by Magali Grégoire
2017 was another successful year for Back to the Sea! While it was only our second year of operation as a society, we increased our impact exponentially. We participated in more events, recruited multiple volunteers, added to our core team of Board Members and launched our very own miniature marine interpretive centre - the Touch Tank Hut!
Here's a recap of the significant moments of 2017.
As you know, we operate our permanent and portable touch tanks on a seasonal basis. We began and ended the season with partnering events. Kicking off during Oceans Week HFX, we had a great time at The Ocean and You and An Ocean of Discovery events (click on the links to read blog posts from our volunteers). Then, a little later in the summer, we enjoyed a day at the Canadian Sea Turtle kiosk.
1 & 2: Oceans Week event at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. 3: Sea Turtle Network kiosk
The fall kept us just as busy with the You, Me and the Sea program (part of the Sustainable Oceans Conference) and the Bedford Institute of Oceanography Open House - all on the same weekend! Over 22,000 people came through the open house!
We also participated in the Halifax Oyster Festival and had our team members volunteer their time to hand out water to the participants of the Maritime Race Weekend.
1&2: Halifax Oyster Festival. 3: Maritime Race weekend water station.
Sandwiched between all those events is our biggest accomplishment to date, the Touch Tank Hut!
In just five weekends we had over 1,800 visitors!
The Touch Tank Hut is truly proof that you can be mini and mighty all at once.
We are grateful to have captured the interest of visitors, locals and the media with this initiative. See our media page for all Touch Tank Hut coverage.
1: Le Téléjournal Acadie with Radio Canada. 2: Interpreter and Aquarist Leah at the Global studios.
Thank you to the dozens of volunteers who helped make this achievement possible. This includes everyone on our Board, our staff, our Communications Committee, our Advisory Board, our volunteer interpreters and all our friends and family members who got their hands dirty and picked up a paintbrush, collected animals, cleaned, did plumbing, electrical and construction work. It's one long list and are hearts are full!
A huge thank you as well to all those who donated to the cause. Thanks to over 70 contributors, we surpassed our crowdfunding goal and raised $5150!
We are also grateful to our top sponsors and want to give a special shout out to Alderney Landing who donated the use of the space to us.
Thanks to Alderney Landing's continued support, we will be able to open this coming summer!
A VIP visit for Scotiabank employees as a thank you for their top level sponsoship.
That's not all! We are also very happy that our Founder was able to present at the See Change, Tides of Environmental Learning Conference hosted by the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication. And finally, we had a blast during our Goodwill Bot event, a fundraiser put on by Good Robot Brewing Co.
Missed last year's Goodwill Bot? Save the date! We're doing it again on Monday May 21st 2018!
Before we sign off, we'd like to introduce you to our newest Board member who joined our team last year, Jonathan Primack. Jonathan is a Project Manager at Noble Grape and a father of two young children who are already among the Touch Tank Hut's number one fans! We're happy to have his energy and passion on our Board.
We would also like to thank Lisanne Jacklin who also joined our Board last year, however had to end her term early due do unforeseen circumstances. We thank her for her contributions and for remaining an important part of our team as our law advisor.
1: Jonathan on the far left helping out with the Maritime Race Weekend. 2: Lisanne with Alderney Landing Executive Director Bea McGregor and Back to the Sea Founder Magali.
Thank you to our founding Board members Maggie, Rodrigo, Courtenay and Greg who have been with us from the start and continue to work on all of Back to the Sea's initiatives, including the eventual construction of a permanent space.
While we remain a Society that is ran in most part with volunteer efforts, we were proud to hire our first staff last year. With Maggie stepping in as Board President, our Founder Magali stepped off the board and was able to take on a new staff leadership position as Executive Director. Leah and Kim were are first Interpreter and Aquarists and did a fantastic job inspiring all our Touch Tank Hut visitors.
From left: Leah, Kim and Magali
Here's to another great year and we look forward to opening our doors and welcoming you to the Touch Tank Hut on June 2nd!
Great experience for kids to see AND respect animals!
- 2017 Touch Tank Hut visitor