Sea Research Foundation (Sea Research), best known in the public arena for Mystic Aquarium, supports a living collection of more than 12,000 marine mammals, fish, and invertebrates. But Sea Research encompasses significantly more than just the Aquarium, through internationally-known education projects, deep ocean expeditions, animal rescue and rehabilitation operations, extensive scientific research studies, and conservation-focused public and research initiatives. Through our animals, education programs and conservation efforts, Sea Research exposes hundreds of thousands of people to the importance of protecting our oceans and investigating the mysteries of science.
Sea Research encompasses the Institute for Exploration, home to renowned explorer, Dr. Robert D. Ballard, and is one of the only organizations in the world conducting ongoing mapping and investigations of the largely uncharted oceans around the globe. It is also home to the JASON Project and Immersion Learning, international science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs serving 2 million students around the world annually.
Mystic Aquarium presents its marine animals in exhibits that replicate natural habitats to the greatest extent possible. The Institute for Exploration’s remarkable geophysical and historical discoveries are dramatically exhibited alongside the animal-based exhibits of Mystic Aquarium on our Mystic, CT campus. Dr. Ballard’s worldwide deep sea research is complemented by Sea Research Foundation’s important marine animal science programs, also based at our Mystic facility. Sea Research is the largest provider of informal science programs to CT school children, serving over 100,000 students annually through on-site classroom experiences at the Aquarium and outreach in nearly every community in CT.
Sea Research Foundation is comprised of three distinct yet interconnected divisions: Mystic Aquarium, the Institute for Exploration, and Immersion Learning. Through these divisions, we bring the wonders of the oceans to people across the country and around the world. Mystic Aquarium allows visitors to get an up-close look at many marine animals, including beluga whales, sea anemones, and Stellar sea lions. Dr. Robert Ballard’s Institute for Exploration delves into the deep oceans, discovering ancient shipwrecks, little known geological phenomena, and the roots of human civilization. Immersion Learning brings together the entertaining aspects of the Aquarium with the deep-sea expeditions of the Institute to lead at-risk students across the country toward careers in math, science, and technology.
Each year, our education programs reach 600,000 children locally and nationally. Our Traveling Teacher program engages students in Connecticut and Rhode Island, teaching them about their local marine environment through hands-on experiences. Immersion Learning is a national program distributed through the Boys & Girls Clubs of America that reaches nearly half a million children every year.
As a leader in the aquarium research community, Sea Research Foundation has made significant advances in marine science. Our ongoing Research program enables us to study animals in controlled environments and natural habitats. These projects help us learn more about each species, so we can give them the best care possible, or help in the rescue, rehabilitation and release of stranded animals back into the wild.
Sea Research Foundation invites you to take action by sharing in our mission. One of the most significant ways for doing so is by making a charitable gift. Your support is needed to help us:
- Immerse a new generation and make a difference for at-risk youth with The JASON Project, Immersion Learning, and the many educational program offerings at Mystic Aquarium.
- Further a Connecticut institution. Promote environmental understanding and conservation by supporting our programming and research.
- Make a difference, one creature at a time. Help us rescue stranded marine animals by supporting our Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Stranding Program.
- Open up new depths of learning by supporting the work of Dr. Robert D. Ballard and the Institute for Exploration.
Sea Research Foundation had a watershed year in 2011. We began the year having recently signed off on a major debt restructure. We shed $15 million of long-term debt, which fundamentally improved everything about our financial platform. Our annual debt service fell by 50 percent, which allows us to function better and invest our resources more wisely in programming and in our capital infrastructure.
We also raised $11 million, a record amount for this organization. We’re grateful to all who are supporting our comprehensive campaign. We’re proud that every member of our board of trustees and a record number of our employees, over 40 percent, participated in the campaign.
During 2011, we took over the management of The JASON Project from National Geographic Society. This is a key opportunity for our organization. It strengthens our Immersion Learning program, which is already well-regarded and serving many kids nationally, and brings together our after-school and in-school STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programming.
STEM education is important to economic development. In the state of Connecticut, for example, it’s been noted by many that there is no shortage of jobs. There are thousands of jobs available, but not enough people with the appropriate qualifications—STEM training and competency—to fill those jobs. This is a significant gap and Sea Research plays a role in helping to bridge that gap.
Biological research, particularly with marine mammals, is also a major component of our institution. We made major investments in this area during 2011 and will continue to do so going forward. Biological and marine science research is critically important to how we understand our oceans and the waterways that feed into them, and it’s a primary part of our mission to inspire people to care about the oceans.
As we come into 2012, we anticipate continued growth in earned income and stability in grant funding, despite the economic challenges. We’re confident that we will see stability and continued growth on the philanthropic side as well. People want to invest in a winner and Sea Research Foundation is a winning organization all around.
Dr. Stephen M. Coan
President & CEO
Sea Research Foundation
I’ve been engaged with Sea Research Foundation for more than 15 years. The reason I’ve stayed engaged and am more passionate now than ever is not just because of Sea Research’s ability to make a difference, but the scope and magnitude of that difference. This is a major aquarium coupled with a worldwide exploration center of international acclaim. It’s a research institution that contributes to conservation and research efforts on a global basis, whether in South Africa or the North Slope of Alaska. It’s a place where young people can come not only to be entertained, but to be intrigued and get that spark of interest in exploring the world around them from a scientific perspective.
Sea Research builds on the incredible exploration potential of Bob Ballard and our scientific research to create an institution that reaches not only young children through its Sea School program, but also through The JASON Project, which reaches some 2 million children annually.
Over the last decade we have made dramatic progress in building Sea Research’s leadership. We’ve reduced our debt load and now we’re building toward the future. This is about creating new exhibitry and enhancing Mystic Aquarium’s year-round appeal. It’s about bringing in new capabilities, such as JASON, to add to our national perspective, prospect and vision. We intend to use our exploration research, scientific research and worldwide learning expertise to shape this into an institution which is not only a great place to visit, but also a contributor to conservation efforts on a worldwide basis and a key part of the answer to how we’re going to energize young people’s enthusiasm for scientific education worldwide.
The young people of today are going to be the stewards of our ocean planet and it’s critical that they learn about those values —including the exciting geological discoveries you can make under the sea, the marine mammals that are endangered but need to be preserved, and the unique species that exist under our ocean surface—and gain respect for the world we live in at a time when our populations will continue to grow and the pressure on natural resources will continue to increase. It is essential that we not only understand these things, but learn to love and appreciate them.
Chairman of the Board
Mystic Aquarium was founded in 1973 to serve as a living laboratory and major public exhibit highlighting intriguing species of the aquatic world. Today, with over 750,000 visitors annually, the Aquarium remains committed to its mission of inspiring people to care for and protect our ocean planet through education, research, and exploration. By constantly looking for innovative and engaging ways to inspire and involve the general public in conservation efforts, Mystic Aquarium continues to build upon its founding mission.
George and Carol Milne Research CenterScheduled to break ground in 2013, the George and Carol Milne Research Center will ensure the continued success of our comprehensive research program and strategic plan. Funded in part with a $1 million gift from the Milnes, this 6,000 square foot Center will fully integrate water quality, veterinary care and biological research functions under one roof, enhancing and expanding the workspace available to our researchers and providing dedicated educational program space for students of all ages.
Mystic Aquarium’s school and camp programs promote ocean literacy, while conservation events foster environmental stewardship.
The JASON Project’s award-winning classroom programs provide pathways to STEM content. Interactive live events and robust online platform place students in real-world situations.
Immersion Learning’s fun, hands-on activities, interactive website, and live events bring the thrill of scientific discovery to youth.
In partnership with Ocean Exploration Trust, University of Rhode Island, NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, and National Geographic Society, IFE advances our mission through deep-sea discovery, education and outreach technology.
Dr. Ballard and his team investigated the Black, Mediterranean and Aegean Seas and Eastern Atlantic regions. Their discoveries included:
Since 2009, Dr. Ballard and his team have reached an estimated 14 million people worldwide through outreach programs. A platform for lifelong learning, E/VNautilusincludes K-12 education programs that feature virtual field trips and over-the-shoulder views of real-time discoveries and spark youth’s interest in STEM. In 2011:
Dr. Stephen M. Coan is President and Chief Executive Officer of Sea Research Foundation, the parent organization of JASON. Dr. Coan has served as Executive Director of two educational organizations, held faculty appointments at Tufts University, Bentley College and Cambridge College. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University, and both a master’s in Management degree and a doctorate in social policy from the Heller Graduate School at Brandeis.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Stewardship of our natural resources is essential if we wish to guarantee that present and future generations enjoy clean water, good air quality and open spaces. When you support organizations that protect the environment you address immediate need today while ensuring a greener tomorrow.
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