AZA's accreditation ensures Birch Aquarium meets ever-rising
standards in areas such as animal care, conservation, and education.
AZA Renews Birch Aquarium Accreditation
Designation maintains recognition of aquarium’s ‘ever-rising standards’
In March 2009, the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) renewed the aquarium’s accreditation. To remain accredited, Birch Aquarium at Scripps underwent a thorough investigation that ensured it has and will continue to meet ever-rising standards in areas such as animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, education, and safety. AZA requires zoos and aquariums to successfully complete this rigorous accreditation process every five years in order to be members of the association.
“Birch Aquarium at Scripps has been awarded AZA accreditation because of its high standards in every aspect of its operations,” said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. “San Diego should be proud to have one of the top aquariums in North America as a valuable community asset and economic engine.”
The mission of the AZA Accreditation Commission is to establish, uphold, and raise the highest zoological and aquarium industry standards through self-evaluation, on-site inspection, and peer review. The accreditation process includes a detailed application, a meticulous on-site inspection by a team of trained zoo and aquarium professionals, and interviews of top officials at a formal commission hearing.
“Outreach is a crucial part of Scripps Oceanography’s mission, and Birch Aquarium serves as a window into the institution as well as the ocean and environment,” said Nigella Hillgarth, Scripps assistant director for outreach and Birch Aquarium executive director. “I congratulate our dedicated staff for continually exceeding AZA’s standards of excellence.
Perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Birch Aquarium features more than 60 habitats of fish and invertebrates from the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest to the tropical waters of Mexico and the Caribbean. An interactive museum showcases research discoveries by Scripps scientists on climate, earth, and ocean science. Birch Aquarium welcomes an annual attendance of more than 400,000, including 45,000 school children. The aquarium’s mission is to provide ocean science education, to interpret Scripps research, and to promote ocean conservation.