The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre was honoured to receive not one, but two prestigious awards at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) conference this past week. Each year AZA recognizes top achievements from zoos and aquariums across North America for excellence in a variety of categories.
The Vancouver Aquarium received top honours with the Green Award for our outstanding environmental consciousness and institutional green practices in creating the Greenprint plan. We are the first Aquarium in the world to be recognized with such an award — a significant achievement. Our green path started long ago but was truly recognized when we opened Aquaquest as the first Aquarium worldwide to receive LEED Gold and ISO 14001 certifications.
The first phase of our expansion was planned and revitalization with these environmental practices in mind and we have continued to embed our Environmental Management System of best sustainable practices into every part of our operations, from our café serving 100 per cent compostable products to our Green Team events to our progressive salt water heat exchange loop to reduce our dependency on electricity.
We were also honoured to receive the Edward H. Bean Award which recognizes a truly significant captive propagation effort that clearly enhances the conservation of the species for our work with Oregon spotted frogs. Now in its second generation, Oregon spotted frogs are an endangered species in B.C. The species has vanished from 90 per cent of its range in B.C. due to factors such as the draining of wetlands, the conversion of agricultural land to housing and urban development and the arrival of invasive species. Dennis Thoney, director of animal operations and his team have been central to the frog breeding program at the Aquarium. We were the first Aquarium in the world to successfully breed the species and has since been working closely with the Oregon spotted frog recovery team and the Amphibian Ark Project to introduce tadpoles into the wild as a way to supplement the existing wild population.
As Canada’s largest Aquarium, we are proud to be recognized for our leading conservation and research work. These are exceptional awards recognizing two of our important, long-term initiatives and it takes an entire team of 1,500 staff and volunteers to help these initiatives happen. Thank you to the many people who played a part in achieving these significant milestones.