E-Newsletter Articles

February 2014

Aquarium array enhances awareness of solar power in Seattle

Solar array at the Seattle Aquarium

With your support, the Seattle Aquarium is helping demonstrate that it’s possible to generate solar power in Seattle—even in the middle of a gray, foggy winter with just over eight hours of daylight per day. A new, 49-kilowatt photovoltaic array on the southern roof of Pier 59, a project in partnership with Seattle City Light, is now active and generating power.

The majority of the electricity feeds into City Light’s second “Community Solar” project, where any City Light customer can pay for one or more solar units and receive annual bill credits for the electricity generated at the Aquarium. The balance goes directly to green the Aquarium’s operations.

“We’re among a dozen or so zoos and aquariums across the United States that are utilizing solar power,” says Conservation Manager Mark Plunkett. “And this project is very in line with our mission. It’s not enough to just communicate about conservation—we’ve got live it, too. Our aim is to operate as sustainably as possible. This project is a step in that direction, and our partnership with Seattle City Light is an important one.”

What’s also important is the tremendous visibility offered by the array’s placement on the roof of Pier 59. Passersby—on foot, on bicycle and by car—can easily see it, where it underscores our commitment to serving as a role model and educating the community about what each of us can do to care for our marine environment. Inside the Aquarium, our staff and volunteers are happy to share information about the array. Thank you for your support of this important project!

“More than members:” Aquarium donors Kimberley and Alan Lippman

Window on Washington Waters at the Seattle Aquarium

Longtime Aquarium supporters Kimberley and Alan Lippman are responsible for a burst of refreshed energy and purpose here at the Seattle Aquarium, thanks to a powerful letter that recently arrived with their contribution to our annual fund. They kindly agreed to allow us to share an excerpt of that letter with you:

“It is with pleasure that Alan and I are able to continue to support the excellent work that your organization conducts. We are interested in both the education and conservation elements of the Aquarium, and were recently privy to a behind-the-scenes experience at an Aquarium event that was spectacular. We feel this type of up-close and personal experience is critical to developing awareness of and an emotional connection to what your organization provides.”

The Lippmans have developed a keen interest in our marine environment—they’re avid snorkelers and divers, have been involved with Mark Schrader’s Around the Americas and Ocean Watch programs, and have instilled their love of the world’s one big ocean in both of their children. Their youngest has become adept at identifying many of Hawaii’s reef species as she snorkels with her dad, and their eldest daughter is deeply interested in how best to develop and support sustainable fisheries as part of her “slow food” studies in Italy. They also have a history of philanthropy with what they call “the hallmark experiences of our area,” and note that the Aquarium is a place that “really sustains their interest.” Their favorite exhibit? Window on Washington Waters.

The Lippmans also enjoy the donor events that the Aquarium hosts regularly throughout the year. “They’re a wonderful opportunity for us to introduce new families to the Aquarium in the hopes that they too will become more than just members,” says Kimberley.

It’s supporters like the Lippmans—and the thoughtful words they shared with us—that fuel our motivation to share the Seattle Aquarium’s mission with more people and broader audiences than ever before, and stoke the passion we feel for our marine environment. Our thanks to them, and to you!

Join us for the 2014 SeaChange Luncheon on March 14!

Ted Danson

Mark your calendar! The 2014 SeaChange Luncheon, a special event benefitting the Seattle Aquarium, will be held on Friday, March 14 at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Seattle. Our featured keynote speaker will be Ted Danson, celebrated actor/ocean advocate and author of the 2011 book Oceana: Our Endangered Oceans and What We Can Do to Save Them. We hope you’ll join us for what is sure to be an entertaining and inspiring event! This is a complimentary luncheon with a suggested minimum donation of $200. For more information, or to register, please visit SeattleAquarium.org/SeaChange or call (206) 838-3917.

Marshawn Pinch, the Aquarium’s 12th crustacean, makes a media splash

Marshawn Pinch at the Seattle Aquarium

What has eight legs, two claws, lives in a snail shell and serves as the scuttling back for the Seattle Searocks? Marshawn Pinch! And, with your support, he’s been generating a lot of attention for the Seattle Aquarium and its mission.

Aquarium biologists came up with the original idea for Pinch, noting the similarity between the reticence of Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks running back, to talk with the press and a hermit crab’s propensity to withdraw into its shell. Biologist Kathryn Kegel provided a miniature Seahawks helmet from a vending machine, attached it to a hermit crab’s shell—and a media star was born.

Cartoonist Jim Toomey, creator of the marine-themed strip Sherman’s Lagoon and keynote speaker at our inaugural SeaChange fundraising event last year, provided an illustration of Pinch in “Beach Mode” and the Aquarium began actively promoting the campaign. In the week before the NFC playoff game, visitors eagerly sought out Pinch in his exhibit near Life on the Edge, Aquarium divers showed their Seahawks spirit by wearing jerseys and tossing footballs in Window on Washington Waters, and our sea otters happily devoured Seahawks-themed ice toys.

Promotion intensified in the days prior to the Super Bowl, and the Aquarium’s efforts were rewarded with increasing amounts of media attention. To date, the campaign has been featured on national and local television, radio, print and online outlets. It has generated approximately 11,000 visits to our blog, 12,000 shares, 18,000 visits to our website, 2,000 Facebook followers and 1,000 Twitter followers. All told, the campaign has reached 5.2 million people so far.

Timely campaigns such as this offer a tremendous opportunity for the Aquarium to generate awareness and share its mission with new audiences. We thank you for your support, which helped make it happen!

A message from our President & CEO

Bob Davidson

With 2013 behind us, the Aquarium is planning for a bright future. Our immediate goals for 2014, in accordance with the key initiatives of our strategic plan, are as follows:

  • To protect and energize visitorship during seawall construction while building resources for a more financially sustainable operation, including investing substantially in energy efficiency and adding to our reserve fund.
  • To implement a mission and messaging plan, finalized in late 2013—look for more details in a future edition of this newsletter.
  • To produce and submit our master plan to the Seattle City Council and complete the financial readiness plan to guide fundraising preparation.
  • To successfully complete the transition of employees from City to nonprofit management.
  • To continue the development of shared values, teamwork and cultural identity throughout our organization.

I look forward to sharing developments with you as we work to achieve these goals and others.