Birch Aquarium Welcomes Sue to the Family!

Birch Aquarium is proud to announce a new addition to the family, Sue Lafferty!

“After a decades-long career in museums and aquariums in the Pasadena/Los Angeles area, Sue is very happy to return to her birthplace of San Diego, and her beloved Pacific Ocean. She is especially thrilled to be at the Birch Aquarium. It is a true gem among aquariums, and she is honored to be a part of the Birch Aquarium family. She pinches herself every time she takes in the view from Tide Pool Plaza. She also believes that volunteers are the heart of an organization and has so enjoyed getting to know the many devoted volunteers here at Birch.

Sue grew up in a beach family in Long Beach, California, where she swam, sailed her Hobie Cat and windsurfer around Alamitos Bay, and flew fighter kites on the beach. Her dad was an avid surfer and instilled in Sue a love and respect for the ocean. She attended UCSB and graduated with a dual degree in art and biology, after which she pursued a short-lived freelance career in scientific illustration while teaching at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium. Her work was published by the University of California and 21st Century Fox, among others, and has been exhibited at the California Academy of Sciences. Her true calling, however, was in research and education and very early on she found herself setting aside her pens and ink to study gray whales in Baja and orcas in northern Norway. While serving as science education specialist at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, she attended graduate school at USC (Fight On!) in science education, followed by director of education appointments at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and for 14 wonderful years, the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino where she took a deep dive into the arts and humanities in addition to science education.

In addition to water-related activities, Sue is an equestrian and although her beloved mare Maggie, a former race horse and polo pony is recently retired to Oregon, she’s looking forward to returning to riding at one of the local barns as soon as things settle down a bit.

All things come full circle, though. Sue is so very happy to be re-acquainting herself with all things marine while helping to fulfill the mission and strategic initiative, of Birch Aquarium at Scripps, with her new colleagues.”

Sue will be the Director of the Education Department- if you see her around the aquarium make sure to give her a warm welcome!

*Thank you to the Birch Aquarium Volunteers for putting together the story.


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Scripps Institution of Oceanography UC San Diego