View all new releases
Monterey Bay Aquarium Receives Recognition for Sea Otter Conservation and Education Programs
The Monterey Bay Aquarium earned two significant achievement awards for its sea otter research and conservation and teen education programs from the national Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). The awards were announced today during AZA’s annual conference in Kansas City.
“These programs are making significant contributions to ocean conservation overall,” said aquarium Executive Director Julie Packard. “Our conservation programs are helping to understand and protect marine animals in the wild. And our teen education programs are clearly changing lives, and attitudes. The long-term goal of these programs is to ensure that future generations can enjoy the beauty and bounty of the oceans.”
The aquarium earned a significant achievement award in the North American Conservation Award category for its pioneering Sea Otter Research and Conservation program. The aquarium is the only institution in the country that routinely rescues and cares for stranded, ill or injured southern sea otters with the goal of release back to the wild.
For the past 30 years, the sea otter program has played a key role in research and recovery efforts for this iconic marine mammal. It works to ensure their continued survival and recovery through rescue, rehabilitation and release of sea otter pups and adults; collaborative scientific research on the myriad threats that have slowed their recovery; and advocacy for policies that will support population recovery.
The aquarium’s Watsonville Area Teens Conserving Habitats (WATCH) program also earned a significant achievement award in the Angela Peterson Excellence in Diversity Award category, which recognizes “the most significant innovative, productive, far-reaching, program to promote diversity at AZA member institutions.”
WATCH is a community-based program offered to students enrolled in Pajaro Valley High School and Watsonville High School in Santa Cruz County. The year-long program begins in summer and extends throughout the school year, providing students with an opportunity to engage in an in-depth exploration of ecosystems in their community. WATCH integrates academic learning, youth development and community-based conservation projects in a way that connects students with their community and the oceans. Students earn community service hours needed for graduation and are eligible for college scholarships from the aquarium.
Founded in 1924, AZA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation. AZA-accredited members are leaders in global wildlife conservation, and the public’s link to helping animals in their native habitats.
The mission of the Monterey Bay Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the oceans.
– 30 –