Dolphin Quest Represented at International Marine Educator’s Conference
Dolphin Quest Bermuda sponsored two of its animal care and conservation educators to present at the esteemed Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA) Educator’s Conference at the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut November 6 – 8, 2018.
The conference attracted marine educators from around the world including Bermuda, Bahamas, Mexico and North America. It provided a professional forum to share best practices for informal learning in a zoological setting. Participants learned the latest scientific findings related to climate, conservation and the effects on marine animals, shared novel education techniques and discussed how animal experiences can encourage ocean and animal advocacy.
Bermudians, SundéeFaulkner (Sales and Outreach Manager) and Kameron Burgess (Marine Mammal Specialist) from Dolphin Quest Bermuda shared innovative methods for engaging people with animals to inspire a passion for wildlife and promote environmental stewardship. Ms. Faulkner and Mr. Burgess presented techniques used at Dolphin Quest to expand traditional educational methodologies by integrating conservation messaging into experiential learning opportunities with animals.
Marine debris, pollution and other human factors are having a devastating effect on our ocean and marine wildlife. Marine parks, aquariums and zoos play a critical role in educating the public about these issues and inspiring them to get involved in the solution. Sundée and Kameron highlighted how honoured they felt to have the opportunity to represent Dolphin Quest and Bermuda at this professional forum and share techniques with their international colleagues to inspire the public to protect ocean wildlife.
As shared in the presentation, Dolphin Quest has implemented a formal program called Conservation Conversations at its locations in Bermuda and Hawaii. This initiative integrates daily talking points pertaining to an overall monthly conservation theme. One topic covered is the importance of reducing marine debris by refusing single-use plastics. By purposefully pairing dolphin behaviors with education and conservation messages, Dolphin Quest guests receive a mindful and holistic experience while also being called to conservation action.
Results from Dolphin Quest’s Conservation Conversation efforts have been impactful and far-reaching. Online guest reviews on travel and social media platforms, personal blogs and e-mail correspondence consistently highlight Dolphin Quest’s passion for conservation and often identify specific message points from the initiative that resonated with the individual. Dolphin Quest’s commitment to conservation has also fostered greater community support and increased overall participation numbers. In addition to influencing guests, employee conservation efforts, stewardship participation and social media posts on the subject have also increased.
For over 30 years, Dolphin Quest has been an active steward of the ocean. Dolphin Quest is a for-profit company owned and operated by marine mammal veterinarians who believe it is essential for all business to actively support environmental solutions. To date, Dolphin Quest’s dolphin interactive experiences in Bermuda and Hawaii have funded over $4,200,000 in support for vital marine conservation, education and research efforts that directly benefit animals in the wild.