How about some ocean-friendly gifts this year? Get in the holiday spirit by making sustainable choices that support the conservation of marine life, reduce single-use plastic consumption and ocean plastic pollution, and encourage sustainable seafood harvesting practices. Dive deep into the Ocean Wise list of gift ideas – there’s something for everyone on your list – and feel good about contributing directly to ocean protection efforts.
Aquadopt an Aquatic Species
While it’s better to give than receive, it’s even better to give and receive! Symbolically adopt an aquatic animal and give a unique gift, support ocean conservation, and receive a tax receipt. Aquadopt Kits are $55 and come with a certificate of adoption, fact booklet, collector card, plush toy and $40 tax receipt for the gifter.
Directly support research and conservation of British Columbia’s critically-endangered southern resident killer whales as well as the threatened northern resident and transient populations through Ocean Wise’s Wild Killer Whale Adoption Program. Special to this aquatic adoption, gifters can upgrade to adopt either a specific wild killer whale or a family. Upgraded Aquadopt Kits include an adoption certificate, photo and biography for each of the chosen whales along with a USB featuring the melodic song of killer whale vocalizations. Ocean Wise runs one of the longest continuous studies of this species globally; learning about them is paramount to ensuring the best standards and regulations are set to protect them. Visit killerwhale.org/adopt.
Symbolic adoptions aren’t limited to killer whales; Ocean Wise offers six other Aquadopt Kits for conservationists, including sea otters, seals, sharks, and – new this year – charismatic walruses (available starting November 15). Walruses, like all Arctic mammals, are facing increasing threats due to rapid climate change. Little is known about these iconic animals but the Vancouver Aquarium is working to change that. Building on 25 years of pinniped studies, the Aquarium team is gathering critical information about growing walruses Lakina and Balzak and working towards providing research-based solutions to protect wild populations. Purchase Aquadopt Kits at the Vancouver Aquarium Gift Shop and online at support.ocean.org/aquadopts.
Give the Gift of Membership
Give the gift of yearlong wonder and curiosity by purchasing a membership to the Vancouver Aquarium. Membership appeals to ocean lovers young and old and can be purchased for an individual or a family for one or two years. Memberships provide unlimited free admission through express entry and additional discounts and benefits, including exclusive access to the Aquarium during monthly Super Saturdays as well as special members-only events. One year memberships are $215 per family, $86 per individual adult, $57 per individual senior, student or youth, and $43 per individual child. Visit vanaqua.org/membership to purchase.
Make a Donation or Send a Virtual Gift
For the true blue ocean champions on your list, consider donating to Ocean Wise on their behalf. Donations are tax deductible and directly benefit ocean protection initiatives, and gifters can send a special card or e-card to let the recipient know about the gift. No packaging required! Donations are anything but selfish and can be downright elfish when you send a unique gift from the Ocean Wise Virtual Gift Store. Nothing says happy holidays with a coy smile like the following inbox stuffers: a night light for corals for $8, an urchin for a rescued sea otter for $12, one million sea monkeys for $22 or a whale snot sample for $22. Visit vanaqua.org/donate to make a donation and purchase from the Virtual Gift Store.
Give a Sustainable Smorgasbord
The much-anticipated annual Chowder Chowdown takes place in February 2019 in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. Top Ocean Wise chefs compete head-to-head for the title of Chowder Chowdown Champion. Perfect for the foodies on your list, gifting tickets to Chowder Chowdown means giving an incredible gastronomic experience with delectable original chowders and local craft beer as well as supporting the Ocean Wise Seafood program which helps to ensure that ocean life will be abundant for generations to come. Tickets go on sale on November 14. Visit vanaqua.org/chowder to purchase.
Visit a One-Stop Green Shop
The Vancouver Aquarium Gift Shop is a one-stop shop to find ocean-friendly gifts. Disposable-plastic alternatives trend this year; sustainably-harvested bamboo plates, cups, lunch boxes and cutlery sets as well as reusable water bottles are gifts that keep on giving throughout the year. For the little ones, environmentally-conscious alternatives that are sure to delight include natural rubber bath toys, wooden puzzles and nurdle-free stuffies of walruses, snakes and narwhals – the unicorns of the sea. In an effort to reduce unnecessary plastic, stuffies purchased at the Gift Shop do not contain nurdles (or the small plastic pellets found in most stuffed animals) or plastic hang tags. For the grownups on your list, salmon cribbage boards made from locally-sourced wood and crafted by locally-based artist Andrew Riddle are a fun option; and upcycled glass sea star ornaments made by Illuminati Glassworks on Gabriola Island make the perfect hostess gift. Shop in person at the Vancouver Aquarium seven days a week during Aquarium operating hours (open to all Stanley Park visitors) or online around-the-clock. Visit vanaquashop.org.
Vancouver Aquarium, an Ocean Wise initiative, is one of the world’s leading accredited aquariums, dedicated to the conservation of aquatic life. Ocean Wise is a not-for-profit organization whose vision is a world in which oceans are healthy and flourishing.