Over its course of 55 years, the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre has evolved from a small, volunteer-operated aquarium to a world-class conservation centre focused on effecting change by connecting people to our natural world.
Ours is a conservation organization that is deeply rooted in the local community, with engaged partners and supporters from coast to coast. Our national conservation programs, such as our award-winning Ocean Wise sustainable seafood program and the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, which we’re now working closely with WWF to expand, engage Canadians in direct action. It’s these actions, such as eating ocean-friendly seafood and joining close to 50,000 Canadians in an effort to keep our waterways free of litter, that have a local impact on our natural world.
Scientific research taking place at our science centre contributes to global issues by creating local solutions that are shared with the international scientific community. This knowledge is being applied to changes in practice to help preserve and protect our aquatic habitats. And today, our scientists along with the people we are connected to, provide an amazing network of shared information…or content, as we refer to it. We work to put those stories in front of people, both visitors to the Aquarium and millions more in the digital universe, to help connect us all to what’s happening in the natural world.
I continue to be amazed by the level of commitment and innovation of our Education team. Every year, more than 60,000 school children participate in a variety of curriculum based programs designed to help teachers provide conservation-based learning outside and beyond the classroom. One example is the B.C. Hydro AquaVan that travels throughout B.C. and Alberta—and soon to the Yukon and Northwest Territories!—to deliver nearly 300 aquatic programs with live marine creatures to almost 11,000 children and families in far-reaching communities.
These programs are not new but, rather, they are long-established and impactful initiatives that help to conserve our aquatic ecosystems and connect people to critical aquatic issues. In our 55th year as a non-profit association, we are exploring even greater ways to engage, amaze and inspire.
I invite you to join us on this journey as we connect you to our natural world and ignite conversation along the way.
Dr. John Nightingale