Our Future

We will fight to protect our ocean today, and build a movement of ocean advocates to shape a hopeful, flourishing future.

Conservation Education

The Seattle Aquarium’s conservation education programs engage thousands of young people every year in caring for the ocean, building empathy for marine life, and understanding our shared connections. The Ocean Pavilion will amplify and extend our education programming with a dynamic new educational resource and free, live interpretation to all.

Youth Ocean Advocates
Students reached
Community conversations

Our Youth Ocean Advocates program has engaged 2,200 teenagers in ocean conservation and advocacy in our community. When surveyed recently, 81% said their service was influential or very influential in their development.

Our School Programs reached 43,000 students in 500 schools in 200 school districts in 2020.

75,000 community conversations on local beaches, rivers, and streams are convened by Aquarium staff in a typical year.

Our Community Science program helps students in historically marginalized high schools in the Puget Sound area become scientists.

Young man is picking a shell up from a rocky beach

Community Scientist

Community Science program

Beach Naturalist program

Summer Camp

People standing along the Cedar River observing salmon.

Cedar River Salmon Journey

Two young children visiting an information table for the Cedar River Salmon Journey

Cedar River Salmon Journey

Community Science program

Interpreter sharing information about a fish with people at the aquarium.

Learning from an Interpreter

Beach Naturalist program

Anja Malawi Brandon brought the world’s attention to the growing problem of plastic pollution in 2020 with her research on how mealworms can safely decompose plastic waste. A graduate of Stanford’s doctoral program in civil and environmental engineering, Anja credits a class trip to Seattle Aquarium 15 years ago with igniting her passion to fight plastic pollution in the ocean.

A speaker at the 2020 National Zero Waste Conference and 2020–21 AGU Congressional Science Fellow, she is committed to science communication and advocacy for evidence-based environmental policy and aims to hold plastic producers accountable for developing more sustainable solutions. Today, Anja is a US Plastics Policy Analyst at the Ocean Conservancy.

Isha Sangani’s early experiences at Seattle Aquarium helped inspire her passion for ocean conservation and climate activism and shaped the course of her career. As a high school student, she logged more than 600 hours as a volunteer, teaching Aquarium visitors about the ocean. In her junior year, she participated in the global Youth Climate Strike and launched a petition for Panda Express to switch from single-use plastics to biodegradable options, achieving more than 16,000 signatures.

In 2020, Isha co-founded Earth Strategy, a youth-led climate advocacy organization. Now an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in computer science and integrative biology at Harvard University, Isha plans to pursue both research and advocacy to help heal the ocean and combat climate change.

Noah Chesin was 16 when he joined what was then called the teen naturalist program at Seattle Aquarium in 1998. Through his volunteer experience, Noah learned that it was possible to translate his commitment to ocean conservation into a meaningful career.

Two decades later, after working to shape ocean-related policy at the Conservation Law Foundation, Noah is now the associate director of the New York Seascape Program at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium. He leverages his conservation experience to translate new research into compelling messaging and advocacy with a goal of “building a public movement” to restore a healthy ocean.

The Aquarium taught me that to save the world, I need to save the ocean.

Anja Malawi Brandon, Ph.D. & Youth Ocean Advocate alumna


Seattle Aquarium advocates for policies and actions that protect our ocean from harm and help it thrive. From helping pass legislation that reduces ocean plastics to partnering with local organizations to reduce the environmental impact on communities of color, we play an active role in the broader system that shapes our environment.

With this campaign, we’ll be able to put more weight behind global ocean advocacy, including efforts to build climate resilience, reduce ocean acidification and more.

May 17, 2021: Governor Jay Inslee came to the Seattle Aquarium to sign a new law (SB5022) that will reduce plastic pollution and improve recycling in Washington.
People standing on the steps of the Legislative Building in Olympia, Washington

Influencing Policy

woman speaks into a microphone in the legislative chamber of Washington's state capitol.

Advocating for Orcas

a group of young people standing in front of the legislative building at Washington state's capitol

Youth Ocean Advocates in Olympia

Hosting the Orca Task Force

With fewer than 100 southern resident orcas in the wild and ongoing threats from human activity, advocacy for this iconic species has never been more urgent. The Seattle Aquarium supports policies and investments that are critical for giving these endangered orcas a real chance at recovery. The Seattle Aquarium has supported successful bills in the Washington State Legislature that help prevent toxic pollution from entering Puget Sound, protect more habitat for Chinook salmon (the orcas’ primary food source), reduce the risk of oil spills, and increase the distance between boats and the orcas.

In 2023, we were part of the group of NGOs leading efforts to pass SB 5371, which will implement the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife’s recommendation to create a 1,000-yard buffer from small vessels around the critically endangered southern resident orcas to help them forage more successfully and feed their young.

Working closely with partners in Seattle and across our region, as well as our own Youth Ocean Advocates, the Seattle Aquarium continues to be a powerful voice for orca recovery in policymaking from Olympia to Washington, D.C.

The Seattle Aquarium is an active participant in the national and international 30×30 campaign to protect at least 30% of the world’s lands and waters by 2030. This unprecedented global movement aims to ensure that everyone benefits from the life-giving services provided by a healthy network of protected marine and terrestrial ecosystems.

Each year, thousands of Pacific salmon return to our local watersheds to complete their life cycle and produce the next generation of fish. Salmon play a key role in our economy and are the cornerstone of our local ecosystem, and they are also critical to the health and wellbeing of Coast Salish people, who have stewarded these lands and waters since time immemorial.

At five locations throughout the local watershed, Seattle Aquarium’s trained naturalists guide visitors to see spawning Chinook, Sockeye and Coho salmon in local streams and rivers. These encounters spark visitors’ wonder and delight, and our naturalists help each person understand the importance of the salmon to life in the Pacific Northwest and be inspired to do their part to help protect this keystone species.

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Together, we can make a difference for the ocean we all depend on.