SEWARD ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF MARINE SCIENCE

aka Alaska SeaLife Center   |   Seward, AK   |  www.alaskasealife.org

Mission

The Alaska SeaLife Center generates and shares scientific knowledge to promote understanding and stewardship of Alaska's marine ecosystems.

Ruling year info

1991

President and CEO

Tara L Riemer Ph.D.

Main address

PO Box 1329 301 Railway Avenue

Seward, AK 99664 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

92-0132479

NTEE code info

Zoo, Zoological Society (D50)

Biological, Life Science Research includes Marine Biology, Physiology, Biochemistry, Genetics, Biotechnology, etc.) (U50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Earth’s oceans connect us all. They provide resources, recreation, and a reminder of how interwoven our actions are around the world. Yet, the overwhelming scientific evidence has identified that rampant warming of our planet, driven by human activities, is negatively impacting our oceans. Alaska is at the forefront of these changes. Both the people and the wild animals that rely on healthy oceans are already feeling the impacts of sea level rise, ice loss, ecosystem shifts, ocean acidification, novel disease manifestations, and unusual weather events. Due to the incredible complexity of these challenges, sustainable solutions require innovation, creativity, and collaborations. As a public aquarium and a fully supported research facility, the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) connects people of all ages, around the globe, to Alaska’s marine ecosystems, and generates the scientific knowledge needed by policy and resource managers to ensure the sustainability of Alaska’s oceans.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Wildlife Response/Stranding

The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) Wildlife Response program responds to live and dead marine wildlife that have been abandoned, stranded, or injured throughout Alaska. The ASLC is the only institution authorized to rehabilitate live stranded marine mammals in the state. We operate under permits and agreements issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS). ASLC plays a critical role in responding to oil spills or other unusual events. In addition to covering the live animal response and care during the ‘busy’ season, May to September, ASLC remains in a ready state year round to provide basic animal care for oil-affected animals and deploy a mobile treatment and rehabilitation enclosure.

The ASLC Wildlife Response Program is an important part of the Center's commitment to generate and share scientific knowledge to promote understanding and stewardship of Alaska’s marine ecosystem. The main goal of this program is to learn from live and dead stranded animals to better understand wild populations and maintain capacity to respond to natural or manmade disasters. We accomplish this by:

* Screening for conditions of concern
* Determining the health of individual animals
* Providing humane animal care
* Training staff and partners for response
* When possible, returning healthy animals to the wild

Population(s) Served
Adults

The overall goal of our Science Program is to develop an understanding of the role of marine mammals, birds and fish in the arctic and subarctic marine ecosystems, and to generate scientific knowledge relevant to resource management and policy. Our projects focus on Alaska marine life and environments, but reach globally with international collaborations. The Center’s unique geographic location, marine cold water research facilities, live animal collections, and specialized staff allows us to use a combination of experimental and field research to:

* Investigate physiological and ecological processes affecting marine animal population dynamics.
* Conduct controlled experiments to understand factors affecting reproductive success and fitness in marine species.
* Monitor marine animal responses to environmental variability and stressors.
* Evaluate human impacts on our marine environment and animal populations.
* Develop tools to support recovery and restoration of marine resources.

Thus, an overarching science theme of our science relates to understanding of upper trophic level responses to environmental variability. Under this concept, we use marine mammals, seabirds, and fish as windows into the ecosystem they inhabit. As the arctic and subarctic are undergoing rapid environmental changes, understanding responses of these species to change is becoming urgently more important. A more holistic understanding of upper trophic species role in the arctic and subarctic marine ecosystems is essential, and our science team is developing research programs and partnerships towards integrated marine ecosystem studies to address these emerging broad scale topics.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Education programs at the Alaska SeaLife Center foster ocean literacy and stewardship by connecting people of all ages to Alaska's marine ecosystems in meaningful ways. The ASLC education team provides marine-themed programs annually to students aged pre-kindergarten to adult via on-site offerings, nocturnes, and road scholar programs. Students gain a deeper understanding of science through discovery by participating in programs, as well as engaging with our exhibits. When students can’t visit the Center, we go to them through outreach programs provided to rural Alaskan communities, and through distance learning programs provided to classrooms worldwide via modern technology. The education team received the Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration Pinnacle Award nine times, a true measure of the impact of the programs delivered remotely.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Accreditations

Association of Zoos and Aquariums- Accreditation 2011

National Association for Interpretation 2013

Association of Zoos and Aquariums- Accreditation 2016

Green Star Awardee 2016

Awards

Pinnacle Award 2008

Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration

Pinnacle Award - Honorable Mention 2009

Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration

Pinnacle Award - Honorable Mention 2010

Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration

Pinnacle Award 2011

Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration

Pinnacle Award 2013

Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration

Pinnacle Award 2014

Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration

Pinnacle Award 2015

Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration

Pinnacle Award 2016

Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration

Pinnacle Award 2017

Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration

Pinnacle Award 2018

Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration

Pinnacle Award 2019

Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration

Pinnacle Award 2020

Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration

Pinnacle Hall of Fame 2020

Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The ASLC envisions a future where people around the globe are connected to Alaska’s marine ecosystems, and where scientific information forms the foundation of stewardship for our shared ocean resources. This synergistic approach, integrating scientific research and education, is foundational to our organization, and provides a framework for addressing pressing environmental challenges.
When the ASLC was established, much of our research focus was on the biology, health, and ecology of a few species that were directly impacted by specific hazardous events, such as the Exxon Valdez oil spill. However, as the arctic and subarctic undergo rapid environmental changes, understanding responses of marine life to these fluctuations is becoming urgently more important. By fostering a research team of diverse scientific backgrounds, and partnerships with leading scientists around the globe, our goal is to provide a more holistic understanding of ecological connections in the arctic and subarctic marine ecosystems. In doing so, we can provide critical scientific information for understanding the vulnerability and resilience of animals, habitats and ecosystems as a whole during this time of rapid environmental change.
As both a public aquarium and research facility, the ASLC’s mission programs also include Education and Wildlife Response. The ASLC maintains its accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) through the outstanding care given to each animal living at the Center, whether they remain as permanent collection animals, are released back to the wild, or are transferred to a new forever home. All three Center missions are connected through the shared goal of fostering ocean literacy and stewardship. Whether it is through telling the stories of our rescued and rehabilitated animals, partnerships with other leading animal care and conservation organizations, or innovative educational programs for urban and rural communities throughout Alaska, at the core of these activities is our goal of connecting people of all ages to Alaska's marine ecosystems in meaningful ways.

The Alaska SeaLife Center is a small organization; our strength comes from finding creative and innovative ways to form connections between Alaskans and the ocean, and to bridge the gap between the scientific information generated by our scientists and the public. We employ the following strategies to reach our mission goals.
Stronger together
All of our mission programs benefit from partnerships. Our researchers collaborate with leading experts across academia, state and federal management agencies, and with Alaskan communities to address pressing conservation questions. The ASLC Wildlife Response, in partnership with the Alaska and the National Stranding Networks, facilitates responses to marine animals in distress across over 34,000 miles of coast. The ASLC is also the only wildlife-focused training facility for Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER), creating a network of professionals that have the baseline certification needed to respond to an oil spill. Finally, the collective voices of the Aquarium Conservation Partnership (ACP), a coalition of 22 US aquariums of which the ASLC is a member, have led to tangible changes in eliminating single-use plastics, and protecting our oceans.
Empathy
Empathy is the ability to see animals-- from charismatic sea lions to the simple sea cucumber-- as unique individuals, worthy of care and conservation. By sharing a collective knowledge and passion for wildlife, facilitating moments of inspiring wonder and awe, and enabling people to form an emotional connection —we strive to foster a sense of empathy for marine life through our education programs, exhibits and outreach. This sense of connection to the natural world can further encourage making sustainable choices and positive changes for our marine ecosystems.
Innovation and Technology
The ASLC has met the unique challenges of working in the largest state, and studying the depths of the ocean with innovation and technological creativity. Our scientists develop and validate new research technologies; our Distance Learning programs use virtual technology to bring the exploration and wonder of underwater habitats to classrooms in urban and rural Alaska and around the world, and our veterinary and wildlife response teams employ the latest diagnostic testing to understand animals’ individual health challenges, and understand the pressures that wild populations are facing.
Pay it forward
The ASLC values training the next generation of ocean scientists, educators and animal care professionals. Since 1998, we have offered hands-on internships in all of our mission programs and mentor students from high school, undergraduates, graduates, and veterinary school. These opportunities provide the next generation with job skills they can use in Alaska and around the world. We also support mentors and educators in our communities and provide ocean-science resources through teacher workshops, educational programs and conferences.

The capabilities to meet the goals of the ASLC mission areas include:
Infrastructure—Our facility is located on the shore of the Gulf of Alaska in the North Pacific Ocean, with access to the Alaska marine environment from our back door. The Center’s unique geographic location, marine cold water research facilities, live animal collections, and research vessels enable us to use a combination of experimental and field research to investigate marine animal responses to environmental variability and stressors, and to evaluate human impacts on our marine environment and animal populations. From Discovery Labs to Nocturnes, kids and adults across the state come to the ASLC to explore our underwater world. As a public aquarium open 363 days of the year, our facility, exhibits, and classrooms enable visitors to connect with our resident animals and learn about Alaskan marine ecosystems. Our facility also is uniquely capable of supporting a wide range of critical wildlife response efforts. Onsite in Seward, we pride ourselves in having flexible multi-use spaces and the creative team to adapt them to different species and projects. The same pool room has been used for long-term care of our own seals, the critical care of a beluga calf, rehabilitation of walrus calves and sea otters, as well as research involving fish and sea birds. Additionally, we have the equipment to support remote response including the capture gear, deployable pools, and life support systems necessary to sample, assess, and treat different species.
Trained staff— “Everyone is Team ASLC.” The staff represent individuals who are trained and certified in the areas of their expertise, and bring together a truly diverse team of scientists, veterinarians, educators, interpreters, animal care professionals, communicators, engineers, and administrators. No matter what role, everyone contributes to our mission.
Animal partners- Our resident animals are an essential part of our core identity, serving as educational ambassadors to the visitors and inspiration for some of our research. They provide us the opportunity to better understand their health, what is normal, and what is possible as we provide them routine and preventative care. Caring for them provides experience and helps us maintain the expertise that facilitates research in the field and responding to wildlife in distress.

In the past twenty-two years of operation, the ASLC has several notable accomplishments in the progress towards our goals:
● To date, the ASLC staff have generated close to 300 journal publications and have delivered over 700 presentations at professional conferences. Much of these efforts are the results of partnerships that span the globe. Our studies have contributed key information about Alaska’s marine ecosystems, including conservation of endangered species, telemetry technology development, fisheries, animal behavior and physiology, long-term monitoring, impacts of climate change, and community based adaptive management strategies.
● We have made significant progress in connecting the public with nature and our oceans. Collectively, our science discoveries and explorations are shared with over 160,000 members of the public per year through exhibits in the public aquarium, social media, our research blog (est. 2016), distance learning opportunities, and Alaskan community outreach programs. Since 2007, we have conducted education programs for over 3,500 classrooms, connecting more than 100,000 students worldwide to our world’s oceans and the animals that live there. In special recognition of these education efforts, the ASLC’s distance learning program has received 9 Pinnacle Awards for Interactive Learning and Collaboration for its exceptional content quality and delivery. We remain on the forefront of industry best practices, learning trends, and pedagogical theory. Our educators are active participants with our peers throughout North America in developing the next and best ways to engage our audiences in ocean conservation and stewardship.
● Over 600 early-career students have participated in our research, education, husbandry, and wildlife internship programs, and numerous graduate and veterinary students have trained with our experts.
● We have responded to more than 1,200 mammals, 700 seabirds, and 300 terrestrial birds since opening in 1998. These cases have included many individuals from threatened and endangered species including Steller sea lions, Arctic ringed seals, bearded seals, Guadalupe fur seals, Northern sea otters, Cook Inlet beluga whales, spectacled eiders, Steller eiders, yellow-billed loons, and marbled murrelets.
● We have trained more than 245 animal care professionals in Alaska and at AZA facilities in Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) and Incident Command System (ICS) which are the key certifications when responding to anthropogenic accidents such as oil spills and natural disasters such as disease outbreaks thereby enhancing both our and their preparedness for future disasters.
We aim to continue to enhance this progress through the development of new partnerships with universities, industry, and our AZA community to address contemporary conservation questions.

Financials

SEWARD ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF MARINE SCIENCE
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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SEWARD ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF MARINE SCIENCE

Board of directors
as of 10/1/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Terry Lauck

ConocoPhillips Alaska, Retired

Term: 2020 - 2022

Tom Tougas

Major Marine Tours

Daniel White

University of Alaska Designee, UAF

Stephen Grabacki

FISHEYE Consulting

Rachel Kallander

Kallander and Associates

Thomas Barrett

Retired, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company

Martin Cary

GCI Communications

Ryan Stuart

Jermain, Dunnagain & Owens, P.C.

Wendy Lindskoog

Royal Caribbean Group

Rachel Bunnell

The Planning Group of the Northwest of RW Baird

Bradley Moran

University of Alaska Designee

Bridget Coughlin

Shedd Aquarium

Angel Drobnica

Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association

Dan Graham

Donlin Gold

Josie Hickel

Chugach Alaska Corporation

Nicole Kimball

Pacific Seafood Processors Association

Terry Lauck

Retired

Peter Micciche

State of Alaska Senator, Commercial Fisherman

Robert Suydam

North Slope Borough

Jim Kubitz

Alaska Railroad Corporation

Herb Schroeder

ANSEP

Laura Levoy

Kanakanak Hospital

Brian Pinkston

Bright Road Wealth Management, LLC

Janette Bower

City of Seward, Alaska

Roslyn Mitchell

Matson

Kate Consenstein

Rising Tide Communications

Darryl Schaefermeyer

Retired ASLC Operations Director

Michele Schuh

First National Bank Alaska

Jason Charton

ConocoPhillips Alaska

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/1/2021,

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data