It’s about connecting to the big picture. My greatest takeaway from 14 years in the public aquarium industry is the importance of connecting people, personally, to the wonder and beauty of the ocean world. Once that connection is made, a conservationist is born.
I joined Wild Oceans in 2005, after serving as a public aquarium director of animal care, education and conservation programs. A career in marine science was a natural path for me – I made the decision when I was in the fifth grade. Growing up in Baltimore, Maryland, summers were filled with crab feasts and trips to Ocean City. And I had a remarkable teacher who believed science should be taught outside; her favorite classroom was the tidal zone of the Delaware Bay.
After earning a degree in marine science, I worked my way up the ladder in the aquarium world, starting as an aquarist, collecting fishes – from mummichogs to sharks – for exhibit. I jumped into conservation work whenever I could, whether it was a community cleanup or field work in the Amazon. Caught by the conservation bug, I wanted to do more and found a home at Wild Oceans.
At Wild Oceans, we are a small and efficient staff. We like to say we are lean and mean. I wear a number of hats, including editor of the newsletter, graphic designer, and policy analyst and advocate for the Mid-Atlantic region. As a licensed science teacher, I also relish opportunities to work with kids and “guest-teach” about the work we do at Wild Oceans.
My passion is promoting ecosystem-based fisheries management or EBFM – a technical way of saying that we need to manage for the big picture by taking into account how our fisheries interact with the creatures and habitats that are essential to a healthy ocean, and how changes in the ocean impact fisheries. The ecosystem is truly a web of connections that we must maintain to keep the system from unraveling. My work on this front began in 2006 with Forage First!, a campaign that urged fishery managers to conserve the forage base – our menhaden, herrings, sardines, anchovies and mackerels – as a logical first step toward EBFM. And, wow! We have made lots of progress since then! Just check out the Protect the Prey Base page of our website.
I am honored to be working for the future of fishing and the many other activities that connect us with the sea. I am Wild Oceans.
In nature, nothing exists alone. – Rachel Carson