Before the July 11 LJSA monthly meeting, Harry Telling, executive director of Birch Aquarium, gave an overview of the storied aquarium and marine research center at a reception hosted by Shores restaurant Osteria Romantica.
“It’s actually in the Scripps charter that the Institute must always have an aquarium,” said Helling, noting there have been four built during its long history, the first in 1909.
Noting the aquarium is “even more important today than ever,” Helling told an anecdote about world-renowned oceanographer and Shores resident Walter Munk, to illustrate just how old the marine facility is.
“At Walter’s 100th birthday at the aquarium he asked, ‘Is there anybody here who can say they’ve seen all four Scripps aquariums?’ As he looked around, he saw there was no one else who could say that.”
Helling said Birch “is a community aquarium, not really made for the purpose of tourism” adding, “It changes every day.”
But Helling cautioned, “If you think we’re just a bunch of fish tanks — you’d be wrong. It’s not designed to be (just) an exhibit, but also a research space training scientists.”
Of the aquarium’s future, Helling said, “Our world is in a place where we need science to protect the planet. That’s our new mission and a big one.”
Helling said conceptual plans are in the works to “create a new world-class aquarium and science center to extend ourselves and deepen our mission.”
Regarding dockless bikes, which have been proliferating everywhere along the coast, including La Jolla, since their introduction in February, Bry said: “We had a committee meeting where we talked about fees for enforcement and took public testimony. My goal is to come back to the Council in the fall with a proposal on fees.”
Said Bry, “Hundreds of millions of dollars by venture capitalists have been sunk into dockless” adding, “Those companies aren’t going away.”
Revealed Bry, “Dockless companies have been coming to us (city) offering to pay fees.”
In other action:
LJSA board member Joe Dicks talked about how waterless urinals, especially at construction sites, prevent needless water waste, suggesting such a system should be adopted by the city of San Diego which he said is “far behind other cities” in adopting such water-saving strategies.
San Diego Lifeguard Lt. Rich Stropky gave a report on the Independence Day holiday noting, “We had fewer rescues than most Fourth of Julys.”