Annual Appeal

Dear Friends of the Center,

     Writing to you as the CEO of the Center for the first time feels like a momentous occasion, but it pales in comparison to all the wonderful things happening here.  As you may know, I took on the role of President & CEO in February as Brian DuVall retired, after more than 30 years at the helm. We are so thankful for all that Brian has done for the Center, and so fortunate that he has agreed to serve on our Board of Directors! 

     As spring finally arrives, we are at last starting to emerge from the constraints of living through a global pandemic. There’s so much we feel called to do!  Like so many organizations, we’re coming out of this time of crisis with depleted resources, but here at the Center there’s no loss of heart or commitment to our mission.  Our staff have been downright heroic in their efforts to revamp our programs in order to continue serving the youth of Camden and beyond during the pandemic. But as opportunities to work in-person increase, so does our staff’s energy and excitement.  

     I’d like to introduce you to two young people who inspire us and remind us why we do this work (names have been changed). Olivia is 8 years old. Last summer, she spent four weeks with us in summer camp, and so loved the experience that she came back for our fall and winter break holiday camps. Now when she visits the Aquarium with her parents and friends, she’s so knowledgeable and enthusiastic that she serves as a personal guide, and gives a tour like no other. We feel so fortunate that we were able to introduce Olivia to marine science and can’t wait to see what she'll do next with her love and knowledge of the natural world! 

     Imani is 6 years old, and health concerns limited her opportunities to learn and grow through the pandemic even more than most students. But for six weeks last year, our virtual After School at Sea program gave Imani a safe, inclusive and welcoming space to learn about the ocean and aquatic life.  Her enthusiasm and love of learning has inspired all of us, and we proudly display the cards and letters she’s sent thanking staff for the wonderful experience she had.  

     Among today’s youth are the environmental heroes our world will so desperately need in the future. With your support, the Center will continue to reach those youth and help them begin their journey.  Your donation can give a budding environmentalist the opportunity to participate in one of the marine science camps that Olivia loved so much or give a child like Imani safe and engaging opportunities to learn about ecological wonders and our responsibility to protect them.  No gift is too large or too small, and every dollar goes toward helping us accomplish our mission.  And, just as important as your financial support, we need your help spreading the word about all that we do.  Please consider following us on social media (we’re on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn) and sharing our posts with your networks.    

With deep gratitude for all you do to support the Center and our mission. 

Nicole Gillespie 
President and CEO
Center for Aquatic Sciences


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