SPRING 2016    /    ARCHIVE
Family in Discovery Lab

What's New

Inspiring Future Generations of Ocean Leaders

Education center

We are very proud that our educational initiatives were recently recognized with a Community Impact Award from the Silicon Valley Business Journal. In accepting the award, Aquarium Trustee Connie Martinez said, "During the past 31 years, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has welcomed more than 2.2 million schoolchildren and teachers with free visits and educational experiences that have inspired them to care more and do more for the ocean."

Our education programs—made possible by the generosity of our members and donors—are helping thousands of children and young adults become inspired future leaders, science and ocean literate, confident and ready to act on behalf of the future of our planet.

This work is so important as threats to the ocean grow more urgent each day. We're at a pivotal time for the planet; we need to reach more children, teens and teachers, but demand for our education programs far exceeds our capacity to serve.
That's why we're excited to be making plans to open a new 26,000 square-foot Ocean Education and Leadership Center in 2018. The new Center is our most important undertaking—one that will benefit the ocean for generations to come and provide every visiting school group with a staff-led program, double the number of teachers in our institutes and double the number of teens in youth leadership programs.
Thanks to the generosity of hundreds of members and donors (many of whom increased their support), we've raised $25 million toward our goal of $65 million needed to build the Center and fund our expanding education programs. We purchased property on Cannery Row and, provided we have the funding, will begin construction in the fall.
The designer of the Center is the award-winning San Francisco architectural firm Mark Cavagnero Associates. Our vision for the new four-story building includes Learning Labs and collaboration spaces, a public exhibit space and a living roof that will augment programming. The LEED-certified building will be both environmentally sensitive and sustainable, with flexible spaces for optimal use.
“Our Ocean Education and Leadership Center will enable us to broaden and deepen our connection with kids, teachers and our community,” says Rita Bell, director of education programs. “It will help us inspire generations of young people and prepare them to act on behalf of the ocean.”

Help Us Build Our New Education and Leadership Center

We need to raise $65 million to make our new Center possible and to support our education programs over the next few years. You can make a difference by joining the donors who have contributed over $25 million so far to help make our new Center a reality.

Make a gift today or call our Development office at (800) 840-4880. Thank you for your generous support.

White shark and fitbit tag

In the Belly of the Beast: A Shark Tag's Travels

"If you were to put a Fitbit on a white shark, where would you put it?" asks Monterey Bay Aquarium research scientist Salvador Jorgensen. "The answer is in its stomach."

Sal and his colleagues are learning where and when white sharks feed by using an electronic tracking device that works like the activity-logging Fitbit. Where a Fitbit tracks steps, the “Daily Diary” tracks tail beats. It also monitors changes in temperature and pressure.

Knowing when and where sharks feed will help researchers identify places that need protection so that white sharks can have plenty of food to eat in peace.
Devices like the Daily Diary are a popular way to study wild animals, Sal says. But attaching them to an ocean animal is challenging. It's relatively easy to place an accelerometer on the leg of a sedated cheetah, but a shark is a whole other kettle of fish. Instead, Sal and his team—which includes researchers from the Aquarium, Stanford University and Montana State University—have the shark do what it does best: eat.
In the wild, researchers lured white sharks to a skiff using a seal-shaped decoy. They wrapped the two internal tags in whale blubber-like putting medicine in a dog treat—and fed it to a shark.
Getting the tag back is easier than you'd think. Like owls, sharks eat their food and later regurgitate solid and indigestible materials. The regurgitated tag floats to the surface and pings its location to the research team.
The stored data tell the story of shark feeding behavior. Sudden bursts of acceleration indicate that a shark is swimming fast to ambush its prey. If the shark is successful, the acceleration is followed by a measurable increase in stomach temperature.

Learn more about our shark research in our Future of the Ocean blog.

The 2015 Paul Walker Award recipients Anjali World and Katie Ridgeway at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Paul Walker Awards: A Lasting Ocean Legacy

Actor Paul Walker's untimely death cost the Aquarium—and the ocean—a great friend. In collaboration with his family, we created the Paul Walker Ocean Leadership Award to honor others who are using their public stature to advance ocean causes.

Now his daughter Meadow Walker has created another lasting way to continue her father's commitment to protecting the ocean: The Paul Walker Foundation. Among the Foundation's priorities will be working with the Aquarium—a place he visited with Meadow on several occasions—to identify exceptional teens who are passionate about the ocean and award scholarships so they can pursue higher education goals.

In October, we presented our 2015 Paul Walker Ocean Leadership Award to pop singer and marine conservationist Anjali World.
Anjali's experience as a teen volunteer at the Aquarium sparked her interest in the ocean. She went on to earn a degree in marine ecology from UC Berkeley and co-founded the nonprofit Jaws & Paws to support recovery of sea turtles, sharks, polar bears and other species—and to encourage others to get involved.
We also recognized 2015 Paul Walker Youth Award recipient Katie Ridgway of Monterey. A Teen Conservation Leader and volunteer at the Aquarium, Katie contributes to marine research at Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station related to the impacts of climate change on the ocean. She's also creating a club for like-minded teens who dive and snorkel, to video and record the health of Monterey Bay. During the ceremonies, The Paul Walker Foundation also made a contribution toward our Ocean Education and Leadership Center, so we can continue to develop new generations of ocean leaders.

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