Happy International Women’s Day, Tumblr! We have to give a big shout out to our Executive Director, Kelp Afishionado and Boss Lady Supreme, Julie Packard, and all of the incredible and diverse women around the Aquarium who inspire us to care more and do more for the ocean every day.
Women have always played a central role in ocean conservation, and in our history as an Aquarium. Julia Platt, the then 74-year-old mayor of Pacific Grove in 1931, set up the Pacific Grove Marine Gardens, the first such protected underwater area in California. Her gardens are now part of the Hopkins State Marine Reserve, which begins at the Aquarium’s pump-house and runs down the coast to Lovers Point.
And it was at Hopkins Marine Station that many students saw Rachel Carson’s “The Sea Around Us” come alive to them—Rachel’s message of conservation inspiring a generation of ocean enthusiasts to love the ocean deeper. (One of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute’s vessels is now named the “RV Rachel Carson” in her honor.)
And then, it was in these same tide pools and underwater marine gardens that the idea for the Monterey Bay Aquarium was first sprouted, an idea that held fast and established itself inside the dilapidated cannery next door.
And when the Aquarium opened in 1984, it was a young phycologist and algae-enthusiast who led the Aquarium on its journey: our Executive Director Julie Packard. Her leadership in ocean conservation, whether overseeing the launch of @seafoodwatch, speaking for the ocean at the Global Climate Action Summit or supervising the building of our new Bechtel Center for Ocean Education and Leadership further down Cannery Row, has had a global impact for the sea.
We’re all very proud to have Julie as our leader, especially knowing that she’s still the passionate seaweed enthusiast she’s always been, exploring the protected tide pools with a firm commitment to preserving them for the next generation.