E-Newsletter Articles

February 2015

New marine mammals at the Seattle Aquarium!

Mishka, new 6 month old sea otter pup at Seattle Aquarium

We at the Seattle Aquarium were happy to receive exciting marine mammal news—not once, but twice in recent weeks. In December, we learned that our facility had been selected as the new home for an orphaned northern sea otter. Mishka, which is Russian for “little bear,” arrived at the Aquarium on the night of January 30.

After being caught in a fishing net as a very young pup in July 2014, Mishka was rescued, rehabilitated at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, Alaska, and deemed non-releasable by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. She’s now just over six months old and weighs just under 30 pounds. Her caretakers at the Alaska SeaLife Center reported that she enjoyed her diet of surf clams, crab, mussels, capelin, squid, herring and pollock—and that she seemed to have a lot of fun with enrichment activities, particularly playing with piles of ice! Be sure to come see Mishka on your next visit to the Aquarium.

The great news continued with the announcement that two young, male fur seals will be making their way to the Seattle Aquarium from the New England Aquarium on February 11. Our own Commander was relocated to the New England Aquarium as part of a breeding exchange. Watch for our next edition, when we’ll share information about the status of northern fur seal populations in zoos and aquariums across the country; details about our new “boys;” and Commander’s transfer to the New England Aquarium. In the meantime, plan to say hello to Flaherty and Leu on your next visit—they should be available for viewing on February 12!

Creativity in Conservation aims to inspire teen artists

Creativity Inspiring Conservation

A new session of our Creativity in Conservation (CIC) has just begun! This popular youth program, launched in 2013, aims to empower high school students to create awareness about environmental topics through a variety of artistic mediums.

CIC was developed with the idea that high school students have the creativity and passion to inspire change in the way we view conservation. The program matches youth participants with Aquarium educators and professional artists to learn about marine conservation issues, then create art that reflects what they’ve learned and how they feel about it.

Comments Youth Engagement Mentor Kate Burnley, “CIC was born from the thought that young people have the power to change the world. We’re asking high school students to dedicate their time to learn about the issues facing our marine environment, and their artistic skills to convey what they’ve learned.” She continues, “Through the process, they discover that the conversations they have about conservation don’t have to be limited by words.”

With that said, words—in the form of creative writing—are the focus of some of CIC’s offerings. The current CIC session, composed of weekly classes as well as one- and two-day workshops, features “Comics & ‘Zines” and “Creative Writing & Audio Installation” in addition to choices like “Drawing,” “Painting” and “Photography.” The marine conservation topics being studied run the gamut from fishing practices to pollution to wildlife diversity.

With generous donor support, the Seattle Aquarium is able to offer CIC as a free program, open to current high school freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors. Registration is still open for the majority of CIC’s winter/spring offerings. For details and registration information, visit SeattleAquarium.org/creativity.

Outstanding individuals honored at annual Chairman’s Dinner

Chairman's Dinner at the Seattle Aquarium

The Seattle Aquarium held its annual Chairman's Dinner on January 27. After board Chair Randy Tinseth described 2014's highlights and goals for the new year, awards were presented to three exceptional leaders.

Each year the Seattle Aquarium Medal is bestowed upon an individual whose leadership and lifetime accomplishments reflect our mission of Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment. The 2015 Medal went to Martha Kongsgaard, chair of the Leadership Council of the Puget Sound Partnership. Among her many achievements, she is the co-founder of the Kongsgaard-Goldman Foundation, which gives grants to nonprofit environmental, social justice and arts organizations, in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, many of which are having a significant impact in Puget Sound.

The Seattle Aquarium also awards an annual $10,000 research grant to the Seattle Aquarium Research Center for Conservation and Husbandry (SEARCCH) in honor of an influential leader in this arena. The 2015 Seattle Aquarium Research Award recipient was Dr. Terrie Klinger, director and professor at the UW School of Marine and Environmental Affairs; Stan and Alta Barer endowed professor of sustainability science; and adjunct professor at the UW School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences. An applied marine ecologist, Dr. Klinger’s research interests include ocean acidification and ocean change.

The Scott S. Patrick Inspirational Award was named for the late Aquarium board member and Seattle Seahawks executive who served with extraordinary passion. The award annually recognizes the Seattle Aquarium board member whose service best exemplifies the passion, leadership and enthusiasm which characterized Scott Patrick’s life and board service. The 2015 award was bestowed upon Stuart Rolfe, whose 15 years on the Aquarium board have had many highlights, including serving as board chairman in 2008 and 2009; co-chairing the 2007 New Currents capital campaign; and co-leading the transition of the Seattle Aquarium to nonprofit management in 2010. Last year he stepped in to help close out the successful Harbor Seal Capital Campaign.

Save the dates for SeaChange and Splash!

SeaChange 2015

You’re invited! The Seattle Aquarium will host its annual fundraising breakfast, SeaChange, on March 12, 7:30–9am at the Seattle Waterfront Marriott. Chaired by Ivar’s CEO and Aquarium board member Bob Donegan, the event will feature Ray Troll—renowned artist, author and passionate advocate for the marine environment—as the keynote speaker. With engaging imagery, Ray blends art and science in an inspiring way that is uniquely his own (he’s especially well known for his book, Sharkabet, a Sea of Sharks from A to Z.) The suggested minimum donation for this event is $150 per person; all donations are 100% tax deductible and proceeds will support the Aquarium’s mission of Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment. For details and to register, visit SeattleAquarium.org/SeaChange.

Preparations are also underway for our annual fundraising gala, Splash!, which will take place on June 5. The event will feature a reception and silent auction at the Aquarium, followed by dinner and a live auction at the Seattle Marriott Waterfront. Eric Steinwinder of Accenture and Pam Guinn of Clear Channel Outdoor, both members of the Aquarium’s board of directors, are this year’s event co-chairs. The 2015 featured animal? The clown triggerfish!

In the coming months we’ll need your support to make this event a success. Please contact Amanda Simantov at a.simantov@seattleaquarium.org or (206) 838-3924 for more information about Splash! and how you can get involved to make a difference. Becoming an event sponsor or donating an item or experience to the Silent or Live Auction is a great way to generate exposure for your company, product or service. Attending the event is also a wonderful way to show your support! Please note: the Aquarium will be closed all day on June 5 as we prepare for Splash!. We’ll reopen at 9:30am on Saturday, June 6.

A message from our President & CEO

Bob Davidson

The future is looking quite bright at the Seattle Aquarium! The beginning of 2015 marked some important milestones for our institution. On January 1, we officially completed the five-year transition plan for City of Seattle employees at the Aquarium—meaning that this will be our first full year of operations with every full-time staff member as a direct employee of the nonprofit Seattle Aquarium Society. With your support and frequent visits, we also completed the first year of seawall construction with flying colors: we not only increased attendance, we exceeded our fundraising goals as well.

With those successes and others as a foundation, we’re looking forward to two major events this year: the completion of the second year of seawall construction in front of our facility; and the submission of our completed expansion master plan document to the Seattle City Council later this spring. I look forward to sharing details about that plan in an upcoming edition of our donor e-newsletter. And, as always, I thank you for your support of the Seattle Aquarium and commitment to our mission—you are a critical element in our success!