ALL ISSUES     |     FALL 2018
Giant red octopus at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Julie Packard
Director's Note

Julie Packard, Executive Director

It's back-to-school season and, although my two daughters are grown, I well remember the excitement we felt as they prepared for a new year of learning. There's excitement in the air at the Aquarium, too, where our Education team is gearing up to welcome the first of nearly 80,000 schoolchildren we'll host this year for free visits and classroom programs.

This school year is notable because—thanks to your generosity—our educators are also preparing to dramatically expand the impact we'll have on each and every visiting school group. As they deliver programs for this year's students, they're also creating new and engaging experiences to prepare for the opening of our Bechtel Family Center for Ocean Education and Leadership in 2019.

When the Center is complete, every visiting student will be able to participate in a classroom program led by our staff, connecting them more deeply to living ecosystems and scientific processes. We'll also double our capacity to serve emerging teen leaders and the teachers we host for professional development workshops.

The building is quickly taking shape, and I look forward to showing it off! Now, our most important goal will be to continue creating dynamic learning experiences for years to come. We need you more than ever to help us make a difference for every student, teen and teacher. I'll be reaching out to you soon, and I hope to count on your support so we can fulfill the promise we made, together, for our exciting new Center.

We're raising our aspirations to make a difference on other critical fronts as well. I'm especially proud of the many ways Seafood Watch, and our work to transform global fisheries and aquaculture, is turning the tide. We're attracting new business partners who are using their purchasing power to drive improvements by seafood suppliers worldwide. The most recent is Red Lobster, the world's largest seafood restaurant chain, which has committed to eliminating all Seafood Watch-rated Avoid species from its menus by 2025. EatingWell magazine recognized the significance of our work in its 2018 American Food Heroes issue.

This month, we played a central role in the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, helping assure that the ocean had a prominent place in the proceedings. I look forward to sharing more about our initiatives to tackle the grave threat that climate change poses to ocean ecosystems.

We're making progress, too, in addressing ocean plastic pollution through the nationwide Aquarium Conservation Partnership that reaches 25 million visitors each year, and by supporting legislation in California that curbs single-use plastic. You can follow these issues on our Future of the Ocean blog.

Earlier this year, our science team partnered with colleagues from Stanford University, MBARI and other institutions in a month-long expedition to the White Shark Café aboard the Schmidt Ocean Institute's R/V Falkor. Collaborations like this, among global ocean research institutions, will be essential to unlock the mysteries of the ocean that remain unsolved.

The ocean is Earth's largest ecosystem, yet too few people appreciate its vital role in sustaining us all. With your generous support, we'll continue to tell the ocean's story—and make a difference.