I think that all Vancouverites will agree that this was a long, hot summer. While people in Vancouver were experiencing record numbers of rain-free days and beach-worthy temperatures the Interpretive Delivery staff and the volunteers at the Vancouver Aquarium were breaking records of our own, starting with the grand opening of our new building.
The Vancouver Aquarium’s expansion provided the Interpretive Delivery, or “Interp” team with exciting new programming spaces that we could use to further amaze, engage, and inspire our guests. We had an opportunity that no one on our team had ever had before to develop the first suites of educational programs that would be delivered in a new building.
We saw this not only as a frighteningly exciting chance to push the boundaries of what we talk about and how we deliver shows to our guests but also as an great responsibility to actually define the type of programming space we were creating.
After months and months of work our team put into our galleries four new programs unlike any we’d ever delivered before. From giant blue whales to harmful micro plastics and from Killer Whale ecotypes to our own emerging culture of citizen science we delivered shows for all interests and all ages. We even taught guests how to properly fillet their own fish!
In order to ensure that we provide the ultimate experience to our visitors the Interp team delivered a whopping 44 educational shows every single day this summer. Each of these shows is specifically designed to connect guests to the important conservation issues facing aquatic ecosystems around the world and inspire them to take action in their own lives to protect this planet. The very best part of my day is seeing that light bulb moment in a visitor when all of a sudden they get it. They understand that they are directly connected to something bigger than themselves and whether that happens through a sea otter show, a sea turtle encounter, or a butterfly release, I can go home knowing that I helped make that possible.
Of course I’m not the only one having these mini-miracle moments every day. The Interp staff is comprised of 25 of the most passionate people you will ever have the pleasure to meet but we’re only a fraction of the educators you can interact with at the aquarium. From our dedicated volunteer team to the Parks Canada interpreters who shared personal stories on areas including the Arctic and Haida Gwaii, all of the staff at the Aquarium are dedicated to engaging and educating our visitors.
It’s these personal stories and more that make the Vancouver Aquarium the truly memorable place that it is. When people come to the Aquarium they may only be planning to see something cool or learn something new but they leave with a new or re-strengthened connection to the animals and the ecosystems around them. That is the heart of our organization and it’s what keeps us going through the hustle and the heat all summer long.
Blog post submitted by Nicole Cann, Manager of Interpretive Delivery at the Vancouver Aquarium.