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Position: Curator
Organization: Nicholas Sonntag Marine Education Centre
Location: Gibsons, BC

Open Date: January 22, 2020
Closing Date: February 19, 2020
Start Date: March 2020

Hours: Permanent, Salaried, 0.8 FTE

Compensation: Salary commensurate with experience, 3 weeks vacation, cash supplement in-lieu of benefits, on-call supplement

Apply to:
*please note only candidates chosen for an interview will be contacted


The NSMEC is seeking a 0.8 full-time (32 hours/week) Curator. The incumbent will have a strong background in animal husbandry and management experience. Reporting to the Executive Director, the Curator is responsible for the day-to-day management of the aquarium. This includes animal health, system facilities and equipment, the visitor experience and supervising those charged with caring for the animals, including interpreters, aquarists, students, and volunteers.

The Curator is responsible for annual activities such as: collection and release planning with the Dive Safety Officer, exhibit design, new construction, and community activities. The Curator will work closely with the Executive Director and other members of the staff to create long-term strategic plans for the centre.

The Curator coordinates the business affairs of the aquarium including social media and earned revenue generation and supports delivery of educational and conservation programming as required.

The Curator engages in professional development and networking to advance the goals of the aquarium.



  • Oversees animal husbandry procedures, including the daily care of animals, establishing proper nutritional programs, and managing animal health in partnership with veterinary staff.
  • Manage and oversee maintenance of recirculating life support system
  • Be knowledgeable about the animals’ habitats, daily care, dietary needs, and social and reproduction habits.
  • Maintain inventories of animals, health and observation records.
  • Develop, maintain and enforce standards of animal care policies and procedures.
  • Develop an on-call plan to respond to system emergencies and participate in scheduled on-call duties.


  • Manage a volunteer program that includes the recruitment, engagement and successful retention of volunteers.
  • Coordinate, train and manage volunteer staff.
  • Interview, hire, train and supervise aquarist staff, interpreters and co-op students.
  • Build and manage the NSMEC staff schedule to meet budget, activity and animal health requirements.


  • Develops, implements and coordinates activities to deliver a motivating visitor experience, such as animal collection planning, exhibit and habitat design, new construction, and community activities.
  • Develop visitor experiences and participate in outreach activities. Monitor and evaluate these activities. Report results.
  • Work with the Education Coordinator on the scheduling of educational programs and interpretive activities.
  • Be available to assist Education Coordinator with program delivery if required.


  • Coordinates the business affairs of the aquarium.
  • In collaboration with the ED and staff members create long-term strategic plans and develop objectives that are based on the philosophy of the organization.
  • Prepare budgets and reports. Operate within approved budgets.
  • Deliver communications within an approved plan including social media, information for newspaper reports and magazine stories.
  • Manage the NSMEC virtual experiences and produce social media content (Facebook, Instagram), including monthly newsletter
  • Working with volunteers and staff to promote revenue producing programs and activities for community members and visitors.
  • Develop policy for board approval and implement and ensure policy requirements are achieved.


  • Engages in professional development and networking
  • Attend scientific conferences upon approval to keep up to date with development in the field.
  • Work on special projects as directed by the Executive Director including grant writing.
  • Interface with colleagues from organizations in collaborative conservation efforts.
  • Represent NSMEC in collaborative efforts with other like institutions. In this capacity, exchange information, assemble the necessary permits and paperwork to affect collections from the wild or transfers.


The Curator – Nicholas Sonntag Marine Education Centre is responsible for

  • Identifying strategic opportunities within the centre.
  • Organizing and delivering of reports on animal health, admissions and visitor experiences.
  • Establishing and maintaining effective programs and systems, processes and procedures, and evaluation methods.
  • Developing effective exhibits that help connect people with nature and encourage attitude and behavioural changes that promote and advance conservation.
  • Contributing to the revenue producing activities of the aquarium.
  • Managing the NSMEC website and social media channels.


Establishes and maintains relationships and alliances. Maintains effective communications. Shares information and readily determines to whom to go for relevant information. Seeks assistance and feedback in the problem-solving process. Partners with others to achieve expectations.


  • A bachelor’s degree in one of the biological sciences or equivalent experience
  • Knowledge of animal husbandry with previous aquarist, aquaculture, or hatchery experience
  • A working understanding of aquarium systems, recirculating systems, or similar
  • In-depth knowledge of local marine species and their life histories
  • Have a fondness and compassion for animals
  • Management skills, supervisory experience, and writing ability
  • Leadership ability, good coaching skills and the ability to create and maintain a team atmosphere and build consensus
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including conflict management and negotiating
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, effective and articulate public speaker
  • Customer-oriented, receptive to feedback and able to communicate clearly
  • Knowledgeable in social media and online platforms
  • Scuba experience an asset


  • Interpreters/Aquarists


The Nicholas Sonntag Marine Education Centre (NSMEC) is a registered non-profit organization and charity whose vision is a community that actively cares for the health of our oceans. The NSMEC is both a community aquarium and a marine education centre in one. The community aquarium operates under a collect-hold-release model allowing the centre to collect exclusively local marine animals, which, after a short stay, are released back to the local marine environment. Having only local species as residents inside the aquarium strengthens the connection with our local coastal waters. Aquarium “Release days” are memorable events organized with the entire Sunshine Coast community to further that connection even more. The marine education centre hosts formal school groups throughout the year in both classroom style and hands on learning in the aquarium. In addition to school groups, the education program also includes spring and summer camps, adult education, informal talks and presentations, and interpretive programs inside the centre. To learn more, visit and

The NSMEC is located inside the Gibsons Public Market, a bustling community hub boasting a bistro, 6 food vendors, a rotating pop-up shop, rental and community meeting spaces. The Gibsons Public Market and NSMEC are situated is historic Lower Gibsons, adjacent to the coastal waters of the Howe Sound/Atl’kitsem, a network of beautiful fjords northwest of Vancouver, BC. Although part of the mainland, Gibsons has that laid-back charm of island living. A quaint town of artists, restaurants and fishing boats, residents and visitors enjoy everything from water sports to hiking, all with a stunning view of the north shore mountains. To learn more about the Sunshine Coast, visit

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Current status: Open/apply now.   Date posted: Jan 24 2020    ID: 55760