Mini Aquarium Conference 2019
From February 15th-18th the Ucluelet Aquarium hosted the first ever Mini Aquarium Conference right here, in Ucluelet. Small aquariums and marine education centres from near and far sent representatives to attend and share their backgrounds, missions, and ideas.
The goal of this conference was to create a space for similar organizations to build a collaborative and progressive community. And we succeeded. Three days of presentations, discussions, and team-building resulted in the beginnings of an international coalition. We began to establish underlying practice standards, education goals, and citizen science networking opportunities. Above all, we formed an international community dedicated to marine preservation, education, and animal welfare.
Our hope for the future is to continue growing the amazing, collaborative relationships we made during the conference and that the conference will be carried forward by each of us in turn.
The conference would not have been possible without the following sponsors: Ocean to Eye Level Consulting, Tourism Ucluelet, West Coast Nest, Piscine Energetics, Terrace Beach Resort, Archer Plastics and the Judy Grey Team. Thank you all so much.
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.
The natural world excites Carl Sieber and it’s his joy and profession to share that excitement. In an aquarium, a rainforest, a theatre, or on the beach, if you’re with him and you’re not having fun, he’s doing something wrong. He works as a Parks Canada interpreter, and plays at it too. Ask him about using humour, emotion, story, and experience to provoke understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment.
Silva Johansson is a master heritage interpreter and interpretive trainer. Her life-long love of the B.C. coast comes from her childhood aboard the tall ship North Star of Herschel Island. Silva works for Parks Canada, where she helps manage the BC Ferries Coastal Naturalist Program. She is also a local interpretive guide for the Wild Pacific Trail Society and Long Beach Nature Tours, and is an occasional volunteer interpreter at the Ucluelet Aquarium. Ask her about professional development for interpreters, and how to become a Certified Interpretive Guide with the National Association for Interpretation.
Schedule of Events
Friday, February 15
5:00 pm Doors open. Welcome to the Ucluelet Aquarium!
5:30 pm Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Welcoming Prayer
6:00 pm Keynote Speaker: Phillip Bruecker
7:00 pm Mingle and Be Merry
9:00 pm Doors close for the evening, see you tomorrow!
Saturday, February 16
Ucluelet Community Centre opens, activity room #2 8:30 am
Introductions and Attendee Presentations 9:00 am
Short Break sponsored by Terrace Beach Resort 10:00 am
Introductions and Attendee Presentations Continued 10:15 am
Keynote Speaker: Melanie Knight 11:30 am
Lunch Break provided by Solidarity Snacks 12:00 pm
Panel Talk: Fundraising 1:00 pm
Grace Lambert: “Europe’s First Catch-and-Release Aquarium” 2:00 pm
Coffee Break sponsored by Terrace Beach Resort 2:45 pm
Laura Griffith-Cochrane: “Exhibit Design” 3:00 pm
Open Space Conversation: “Mini Aquariums” 3:30 pm
Break sponsored by Terrace Beach Resort 5:00 pm
Sustainable Seafood Dinner at the Heartwood Kitchen with Ian Riddick 6:30 pm
Sunday, February 17
8:30 am Ucluelet Community Centre opens, Activity Room #2
9:00 am Keynote Speaker: Dr. Craig Stephen
10:00 am Health and Ethics: Catch-Hold-Release Aquariums
11:00 am Coffee Break sponsored by Terrace Beach Resort
11:15 am “Experiences Running Educational Programs”
12:00 pm Lunch Break sponsored by Terrace Beach Resort
1:00 pm Panel Session: Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)
2:30 pm Rob Thoms: “Maintenance Lessons”
3:15 pm Break sponsored by Terrace Beach Resort
4:00 pm Seining/Collection Demonstration at Little Beach
5:00 pm Break sponsored by Terrace Beach Resort
7:00 pm Aquarium Olympics at the Ucluelet Aquarium
9:30 pm Doors close, see you tomorrow!
Monday, February 18
Interpreter Training with Carl Sieber and Silva Johansson 10:00 am
Please contact Laura to sign up for Interpreter Training. Fee included with conference
Ucluelet Aquarium open for tours and questions 1:00 pm