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National Aquarium Announces 2017 Marjorie Lynn Bank Lecture Series Lineup

Four lectures highlight changemakers in the conservation movement


The National Aquarium is proud to host conservation changemakers for the 2017 Marjorie Lynn Bank Lecture Series. The organization will host four lectures, one per month September through December, examining a wide range of environmental and oceanic topics through the lens of each speaker’s efforts to effect positive change.

“This group of esteemed individuals – representing explorers, scientists, advocates and diplomats – are true pioneers who are building our resiliency to climate change, advising our leaders, educating communities and creating solutions to bolster human and ocean health,” said National Aquarium Chief Conservation Officer Kris Hoellen. “We are so honored to host them here in Baltimore to share their personal stories and facilitate inspiring discussion.”

On Sept. 26, Dr. Enric Sala will present “Pristine Seas: Saving the Last Wild Places in the Ocean.” Dr. Sala is a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence dedicated to restoring the health and productivity of the ocean, developing new conservation business models and protecting the last pristine marine ecosystems worldwide. He founded and leads National Geographic’s Pristine Seas, a project that combines exploration, research and media to inspire country leaders to protect the last wild places in the ocean. The Pristine Seas project has helped protect more than 3 million square kilometers of ocean around the world. Dr. Sala is a member of the National Aquarium Board of Directors.

On Oct. 17, Marcus Eriksen and Anna Cummins from 5 Gyres Institute will present “JUNK Raft: Our Journey Toward More Ocean, Less Plastic.” Founders of 5 Gyres, this couple met while researching the North Pacific gyre and vowed to dedicate their lives to solving the problem of marine pollution. Their organization completed the first plastic research expeditions across the South Atlantic and South Pacific gyres and collaborated with international scientists to publish the first global estimate of total plastic in the ocean. This lecture will include a book signing for Dr. Eriksen’s new book, “JUNK Raft.”

On Nov. 2, Dr. Richard Alley will present “As the Tide Rises: Decades of Watching Ice Sheets Change.” Dr. Alley is an Evan Pugh University professor of geosciences at Penn State, and a member of the committee recognized as a co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He studies the great ice sheets to help predict future changes in climate and sea level, and has conducted field research in Antarctica, Greenland and Alaska. Dr. Alley participated in the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and has authored multiple books, including “Earth: The Operators Manual,” and hosted a special public television event based on the same title. Dr. Alley has provided guidance and expertise to numerous government officials including a U.S. Vice President, the President's Science Advisor, and the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

On Dec. 13, Ambassador James A. Joseph will reflect on diversity in the conservation space and his decades of service in his presentation “The Passion of a Patriot: A Journey from Private Virtues to Public Values." Ambassador Joseph began his career at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in 1963, where he helped found and lead the local civil rights movement. He was also the founding chair of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal government agency that now engages more than five million Americans in service through AmeriCorps and other programs. Joseph has served four U.S. Presidents, including appointments by President Jimmy Carter as undersecretary of the Department of Interior and President Bill Clinton as U.S. ambassador to South Africa. In 1999, the Republic of South Africa awarded Ambassador Joseph the Order of Good Hope, the highest honor bestowed on a citizen of another country. Ambassador Joseph is emeritus professor of the practice of public policy at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. This lecture will include a book signing of Ambassador Joseph’s autobiography “Saved for a Purpose: A Journey from Private Virtues to Public Values.”

Individual lecture tickets are $15 for the public and $10 for National Aquarium members. Series package tickets are $40 for the public and $25 for members. Tickets can be purchased on the Aquarium’s website. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for a reception for ticket holders; all lectures begin at 7 p.m.

Marjorie Lynn Bank was a native Baltimorean and a naturalist who promoted aquatic conservation and shared her extensive knowledge of marine biology through her award-winning underwater photography and educational lectures. Her legacy lives on through the National Aquarium Marjorie Lynn Bank Lecture Series, established by the Bank family when Marjorie passed away in 1994.

For more information on the series, visit To view previous lectures, visit the Aquarium’s YouTube channel.