The catastrophe in the Gulf ofMexico began just before the 40thanniversary of Earth Day, and formost people it was a somber re-minder of the devastating impacthumans are having on the oceans.Sadly, for the people and wildlife inthe region, the aftereffects will lastfor decades.It’s clear that all players weregrossly underprepared to preventand respond to a disaster of thismagnitude.Butamidthefinger-point-ing,someone’smissing:We,thepublic.Why haven’t we learned from pastexperience? Why can’t we musterthe political will to approve policiesthat our oceans and coasts deserve?The damage to the Gulf has re-newed my resolve to be sure theMonterey Bay Aquarium truly makesa difference for the future of theoceans. I can’t thank you enough forthe support you provide to helpmake this vision a reality.Because of you, I feel energizedand hopeful about the future.For more than 25 years, our toppriority has been to create and main-tain the best aquarium in the world,as a source of inspiration for millionsof visitors. As you’ll read in thisissue, we’ll begin significant renova-tions to our Outer Bay wing in Sep-tember. When it reopens nextsummer, we’ll engage visitors withnew experiences and animals andtell compelling stories about themagnificent animals that live in theOpen Sea.But inspiration alone is notenough. We must understand thethreats facing ocean wildlife andecosystems, and take action to ad-dress those threats.That’s why, from the very begin-ning, rigorous scientific research hasbeen central to our conservationwork. We have been — and remain —a leader in conducting research thatwill help save charismatic animalslike California’s threatened sea ot-ters, ocean-roaming great whitesharks and bluefin tuna.These remarkable animals areimportant in their own right, and asindicators for the well-being of theecosystems of which they are a part.When we help them, we contributeto the health of our coastal and off-shore waters.This fall, we’ll ask you to supportour new Open Sea exhibits and fur-ther our critical research that is es-sential for saving the animals welove and the oceans that sustain usall. I hope you’ll participate.In the face of the tragedy in theGulf, there’s much to do, on manyfronts. Working together, I’m confi-dent we can address the challengesand make a difference for theoceans. Thank you again for yourenduring support.
J u l i e P a c k a r d
I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to raise the profileof the oceans and their importance in our lives. So it’s beena cruel irony to at last see the oceans in the headlines every day, through the nightmare of the largest environmentaldisaster in American history.