The Seattle Aquarium is proud to announce that our Beach Naturalist program is the very first winner of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Innovation in Volunteer Engagement Award. The award was developed to recognize achievement in volunteer program development; programs were judged by their ability to engage volunteers in the overall mission and operation of the organization.
A group of 24 Aquarium Youth Ocean Advocates, adult volunteers and staff recently spent time working with King County Parks to plant 725 trees at Soaring Eagle Regional Park in Sammamish. The Aquarium partners with Forterra to purchase trees and coordinate the effort to plant them in Seattle-area parks and forests to help sequester the carbon output from the Aquarium.
In December, one of the Seattle Aquarium’s longest-serving volunteer divers, Janet Hensley, took her last dip in the Underwater Dome—and, notes Volunteer Services Manager Katrina Bettis, “It was a unique dive that she will no doubt never forget.”
Every year, literally hundreds of dedicated, passionate people give their time to the Seattle Aquarium—prepping food for our animals, answering questions from our many visitors, and furthering our mission of Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment. In 2013 alone, 1,380 volunteers donated 96,800 hours to our institution!
The Seattle Aquarium was recently featured on the “Marine Science Today” website for its efforts to find its “conservation voice.” The article is part of a series that examines various aquariums and marine life parks around the world to “find out what kinds of places are out there and if they strive to promote education and conservation of the marine world.”
Orlay Johnson has been involved with the Seattle Aquarium for the past 32 years: first as a volunteer, then as a staff member (in a now-defunct position called “Tour Guide”), and again as a volunteer after he began his 30-year career at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).