Almost every aspect of life in the oceans has long fascinated Craig Taylor. He has participated in and supported efforts to improve science-based education specific to marine conservation in the New York City school system, participated in marine science research with the American Museum of Natural History, and most recently worked with an international team of scientists developing methodologies to bring scientific data to the design of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
Prior to college Taylor held a position at a field station of the American Museum of Natural History located on Bimini Island in the Bahamas, studying feeding behavior of tropical fish. He spent a summer on the RV Westward (based out of Woods Hole, Massachusetts) taking census of marine mammal life around the coast of Newfoundland. Another summer he worked in the Vancouver Public Aquarium in Vancouver, British Columbia, maintaining aquarium exhibits and catching and transporting specimens for display. Two weeks of that summer was spent living with indigenous people 600 miles north of the Arctic Circle studying the logistics of capturing and transporting narwhals for aquarium display.
In 1994 Taylor became a Trustee of The Wildlife Conservation Society based in New York City. The Wildlife Conservation Society is the largest science-based conservation organization in the world, with a 100-year history of demonstrated successes. The society’s mission is based upon three areas of focus: conservation, science and education. The organization runs not only the largest urban zoo system the world, but also maintains a presence in seventy-two countries around world with 150 separate science-based conservation projects. The society also provides science-based conservation curriculum to every state in the U.S. and many countries, including China. WCS has an annual operating budget in excess of $120 million. Taylor has been chairman of the Aquarium Marketing and Support Committee overseeing the New York Aquarium, chairman of the Ecotourism Subcommittee, member of the Marketing and Communications Committee, and a member of the International Conservation Steering Committee overseeing WCS’s global research projects.
In November 2001 Taylor was invited to live aboard Aquarius, the only underwater research habitat in the world, which is owned by NOAA and operated by the National Undersea Research Center at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington. The purpose of this one-week expedition was to electronically tag different fish species underwater and track them in real time. This project demonstrated that it is possible to track multiple species across large reef areas, and could form the basis for scientifically supporting the design of MPAs in the future. Taylor is currently working with this same group of scientists (four of whom are Pew Fellows) to further develop these methodologies and technologies and to develop an informational “tool kit” for other scientists to apply on a global basis to help design MPAs based upon scientific data.
Taylor is also involved in a national education initiative called The Ocean Project, with the mission to “create in people a lasting, measurable, top-of-the-line awareness of the importance, value, and sensitivity of the oceans.” The overarching policy of The Ocean Project is “to select positive messages chosen to interest, inspire wonder, increase our understanding of the oceans, and create in people a personal rationale that makes ocean conservation sensible and compelling.” The plan to accomplish this challenging mission will be to work with partner institutions including aquariums, zoos, and science, technology, and natural history museums to help the visitors develop an interest and caring attitude that will encourage them to take action for ocean conservation through existing channels of these partner organizations. The Wildlife Conservation Society is a member institution.
Last updated October 19 2011