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Campus Currents May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2

Birch Celebrates 20 Years

It’s a place where tomorrow’s ocean leaders get inspired, a place where visitors from all over the world discover the power of the sea. On the eve of its twentieth anniversary at its current location, Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, is still a place that changes the world.

Over the past two decades, more than 6 million visitors—including one million local school children—have explored Birch Aquarium’s marine habitats and ocean science exhibits.

Voted the region’s Best Museum in the 2011 A-List, coordinated by 10News.com, the public outreach center for Scripps Oceanography also remains the only aquarium in the nation connected to a university.

Always more than just an aquarium, Birch’s educators develop both science curricula and train future teachers. Museums worldwide seek the staff’s advice on how to communicate complex science to the public.

But, more than anything, the aquarium, which is a leader in the breeding of seahorses, strives to be an agent of change. “The more we learn about the ocean,” says Nigella Hillgarth, Ph.D., executive director at the aquarium, “the more we realize just how important it is to protect it.”

—Jessica Crawford