One Thanksgiving weekend, while Meighan Makarchuk was visiting her parents in the Kootenays, she came across this old photo (left) of herself posing in front of the famous Bill Reid statue, Chief of the Undersea World. The year was 1986.
She doesn’t remember posing for that particular photo, but she has all sorts of memories of visiting the Aquarium as a kid. “We had a family membership for as long as I can remember; we came here all the time. My dad worked evenings so it was something special we could all do together on the weekends.”
While she loved the animals at the Aquarium, Meighan’s love for animals was nurtured at home. “We always spent time out in nature. We went hiking and camping; we never went to Disneyland.” It was during one of those outings she tried to sneak a snake home in the car, much to her mom’s chagrin.
Meighan was drawn to the fishes and the invertebrates (in the old touch pool at the end of the Treasures of the B.C. Coast gallery), and thought that she might one day take care of them as an Aquarium-employed biologist. There’s no way she could have ever known in 1986 – when the internet wasn’t yet widely used – that she would eventually become the organization’s web content manager.
For 12 years, Meighan has managed the content that goes up on our website and has photographed our conservation efforts in the field. She says the highlight of her career was being present at Levi’s release. “I was there the night he came in, saw him through his rehabilitation, and then to actually see the release happen, it was… pretty incredible.”
With a hand on her hip, Meighan is more committed than ever to being here – 28 years later.
Written by Karen Horak, writer-editor, content and digital experience at the Vancouver Aquarium.