Marine biologist Dany Zbinden has been involved with research projects on whales of the Saint-Lawrence since 1993. As founder and director of the Mériscope since 2001, he has been promoting the development of our research base and the Mériscope team. Dany is directing the research and education program, but he is also engaged in public outreach. Since 2017, he participates in expeditions in Antarctica as guide and lecturer in marine biology during the Southern Hemisphere summer.
Dany: « The evolution towards an environmentally sustainable future of the species Homo sapiens imperatively requires the protection and research of global ecosystems – oceans, forests, polar regions. If we can engage young students in marine ecosystems today and give them technical skills as well as leadership qualities, then these people will be capable of making the right decisions tomorrow. »
Jacqueline (Jackie) Egger, a high school teacher in biology from Zurich, Switzerland, with a Master degree in zoology, has drawn upon her outstandig educational background to improve exhibits in several zoos and wildlife reserves. Jackie joined our team in 2017 and she is spearheading a new program for primary and high schools called « MérisCool ». She is also involved in the research program, particularly with coordinating all inputs to our photo-ID catalogue of minke whales, and serves as treasurer on the board.
Jackie: « Our field courses offer both young people in education and other nature enthusiasts of all ages the opportunity to experience the sea and its inhabitants first-hand. They get insight into the broad work of field biologists, put in scientific context through workshops and lectures. My biggest wish is to set up a fund (« MériFond ») with the help of external support in order to allow young people with modest financial means to attend our courses, too. »
Johanne Lemieux, a retired educational advisor from Montreal, joined our team in 2013 after a « Sails & Whales » cruise. Johanne manages our shop collection, but she is also supporting all projects related to graphics, editing and video production. In addition, she is contributing her organizational skills, software knowhow, and her immense educational knowledge in multiple projects of the Mériscope, all of which qualities come in handy for her position as secretary on the board as well.
Johanne: « A research station accessible to the public at large like the Mériscope, in a suitable location at the Gulf of St. Lawrence and with a diversity of marine mammals so close to the coast, is a big plus for research, education and public outreach – the three pillars of our mission. »