A leopard shark swimming past kelp in the Kelp Forest exhibit


Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery Honors Julie Packard

Painted portrait of Julie Packard in front of the Kelp Forest exhibit
Julie's portrait will be on exhibit at the museum through November 2020.

She's the second woman in the marine sciences to be included in the museum.

As an advocate for women in science, it's fitting that Executive Director Julie Packard has been honored as an ocean conservation leader by one of the nation's top museums.

The Smithsonian Institute's National Portrait Gallery commissioned a portrait of Julie, which was officially unveiled just after Earth Day in April. Julie is only the second woman in the marine sciences and conservation — along with Rachel Carson — to be included in the museum.

The vividly colored painting of Julie standing in front of the Kelp Forest exhibit was created by New York City-based artist Hope Gangloff. Hope said that Julie's commitment to protecting the ocean inspired her during her visits to the Aquarium for the portrait sitting. The painting reflects Hope's affinity for large-scale canvases and bright color palettes and features the marine life of the Aquarium's signature Kelp Forest exhibit.

"We are delighted to recognize Julie Packard as one of the leading women in science and for her extraordinary contributions to the field of ocean conservation," said Brandon Brame Fortune, the museum's chief curator. "This painting...is Hope Gangloff's first major museum commission. It was a pleasure to bring these two women figures together to create a piece of history."

The museum praised Julie for having "redefined aquariums as a force for conservation."
"Under her direction, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has expanded the public's world view by bringing new marine life to light — from jellies to a living kelp forest, deep-sea animals to the open sea," Brandon added.
"Since the 1980s, the institution has developed as a leader of public engagement in the field of environmental science."

More What's New

Teachers collaborating on assignment while sitting on rocks

An Impactful Debut for the Bechtel Education Center

The school year has just begun and our new Bechtel Education Center is already having an impact.

Over the summer, we hosted more than 300 teens in Young Women in Science and Teen Conservation Leader programs, making great progress toward our goal of reaching nearly 500 teens annually within the next few years.

We welcomed nearly 200 teachers during our six, week-long professional development institutes. Most will return for follow-up sessions with our team during the school year. Just like our teen programs, we're on track to reach more teachers than ever with the ecosystem-based science institutes we offer during the summer and throughout the year via online, onsite and conference workshops.
In September, we hosted our first programs for visiting school groups in our new Learning Labs at the Bechtel Education Center. The new center gives us the space needed to provide all visiting classes with the opportunity to participate in informative hour-long programs led by our educators.
We also launched some exciting new programs for teens, like the Design for the Ocean and Teen Researcher options for students, as well as the Maker and Leadership training tracks.
Teachers took part in new summer institutes, including a coastal systems program for educators from districts that prioritize building environmental literacy. In late September, we'll pioneer a three-day Climate Action Projects Summit for educators who want to support the next generation of changemakers with resources to help them identify and act on climate-related opportunities in their communities.
To all the members and donors who made the Bechtel Education Center possible — thank you. Your continued support through donations to our education programs and our Children's Education Endowment Fund is making a difference in the lives of many students and teachers.

A school of sardines swimming

Your Thoughts Matter!

Last year, we surveyed our members by phone and mail to ask for your thoughts about how we should address the growing threats to ocean health. The feedback we received has been invaluable. Thanks to everyone who took the time to participate in the survey.

The results align strongly with our strategic vision of how we can work with our donors, our community, businesses and public of cials to ensure that the ocean will thrive for generations to come.

When asked to identify the most urgent issues surrounding ocean conservation, the top three responses were:
  • 38% Ocean plastic pollution
  • 32% Climate change
  • 28% Overfishing
As a follow-up question, when asked which Aquarium programs we should expand, the top three responses were:
  • 34% Education programs
  • 23% Fieldwork to save vulnerable ocean species
  • 22% Sustainable seafood initiatives like Seafood Watch
The Aquarium is thankful to have so many loyal members and donors. With your dedication and support, we'll continue to do all we can to inspire conservation of the ocean. Thank you!
If you'd like to learn more about the Aquarium's impact on ocean conservation, read our 2018 Annual Review.