Conservation Through Education
The Oklahoma Aquarium is a public non-profit aquarium dedicated to the mission, “Conservation Through Education.”
More than 70 percent of the earth’s surface is covered by water, yet the thousands of fish and other other aquatic life forms in our oceans, lakes, rivers and streams, and the critical roles they play in the overall health of our planet are largely mysterious. The Oklahoma Aquarium founders, staff, volunteers and supporters believe knowledge is the key to preserving our resources. Our mission statement, “Conservation Through Education” sums up that belief.
Through enlightening exhibits, educational programs and up-close, sometimes hands-on encounters with aquatic life, it is hoped visitors come away from the Oklahoma Aquarium with a greater understanding and appreciation of the many fish, sharks, corals and other species that inhabit our world’s waters.
The Oklahoma Aquarium opened its doors to the public on May 28, 2003, but the facility became a dream and a passion for founders Dr. P.R. Ramey and Doug Kemper in 1984. From an idea literally drawn on a napkin, the Oklahoma Aquarium weathered many trials through building support and fundraising until the vision of Jenks city leaders led the Oklahoma Aquarium Foundation to settle on a plot of land on the west bank of the Arkansas River.
The Oklahoma Aquarium has proven to be a catalyst for development on both the Jenks and Tulsa sides of the river and a strong driver for Oklahoma tourism. But it is the educational value that is the greatest asset to the state and region. With nearly a half million visitors a year, including thousands of school children, the Oklahoma Aquarium fulfills its mission, “Conservation Through Education” every day.
The Oklahoma Aquarium operates under a management agreement with the Oklahoma Aquarium Foundation (OAF), a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, and the Jenks Aquarium Authority (JAA), which is responsible for the administration of finance and operational issues. The OAF is comprised of approximately 30 community leaders from various businesses, interests, and backgrounds. Long range and strategic planning, fundraising, development, and the general well being of the Oklahoma Aquarium are discussed and voted upon during OAF meetings.
The JAA is a seven member public trust comprised of OAF Board members and Jenks elected officials. The Aquarium Chief Operating Officer/Executive Director is responsible to the JAA and OAF and oversees and directs daily operations through a comprehensive Aquarium management team. The Deputy Director and Curator lead daily efforts to care for the existing collection and exhibitry. These talented individuals also develop and direct construction of new exhibits and lead research projects.Oklahoma Aquarium Foundation Board of Directors
Jeff Bonds – Jeff Bonds Consulting
Teri Bowers – Executive Director
Michael Cooper - AT&T
Paul Eads – Community Volunteer
Jerry Floyd – River Spirit Casino
Martin Garber - Garber & Associates
Kevin Gore – BKD, LLP
Dason Gwartney – Tedford Insurance
Steven D. Hendrickson - The Boeing Company
Jeremy Johnson - Bank of Oklahoma
Chuck Kelley – ONEOK, Inc.
Lloyd Landreth – Landreth Law Firm
Lynda Burris Linscott – Of Counsel
Blake Messer - Grant Thornton, LLP
Melinda Mercer – Community Volunteer
Rebecca Miller - Schnake Turnbo Frank
Keith Montgomery - Williams Co.
Dr. Kara Gae Neal – University of Tulsa
Shawn Orth – Flint Energy Services, Inc.
Marco Placencia - Equitas Realty Advisors, LLC
Dr. P.R. Ramey – Chair Emeritus
Peter Regan - Devonshire Law, LLC
Marellie Robinson – TX-OK Kiwanis
Joshua Roby – Firstar Bank
Harvie Roe – AmeriTrust Corporation
David Sartin - AEP-PSO
Jennifer Shoulders - Community Volunteer
Jan Skinner – Aquarium Volunteer
Derek Smithee – Oklahoma Water Resource Board
Linda Stoesser - Aquarium Volunteer
Stephen Sutton – SpiritBank
Tiny Tomsen – NatureWorks , Inc.
Francisco Trevino - Hispanic Chamber of Tulsa
Dr. Dean VanTrease – Retired, Tulsa Community College
Fred Wightman - Community Volunteer
Pat Woodward – Aquarium Volunteer
Jenks Aquarium Authority
Sally Bisel – Trustee
Teri Bowers – Chief Operating Officer
Greg Bowman — Chairman
Paul Eads – Trustee
Brian O'Hara - Trustee
Kevin Rowland - Vice-Chairman
Joshua D. Roby – Trustee
Harvie Roe – Trustee
Mike Tinker – General Manager
Jenks City Council
Sally Bisel – Councilwoman
Greg Bowman – Mayor
Brian O'Hara – Councilman
Kevin Rowland – Vice-Mayor
Mike Sharp - Councilman
Lonnie Sims – Councilman