E-Newsletter Articles

November 2012

Longtime Aquarium volunteer honored

Deanna Saxbe

Deanna Saxbe, a Seattle Aquarium volunteer for the past 17 years and an associate scientist at Amgen, recently received the company’s Excellence in Volunteering award for Washington State. It includes a $5,000 donation to our animal care program, which is in addition to the $2,000 that Amgen donated in Deanna’s name this year as part of their volunteer matching-hours fund. “It’s really wonderful how Amgen supports the institutions where their staff volunteer time,” she comments.

Reflecting on what inspired her to give her time to the Aquarium, Deanna says, “Having lived in such a beautiful city as Seattle all my life, I have always been drawn to and loved the water. That love evolved into the knowledge that I would work all my life toward the protection and conservation of marine habitats and their inhabitants.” She continues, “Being a part of the Seattle Aquarium has given me the opportunity to care for a variety of creatures who act as conservation ambassadors for their kind in the wild.”

We are tremendously grateful for Deanna and the spirit of commitment and service that is so evident in her words—and to Amgen, for their support and recognition of her efforts on our behalf. Deanna can currently be found in our Birds and Shores exhibits on Sundays; stop by to say hello on your next visit to the Aquarium! To make your own donation, visit us on the web.

A family affair: Jones family philanthropy

Jones Family

Bruce Jones started coming to the Aquarium with his sister, Missy Ross, when they were young. “Our mother was a big fan of the Aquarium,” he says.

After he grew up and had kids and grandkids of his own, Bruce brought them here, too. Maybe there’s something in the water, but his daughter, Jessica, ended up volunteering here after college. Missy has involved her children and grandchildren as well to share the many wonders of the sea and coastal waters, and has worked with the Aquarium board. Their mother, Grace Jones, would be so proud!

When the Aquarium decided in 2011 to renovate our harbor seal enclosure, The Jones Family Foundation was our first donor to the project. The Foundation likes funding multiyear projects—in fact, they’d just finished a major project with another nonprofit and were looking for something new to invest in when they heard about the harbor seal campaign.

Why harbor seals?
“The Aquarium is a wonderful asset, with an opportunity to play a bigger role on the waterfront in the future,” Bruce says. “Plus, it’s exciting to get in on the ground floor.” He adds that his is a boating family, with strong personal and business ties to the Sound. A new exhibit for the seals will provide increased educational opportunities for kids in the region. It also gives the Jones Family Foundation the satisfaction of seeing tangible results from their donation. But Bruce Jones’ number one reason for supporting the Harbor Seal Project?

“The harbor seals need it,” he says.

A new calf for J pod!


In early August a new orca calf was sighted on the west side of San Juan Island, swimming with its mother Hy’Shqa (J37). Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research reported that the calf was breathing regularly and looked healthy.

In September, the calf rolled over and revealed its sex: a boy! Because orca calves aren’t named until they survive their first winter—a good indicator of their long-term prospects for survival—the calf will be referred to solely by its alphanumeric designation, J49, for the time being. All sightings to date indicate he’s doing well.

Adult members of the Southern Resident community, composed of J, K and L pods, were also sighted frequently in the waters of Puget Sound throughout September and October. This is relatively common, as Southern Resident whales follow salmon runs into central and southern Puget Sound during the fall and winter after spending the summer further north near the San Juan islands.

The entire Southern Resident community is listed under the Endangered Species Act, and the new calf’s arrival brings the community’s population to just 86 whales. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has identified three primary threats to their population: scarcity of food (salmon); high levels of contaminants from pollution; and disturbance from vessels and sound.

What can you do to help our local orcas, including J49, survive and thrive? Support sustainable fisheries—the Seafood Watch program is a great place to start. Join the Seattle Aquarium in switching to non-toxic cleaning products. Follow guidelines for whale watching or, better yet, watch from shore. And encourage your friends and family to do the same!

Also, read about Seattle Aquarium Community Engagement Manager Darcie Larson’s experiences assisting NOAA scientists with their research on our local endangered orcas.

Finding Vino: an after-hours Aquarium extravaganza

Finding Vino 2012

Our fall premier donor event, Finding Vino, makes its return in mid-November and promises to be just as popular as ever. The event offers a wonderful way for us to thank our major donors and closest benefactors with a special after-hours Aquarium experience featuring tastings of a delectable selection of Washington wines.

This year’s event, sponsored by Union Bank, will feature offerings from 12 wineries; nearly 300 guests are expected. Interested in joining us next year? Visit our website for information about our various donor club levels.

Discover Science weekend
November 10–12


Come learn the “how” and “why” behind some of the fascinating research projects currently taking place in our area! Discover Science weekend, formerly known as Family Science weekend, will take place at the Aquarium from 9:30am to 5pm on November 10, 11 and 12.

You and your family will have a chance to meet local scientists from institutions such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the University of Washington and the Seattle Aquarium as they present their work and findings. Discover the latest on topics ranging from ocean acidification to animal research to remote operated vehicles (ROVs).

A Message from our President & CEO

Bob Davidson

Seattle Aquarium to host Governor’s event to hear ocean acidification panel’s final recommendations

On November 27, the Seattle Aquarium will have the honor of hosting Governor Gregoire’s blue-ribbon panel on ocean acidification as they present their final recommendations as part of the Washington Shellfish Initiative.

Convened in March of this year and led by Bill Ruckelshaus and Jay Manning, the panel is the first of its kind in the nation. Its charge has been to document the current state of scientific knowledge and suggest ways to advance our scientific understanding of the effects of ocean acidification; and to recommend actions to respond to increasing ocean acidification, reduce harmful effects on Washington’s shellfish and other marine resources, and adapt to the impacts of acidified waters.

The fact that the Seattle Aquarium was selected as the site for this important event offers continuing evidence that we are the region’s green gathering place and convener of marine conservation organizations and issues related to Puget Sound. We will look forward to hearing the panel’s recommendations, and to fulfilling our role in educating the public about them.