As someone who talks for a living I jumped at the chance to host a talk show. I have always been an advocate for an online presence, and when it comes to ocean conservation the only way to affect those distanced from the water by land is to touch their hearts with stories and imagery that excites them. I know this all too well.

Interpretation specialist Nathalie Graham with Troy Neale, assistant manager of marine mammals at Vancouver Aquarium.

Interpretation specialist Nathalie Graham with Troy Neale, assistant manager of marine mammals at Vancouver Aquarium.

Having grown up in Zambia, a landlocked country, I had few ties to the ocean. Yet by the age of 10 I knew this was where I wanted to devote my passions as TV shows and interviews with naturalists had sparked my fire for conservation. Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre’s Northern Spotlights Talk Show series is the kind of kindling that has the potential to light that fire for so many others.

I have been surprised at how being a part of this process has touched and affected me. I am surrounded by passionate advocates for conservation on a daily basis, and yet on most days, the daily running of things gets in the way of us having those deeper conversations. Meeting my guests gave me insight into so many other perspectives and so many stories that need to be told.

I often think about my interview with Andrew Qappik, an influential Inuit artist. I was blown away by Andrew’s ability to capture the essence of the Arctic through printmaking. Even more impressive than Andrew’s art was his humility. We spoke about the challenges we both have faced moving to new climates and countries, and through it all Andrew was adamant that the key to happiness in any situation is your attitude. “You must try not to be too critical of yourself or your work; it shuts down your freedom to be creative,” he said. These words have stuck with me and I find myself reflecting on my days through this lens. Whether you’re from Vancouver, Nunavut or Zambia this talk show reaffirms that we are all one big community and need to look out for each other.

Inuit artist Andrew Qappik inspires with his art and his life experience.

Inuit artist Andrew Qappik inspires with his art and his life experience.

Each guest has brought something unique to share and I know my next guest will be no different. I am excited to connect more deeply with the Vancouver Aquarium’s history and its ongoing mission to positively affect our aquatic world. I hope you will join me on this journey.

Blog post by Nathalie Graham, Vancouver Aquarium interpretation specialist and host of the Northern Spotlights Talk Show. Catch her interview with Andrew Qappik here. Find a list of all upcoming Northern Spotlights Talk Shows and archived interviews online.

To learn more about how climate change is affecting Canada’s Arctic — and what you can do to help — visit vanaqua.org/ournorth.

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