The children (aka – budding marine biologists) joining us for this summer’s AquaCamps at the Vancouver Aquarium are going to hang out with some truly amazing people. While reading the staff profiles below, you might notice they all have a few things in common: they are highly educated, have lots of experience working with children, love nature, love the ocean and its animals (well, really all animals), and are super passionate about sharing their excitement for science with young people. This summer’s AquaCamps beginning in July are going to be absolutely fantastic and we can’t wait!
The Aquarium’s AquaCamps are summer day camps for children entering grades K-8 in the fall of 2014. They run weekly throughout July and August, and we still have spots available during the last week of July and all of August. To register and for more information on AquaCamps, visit vanaqua.org/aquacamps.
Now, for the impressive line-up of this year’s AquaCamps staff:
Danika has been an enthusiastic part of the Vancouver Aquarium team since 2011, where she loves spending time volunteering with school programs, leading overnight adventures during sleepovers and taking care of animals in the Wet Lab. After completing her Bachelor of Science degree, Danika first joined AquaCamps in 2013 and continued on to be part of 2014 spring AquaCamps team. You can often spot Danika out in the galleries with a clownfish hat on her head, a group of campers doing their best shark fins or octopus arms impression, and telling fun tales about every animal here at the Aquarium.
Jessica was born and raised right in B.C.’s Lower Mainland, where she received her education in wildlife conservation at BCIT. She has a keen passion for both sharing and learning about what everyday people can do to help our amazing ecosystems and the great creatures that inhabit them. This passion has driven her to work for a number of nonprofit environmental organizations all around the world. This will be her second year with AquaCamps and she can’t wait to share what she’s learned with the eager campers.
Matthew’s connection to the ocean began even before he was able to walk. As a young baby, the only thing that could calm his cries was the crashing of the waves or the trickling of running water. Matt’s affection for the ocean only deepened as he grew up on it, in it and around it. The vastness and wonder of the ocean never ceases to amaze him. Matt is currently completing his degree from Queens University and this is his first summer as a camp educator. He is beyond excited to begin the summer!
Gerardo’s passion for the oceans was motivated by strange, yet equally amazing organisms like jellyfish and kelp. He’s full of quirky facts, and can tell you which seaweed can be used to make pickles, or which animal breathes through its bum.
Gerardo has been an AquaCamp educator since 2012 and is currently completing his degree in biology at UBC. He spent last fall studying at Bamfield’s Marine Science Centre and can’t wait to share some weird and fun facts with this year’s AquaCampers.
“Petit poisson, petit poisson, nage nage nage…”
Maggie’s first song learned in school was about a little fish swimming in the ocean, and it has stuck with her ever since. Now, twenty years later and a current Vancouver Aquarium member, she is ready to dive into the new and exciting world of AquaCamps as an educator. Maggie just completed her degree in chemistry from UBC this spring and has also worked with children for many years at various local organizations. She can’t wait to meet all the campers, explore the mysterious ocean and have fun!
Dave has a passion for the biological sciences and ecology. He loves the outdoors and has worked in the remote Canadian High Arctic, Northern Alberta and British Columbia. As a qualified teacher, he has taught elementary, high school and post-secondary students in a range of scientific disciplines. Dave also believes environmental stewardship can be fostered through direct interaction with plants and animals. In his own home, he lives with multiple species of freshwater and marine life, red-eyed tree frogs, hamsters, a cat, and a dog named Moose.
Gabriella’s love for the ocean and all things aquatic began when she would visit the beach at a young age and be in awe of the wildlife that thrived there. She has followed her passion for aquatic life and is now studying applied animal biology at UBC.
In 2010, she joined the AquaCamps team as a volunteer, and as of 2012 has been an educator. Gabriella is looking forward to sharing her love for the oceans and all its wonders with AquaCampers this summer.
Nicole’s journey with the ocean began at the young age of three, when her mom took her down to the ocean in the middle of the winter. Despite the ice-cold December water, Nicole’s mom turned around to discover Nicole standing waist deep in the Pacific. As she grew older, her passion for the ocean and all the critters that live within it grew as well.
She spent a summer dedicated to studying tiny hermit crabs hidden in the rocky intertidal zones of Vancouver Island. She joined the AquaCamps team in 2011 as an educator and is now an AquaCamp veteran ready to lead the educators through another amazing summer. It is said that she is as energetic as the dolphins, as loud as the macaws, and as funny as the clownfish. Nicole can’t wait to share the wonder of the ocean with this summer’s AquaCampers
Laurel is from coastal California where the ocean was a central part of her life. After receiving her MSc in Marine Biology, she moved to Vancouver and became a volunteer at the Aquarium. Now as the AquaCamps manager, she is looking forward to her fifth summer with AquaCamps. She is so excited to continue inspiring young people to be stewards of Planet Ocean and supporting her staff team throughout another super fun and safe summer.