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Laura Bankey

Laura BankeyAs the vice president of conservation programs, during the field season I usually work with the other conservation staff to prepare for events such as tree plantings, coastline cleanups and other tasks to restore vital wildlife habitats. I also enjoy teaching volunteers and students about the Chesapeake Bay watershed. 


What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Quincy, M.D.–for those of you too young to remember, think CSI before computers.

What did you study in school?
Bachelor of Science in biochemistry, Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry, M.A. in marine science (aquatic toxicology)

How did you get started in your field of work?
I spent a lot of time outdoors when I was young, exploring the world around me. We had a lot of woods to investigate, the water was always just down the road and there was always local wildlife to watch and listen to. We are lucky to live in Maryland, where we are never too far from freshwater streams, wetlands, higher forested elevations, the Bay and the ocean. So much to discover within a few hours’ drive!

At the Aquarium

How long have you been at the Aquarium?
10.5 years.

I love what I do because...
There are two great things about my job. First, I get to spend a lot of time working outside restoring habitats and species that are vital to the ecological balance of our planet. Second, I get to work with some amazing volunteers. These are folks that have a similar passion to mine and have sacrificed some of their valuable free time to do what they feel is important. We share that passion and experience and it connects us all.

Most memorable moment at the Aquarium
My most memorable moments have taken place outside the walls of the Aquarium: planting our 1 millionth native plant on a Virginia Beach Sand Dune, any of our animal releases, and any of our Terrapin releases on Poplar Island.

Fun Facts

Hometown: Pasadena, MD

Favorite Animal:
One of my favorite animals would have to be any species of sea turtle — they are ancient, beautiful swimmers and tough! I also recently fell in love with the waxy monkey frog. They are really cool to look at and watching them walk along a tree branch makes me laugh. Finally, I have to mention the rockfish, blue crab, and oyster. They are Chesapeake Bay icons that have supported this ecosystem for thousands of years.

What do you like to do in your free time?
Most of my free time now is spent with my 5 year old daughter. Enjoying our time together and teaching her to be a young lady and thoughtful steward of our planet just about takes up every spare minute!

Three things you never leave home without?

  • Reusable shopping bag
  • Reusable coffee mug
  • Sunglasses

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