From the Oregon coastline to the Puget Sound to Alaskan seas, the coastal waters of the Pacific Northwest are just as full of life as the cities on its land. The Murdock Trust has happily supported several nonprofits in recent years that address the needs of the waters around them, for the benefit of the life inside the ocean and the residents on land too. These nonprofits use education for the common good by helping visitors learn how to care for marine life around them. Here are three recent grantees making our coastal waters healthier.
The Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, OR, is frequently rated as one of the top ten aquariums in the United States because of its vital role on the Pacific Northwest coastline and the educational programming that draws its visitors. The Aquarium considers itself a living classroom, providing educational programs that reach more than 525,000 people each year. Beloved by locals and tourists alike, it is an economic driver and cultural mainstay of the Newport community.
A few hundred miles north, the Seattle Aquarium is the largest marine education platform in the Pacific Northwest. Since 1977, it has welcomed 27 million visitors and 1.6 million K-12 students to its location on the Seattle Waterfront. With its new Ocean Pavilion supported by a Trust grant, which will add 50,000 square feet to its campus, the Aquarium projects an 87% increase in attendance, welcoming and engaging more than 1.5 million visitors annually. This Pavilion will bring visitors face to face with tropical fish, coral, invertebrates, and other species from a marine biodiversity hotspot in the Indo-Pacific. This expansion is part of the One Ocean, One Future campaign that invests deeply in conserving the ocean of the Pacific Northwest for the sake of oceans worldwide.
And a hop, skip, and a gulf away, Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) in Seward, AK, also works to promote understanding and stewardship of marine ecosystems. Welcoming over 160,000 visitors annually, education and outreach are at the center of its mission, in addition to research and wildlife response. Tours, animal encounters, and other activities fill the calendar of events that draw visitors to the Center, promoting knowledge about Alaskan seas and empowering visitors to care for the waters around them. Amongst other distinctions, ASLC is the only institution in the state authorized to rehabilitate live stranded marine mammals, which helps the nonprofit play a critical role in oil spills and other disasters.
These three nonprofits and many others educating about the coastal waters of the Pacific Northwest contribute to the flourishing of our region. By caring for our waters, they care for our air, our food, our land, and our people. They educate now so that future generations can feel the waves of impact– and we thank them for it!