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A View from the Dry Side

Corinne's avatar

Conservation | Education | Volunteering

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


My name is Corinne and I started volunteering at the Aquarium in 1997, before the Aquarium opened. In a storefront on Pine Avenue called the Preview Center (now occupied by Hooters), volunteers talked to drop-in visitors about the aquarium under construction and sold memberships. When the center closed, we moved on to doing architectural tours where we walked around the outside of the building, explained the filtration system, and peeked in the front window to the Great Hall. Then opening day!

Now, having completed the Aquarium’s first training class for Education Volunteers, I began to share what I had learned about our marine life with guests, efforts that are now called improving ocean literacy. Oh, the stories I could tell! During this time my interest in writing about our ocean environment began to be nurtured as I participated in a group of volunteers selected to develop animal fact sheets and other educational materials including The Passport to the Pacific.

Then an opportunity came to move to the ‘dry side’ as a volunteer for Administration and Marketing, researching and writing about conservation issues and information for new exhibits, and serving as chair of the Volunteer Interpretive Writers Committee, a team responsible for the information published on the Aquarium’s website Online Learning Center, and helping to write reports such as the Aquarium’s three ocean literacy publications. Questions I try to find the answers to are varied. Who were the first inhabitants of the Baja Peninsula and when? What animals surf or live in the surf? What is the history of the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve? Which organizations are leaders in addressing global climate change?

I describe myself as an “environment-hugger” whose concern for our natural world started early in life. My parents could never be accused of raising a child who had ‘nature deficient disorder’. We camped in the Michigan woods, canoed the Au Sable River, swam in Lake Ontario, and summered in a cottage on Mitchell’s Bay, Ontario, Canada. I even fished through the ice! In my adult life I have been able to travel extensively as an ecotourist who has seen changes in Planet Ocean all over the world. And then there have been ‘vacations’ spent helping Fish and Wildlife biologists and scientists involved in Earthwatch Institute research projects—minke whales in Scotland, cheetahs in Namibia, orcas in Puget Sound, southern right whales in South Africa, and two adventures doing albatross counts on Midway.

With these experiences as a background, I have been fortunate to be able to participate in the Aquarium’s escalating conservation movement. To some this may not seem as exciting as hands-on care of our animals, but we need to provide our guests with multiple options to help them move along the way to becoming stewards of the ocean, its resources, and wildlife.

Please let me know how you feel about Planet Ocean, what you think the priorities for the Online Learning Center should be, and especially, if you are interested in joining our writing team.

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