Julie Packard

Julie Packard is founding executive director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Based on a lifelong passion for science and nature, she has led the Aquarium to become a global force for ocean conservation. She chairs the board of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, a global leader in deep ocean science and technology and she is deeply engaged in ocean conservation strategies through her work as a trustee of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Julie served as a member of the Pew Oceans Commission which published a blueprint for improving governance of America's ocean waters, and more recently served on the California Parks Forward Commission to develop a sustainable path for California's state parks. Julie holds a master’s degree in biology with a focus in marine algal ecology.

3 words to describe Nature?

Calming. Safe. Inspiring

3 things Nature taught you?




3 most treasured Nature spots?

California’s Sierra lakes

Big Sur Coast

Redwood forests

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?


When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

At home

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?


When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?


When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?


When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?


Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Mountains. They put time in perspective and put us in our place.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?


Share with us a childhood nature memory?

I grew up in the 50’s, in the foothills of what’s now called Silicon Valley. After school I’d ride my horse through our apricot orchard, into the hills and oak forest behind our house. We rarely had a destination in mind, but the act of aimless wandering was the best part. Sometimes I’d meet up with other kids and their horses, but some of the best times were alone. I loved experiencing the changing seasons in California, from the progression of spring wildflowers in the sunny grasslands and shady ravines, to the hot dry summers during the apricot harvest. These days so many kids don’t have nature to explore nearby and if they do, they’re surely not allowed to venture far from home. How did we let such a basic right of childhood disappear?