aquarium this summer? You’re likely to meet some of our Teen Conservation Leaders. As TCLs, students develop important job and life skills, build self-confidence and earn community service hours. You can’t miss their enthusiasm for our oceans!
Learn more about our teen programs
We’re Building a new Ocean Education and Leadership Center for California’s Schoolchildren and Teachers!
Each year, more than 75,000 schoolchildren and teachers take part in our array of free school programs. We’ve always known we can do far more in reaching and teaching students and educators about the oceans, given the right space. On Monday, we became the new owners of two connecting buildings located at 585 and 625 Cannery Row, a short walk from the Aquarium. One is destined to become our state-of-the-art, K-12 Ocean Education and Leadership Center.
Reaching teens and teachers
So what will the new center do? It will mainly offer innovative and highly interactive education programs for teens and teachers—programs that will take advantage of the most appropriate, cutting-edge learning technology.
The Aquarium’s role in science education has become increasingly important at a time when the capacity to deliver 21st century science learning is on the decline in schools. “We have a crisis in science and environmental education right now,” Executive Director Julie Packard points out. “Society’s success will depend on today’s young people having the knowledge, skills and motivation to create solutions to very complex problems.”
The new Ocean Education and Leadership Center will make a significant contribution to science education throughout the state of California. It will allow for some increase in the number of students who can attend an Aquarium education program, and a much deeper impact on many that do. The new 13,000 square-foot center will also allow the Aquarium to better meet California’s Next Generation of Science Standards, while doubling the yearly number of science teachers who take part in our teacher institutes to more than 1,200.
Turning the center from a concept to a reality will depend on a $50 million fundraising campaign that supports our Children’s Education Fund. To date, the campaign has raised $20 million toward that goal.
- Four STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning labs, each large enough to accommodate for 40 students
- A large multi-use space for workshops and video teleconferences
- A new pre-Aquarium orientation space for visiting school groups
- Storage and supply rooms, including for new technology
- A rainy-day lunch space for school groups
- Offices for 35 education staff
- Collaborative meeting spaces for staff, teachers and youth
- A convenient, safe parking lot dedicated to schoolbus pick-up and drop-off
The new Ocean Education and Leadership Center is expected to open at the start of the school year in fall 2016.