Keynote Speakers

Melanie Knight is CEO and Co-Founder of Ocean to Eye Level Consulting which supports coastal communities around the world open public marine education centres.  Melanie is also the founder and past Executive Director of the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium in Newfoundland. For the past 10 years, Melanie has been working with the largest and the smallest aquariums in Canada fostering curiosity for the underwater world. Melanie worked at the Vancouver Aquarium as a marine educator and manager of volunteers. Melanie has done a TEDx talk, is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society and has received the Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Award, TechGirls Portraits of Strength and the Canadian Network of Environmental Educators Award.

Philip Bruecker is the Founder and Director Emeritis of the Ucluelet Aquarium Society and has been innovative throughout his career in Aquarium Sciences.  Philip’s success with the Ucluelet Aquarium led him to mentor two other mini aquariums across Canada through their development – the Discovery Passage Aquarium in Campbell River, BC and the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium in Petty Harbour, Newfoundland.  During his time as Chief Aquarist at the Vancouver Aquarium, Phil also created the popular AquaVan, a truck with built in aquariums which continues to bring live animals and education programs to schools across BC and Alberta. Phil is also owner of Living Elements Ltd, a marine collection company which services aquariums around the world. As a published author, professional SCUBA diver and aquarist, Phillip has 35 years of experience creating cold water displays and presenting about mini aquariums and their ability to reduce their ecological footprint while promoting respect for marine environments

Craig Stephen is a veterinarian and epidemiologist who strives to foster the reciprocal care of human, animals and environment health. He is a professor at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (USask) and a clinical professor at the School of Population and Public Health (UBC). Craig served as the fish health veterinarian at the Vancouver Aquarium for 10 years and has worked with a number of community based capture-hold-release aquariums over the past decade, working with them to optimize health practices to protect the animals inside and out of the facilities. He is currently the executive director of the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative