In December, Jennifer Herring, president and CEO of The Maritime Aquarium, announced she will retire in 2014. She has served in that position for 10 of the Aquarium’s 25-year history and, in that time, has come a wealth of unique experiences and memories.
As a reflection on her many years with the institution, Jennifer has compiled her favorite memories of the Aquarium – 10 memories for 10 years – to share with our visitors and fans. Over the next few months, we’ll share her thoughts on how the Aquarium has changed and grown under her care.
President and CEO Jennifer Herring:
With only one more year to go before I retire, I am moved to reflect on my best experiences with the organization. Interestingly, I began learning about the institution with “best experience” stories from staff, volunteers, Trustees and the community in a wonderful strategic-planning process based on the Appreciative Inquiry organizational change theories. Here are the first two of my 10 “best experience” stories – 10 stories for 10 years on the job.
#3 – Supporting Sustainability
I am very proud of our relationship with Monterey Bay Aquarium as one of their most active East Coast sustainable seafood partners, mobilizing consumers to help stop overfishing in our oceans through their purchasing choices.
It began at a booth at the AZA conference. When I learned that if we distributed 5,000 sustainability guides or more a year, we could co-brand them, I jumped at the chance. So, we began to send Sea Watch guides to every member with their membership card; we worked with our caterer to make sure only sustainable seafood is served here; and we developed the Go Fish exhibit, which is all about catching and eating fish sustainably. Watch to advocate for sustainable seafood.
Our sustainable seafood café in that exhibit is inspired by the exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium to inform our visitors about how to make sustainable choices when they buy seafood in restaurants and at the market.
#4 – Keeping the Sound Healthy
One of my responsibilities that I have found most fascinating is representing The Maritime Aquarium on the Citizens Advisory Committee of the Long Island Sound Study, the coalition that manages Long Island Sound.
In 2011, I participated in developing the Sound Vision Action Plan – a vision and priorities for protecting and restoring the Sound. In keeping with that Action Plan, The Maritime Aquarium launched its Keeping the Sound Healthy program, which educates visitors about how they can adopt Sound-healthy behaviors such as replacing plastic bags and bottles with reusable ones, fertilizing lawns with organic, slow-release fertilizer and washing cars in the car wash instead of the street.
All these actions help reduce the biggest source of pollution – what flows off our streets, parking lots, lawns and golf courses into the local streams and rivers, and eventually into Long Island Sound itself. You personally can make a difference. Just remember to bring those reusable bags to the market.
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