Harry Helling, who started his career more than 30 years ago as an associate curator at the T. Wayland Vaughan Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, has been named the new executive director of the Birch Aquarium. Helling will start work next week.
Most recently, Helling served as the president and CEO of the Crystal Cove Alliance at Crystal Cove State Park in Newport Coast, Calif. There, he led the development of innovative K-12 marine science education programs such as an ocean acidification lab and an after-school bioacoustics and endangered-bird monitoring program. He also contributed to conservation planning by developing partnerships with land managers, researchers, and user groups to improve science-based resource management across a 40,000-acre reserve.
Helling just completed six years as founding board chair of The Ecology Center, a new nonprofit devoted to Orange County's only organic farm, promoting sustainable solutions for water, energy, food, and shelter.
Previously, Helling was executive vice president, education and program development, at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point. For 14 years, he served as director of the Dana Point Marine Life Refuge and founder of the Orange County Marine Protected Area Council, a countywide collaborative focused on improving enforcement, science, and education in the area's most sensitive marine habitat.