Showing posts tagged as "education"
By Jim Covel, Director of Guest Experience & Interpretation
David and Lucile Packard intended the Monterey Bay Aquarium to be a gift to the community. However, I’m not sure even the Packards would have envisioned the reach and significance of that gift today. The Aquarium recently released a report detailing some of the indicators of our contribution to the community, including:
- Adding over $385 million to the local economy each year
- Educating 2.1-million school children that have visited the Aquarium free of charge over the past 29 years, plus 20,000 teachers that have participated in free professional development workshops to help bring marine science alive in the classroom
- Inviting 700,000 guests to the Aquarium free of charge since 2002 through our annual “Community Week” and special programs with community organizations and local libraries
- Employing over 500 full- and part-time staff members
Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation
Beyond the impact on humans, we could also consider our work with animals, with over more than 650 injured or orphaned sea otters that have come to the Aquarium; or the dozens of hatchling or injured shorebirds and seabirds that have come our way.
These metrics would certainly be one way to describe how extensive this Aquarium gift has become to the community. However, I also see this gift reflected in the smiles, the inquisitive looks on the thousands of faces—young and old alike—that we greet each day. Perhaps the real meaning of the Aquarium is written on those faces. A generation has grown up in the Aquarium and now brings their children to marvel at the marine life that enchanted their parents. Over 52 million visitors know more about the ocean—and care more—by virtue of their exposure to our exhibits and programs.
Volunteers: We Couldn’t Do It Without Them
While the Packard family certainly deserves credit for launching the Aquarium, a multitude of others have contributed to our enduring success. Over 5,000 volunteers have contributed hundreds of thousands of hours over the past 30 years. Over 60,000 member households, along with donors and sponsors at all levels help underwrite our education and conservation programs. Since that original gift in 1984, a growing community has formed to support the Aquarium’s mission to inspire conservation of the oceans. That community of ocean stewards now stretches across multiple generations, and may ultimately be the greatest and most enduring gift of the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
If you are reading this, you are most likely part of that community that connects with the Aquarium. You are part of that gift that David and Lucile Packard set in motion in 1984, and your interest in taking care of our oceans is a gift in itself. Thank you for being a part of our growing success. Thank you for ensuring the Monterey Bay Aquarium remains an enduring gift for future generations.
The Virtual Classroom: Aquarium Staff Brings Ocean Science to Remote Villages
How do you bring ocean science to a 250-person village in Alaska that’s covered in snow 10 months of the year? Our education staff, in partnership with Skype Education, found a way—all without leaving the comfort of our second-floor Discovery Lab.
Using webcams, a microphone and a live feed via Skype, they were able to teach—and converse—with the fourth- and fifth-grade students 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle, and another class on a remote island in Maine. It’s all part of the Skype in the Classroom’s Exploring Oceans initiative.
“My students are Inupiat Alaska Native from the far north slope of Alaska,” says teacher Megan Gunderson. “I have eight students in my class, four in fourth grade and four in fifth grade. Our village is inland 60 miles from the Arctic Ocean, located on the edge of a major river. All but one student have never traveled out of Alaska.” Learn more about Megan’s class.
At the other corner of the continent, Marcie Look teaches a class in the island community of Georgetown, Maine—also with the help of Skype and our education staff. Learn more about Marcie’s class.
Skype in the Classroom’s November theme is exploring oceans, so the Aquarium has more virtual classes planned for nearby Watsonville, California, as well as in Ontario and British Columbia, Canada. “Skype approached us with this wonderful opportunity to bring the kelp forest to students who might otherwise never get to explore it,” said the Aquarium’s Education Technology Manager Katy Scott. “It’s a chance for us to inspire students all over the globe. And it’s a chance for us to be inspired by their stories, as well.”
Special thanks to Education Technology Manager Katy Scott and School Programs Manager Jennifer Matlock. Learn more and support education programs at the Aquarium.
On January 24 we celebrate a remarkable milestone: the Aquarium will have hosted 2 million students taking part in free education programs! As part of the celebration, Executive Director Julie Packard will be honoring four schools who have participated in free school days for the last seven consecutive years.
We’ll be celebrating our TWO-MILLIONTH free student admission later this month! Have you visited the Aquarium as a student since we opened in 1984? If so, we’d love to have you share your memories and photos here or on our Facebook page!