Watching Vivian Judge excitedly point out animals in the Strait of Georgia exhibit to visitors gives me the impression that she was born to do this. Except she doesn’t feel that way. She chuckles when she recounts that teaching as a career was “obvious to everyone but me.”
Vivian, a lifelong nature lover, was inspired by her high school biology teachers to continue on in that field. She didn’t really think about teaching as a possible life path until she volunteered at a school in England as part of a working holiday experience after graduation.
An education degree, another stint in England and a baby later, she has her feet firmly planted at the Aquarium where she works as an interpreter. And despite what her friends might think, she doesn’t translate languages; instead, she interprets the natural world and biology to visitors.
Vivian is one of a small army of interpreters that presents at shows and during encounters. They also chat with visitors and answer questions in the Aquarium galleries. Readily identifiable in bright red shirts, these friendly staff are a resource for visitors. What’s the biggest fish in the world? How do dolphins sleep? What are the sea otters fed? They know the answers to all these questions and more.
Find Vivian and see if you can stump her.
Written by Karen Horak, writer-editor, content and digital experience at the Vancouver Aquarium.