President’s Blog: September 30, 2016
President's Blog

President’s Blog: September 30, 2016

Dear Friend: Our annual Ocean Commotion gala was quite a…

Dear Friend:

Our annual Ocean Commotion gala was quite a success. We announced completion of fundraising for the Dr. George and Carol Milne Conservation and Research Center, a $4 million new building including renovation of the Aquatic Animal Study Center, a project that is already underway. The renovated building is being transformed into the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation Veterinary and Animal Care Facility with state of the art animal hospital suites, labs, and a new food preparation area for our animal husbandry operations.

Our co-chairs for Ocean Commotion, Susette Tibus and Eric Janney, put considerable work into making the event a truly memorable experience. Roz Gilhuly, now our Vice President of Development, has been managing the event for many years and I am personally grateful for her leadership. Kathy Lloyd, Executive Director of Ocean Blue Catering and Trad Dart, Executive Chef, prepared and delivered a spectacular meal and their hard work is greatly appreciated.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and Stonington First Selectman Rob Simmons were among the 500 people in attendance. The event realized over $700,000 in funds for our mission and programs.

At the outset of the evening, we enjoyed a video presentation introduced by Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Dr. George M. Milne, Jr. The video, which you can see from the link below, speaks to the conservation ethos and programs of Mystic Aquarium:

2016 Conservation Overview

Here are some images from the evening:

inside tent     group of people having fun     group of people having fun     group of people having fun

water wall and band

coan-simmons     George Milne, Jr and Susette Tibus

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Dr. Jen Flower, our Director of Veterinary Services, has successfully passed the American College of Zoological Medicine board exam certifying her as a specialist in zoological medicine. Becoming board certified in zoological medicine is tremendous accomplishment that very few veterinarians achieve. We congratulate Dr. Flower on her continued professional excellence.

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The manatee being rehabilitated at Mystic Aquarium is doing quite well. She is eating pounds of lettuce, including the entire inventory from local supermarkets last week. This week, our veterinary team determined that she is pregnant! Below is an ultrasound image of the developing calf. Our team is working with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to make arrangements with the United States Coast Guard to fly her to Florida very soon. There she will continue rehabilitation and be released back to the wild. This experience is a prime example of the importance of our community, national and international relationships.

Manatee Ultrasound

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At Mystic Aquarium, we are very proud of our community connections. I am pleased to serve on the boards of several community organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut; Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Norwich; Horizons; The Feinstein Foundation of Rhode Island; and the Governor’s Advisory Council on Tourism. Andy Wood, Senior Vice President for External Relations, serves as the Vice-Chair of the board of the Greater Mystic Visitors Bureau and serves on the board of the Connecticut Convention and Sports Bureau; Katie Cubina, Senior Vice President for Mission Programs, serves on the board of the Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Connecticut; Dale Wolbrink, Director of Public Affairs, is Vice Chair of the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce; and Kelly Matis, Vice President of Conservation and Education, serves on the board of the Stonington Education Foundation.

These are just a few examples of the leadership that our staff provides in various roles throughout the region, not to mention nationally and internationally. Mystic Aquarium is pleased to support many other organizations through grants, collaboration, sponsorships and special programming.

Every year, as a sign of our pride to be part of the community, we participate in the Columbus Day Parade, in Westerly, Rhode Island, which is one of the largest parades in the region. This year we showcase our conservation efforts with the following sculpture – endorsed of course, by Trustee and Chair of our Audit and Marketing Committees, Steve Perrelli, of Coca Cola of New England!

penguin sculpture

Best wishes and I look forward to writing to you again very soon!



Stephen M. Coan, PhD
President and CEO

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