By Madhavi Colton, CORAL Lead Conservation Scientist
I recently had the privilege of representing CORAL at the Monterey Bay Aquarium David Packard Award Dinner celebrating the Aquarium’s 30th anniversary. I was invited to attend by Bloomberg Philanthropies and was joined by CORAL Council member, Kris Billeter. The evening was beautiful and elegant, and full of inspiring speakers, including Michael Bloomberg, Meg Whitman, Julie Packard, and the inaugural David Packard Award recipient George P. Shultz.
Over the last 30 years, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has truly transformed how public aquariums and zoos contribute to the science and conservation of wild places, both through the groundbreaking exhibits they produce and the many behind-the-scenes efforts they lead. It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to join them in celebration of their three decades of success at inspiring conservation of the oceans—and to do it with such a passionate group of supporters.
The room was full of people who care deeply about the health of our oceans. When I would tell people I was the Lead Conservation Scientist at CORAL, they were all very eager to know more. They were aware of the challenges facing coral reefs and interested to learn what they could do to help address those challenges. It was great to see first-hand that word is getting out that coral reefs need our help, thanks to places like the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and encouraging to realize just how many people want to be part of the solution.
The evening’s speakers all emphasized the need for collective action to protect our oceans. Michael Bloomberg spoke about increasing the effectiveness of marine resource management, and David Packard Award recipient George Shultz spoke about the urgent need for action given the mounting threats of global climate change.
As I looked around at the passionate attendees, I felt a sense of comradery and hope. There are so many of us working to support ocean conservation, including the amazing teams at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and at CORAL. I’m proud to work alongside them—and you—to conserve our ocean resources. Together, we are doing many great things, and are poised to do so much more.