Education & Awareness

ECO Talks



The staff of the Aquarium Foundation is an amazing mix of people, each with special interests and knowledge around topics that relate to the ocean. Many have been asked to speak at functions, events and club meetings, to share their knowledge and spread awareness of the ocean. Ocean awareness and education is what we love and strive to do, whether it is teaching one child, a school group or a full audience of adults. With decades of presentation experience, many of our staff are available to offer interesting talks.

Below are just a few examples of what we can talk about, however if there is a specific topic that interests you, please contact us to see whether we can send someone to present on it. Please consider offering a donation for our services, so that we can continue our work in ocean conservation, awareness, research and education.

Book one of our speakers

Sustainable Seafood

Bianca Engel, our Deputy Head of Education, has been involved in adult training, and specifically sustainable seafood, for over a decade now. She has trained restaurant and retail staff, as well as Aquarium volunteers and staff on this topic. Our ocean provides us with many essential resources and services including oxygen, regulating our climate and food. In South Africa alone, 312 million kg of seafood is consumed each year. During this talk Bianca will address the following questions:

What does sustainable seafood mean? Is all seafood sustainably caught or farmed? What are the issues regarding this? How can we as individuals make a difference?

Bianca’s experience and hands-on approach makes this a very interesting and thought-provoking presentation to see.


Xavier Zylstra, Deputy Head of Education, is fascinated by the ocean and its many inhabitants, but he has a special interest in biomimicry. Humans have been looking to nature for inspiration since they first walked the planet. Biomimicry is a more formal and multidisciplinary approach, bringing engineers, architects and technical designers together with biologists, based on the understanding that plants and animals have evolved over eons to survive in the best possible way on an ever-changing planet.

Essentially, almost any technical challenge we face in modern times should have a solution in nature. Biologists well versed in structure and function in nature will be able to highlight potential solutions. Far more than copying ideas from nature, though, biomimicry attempts to follow similar sustainable solutions- using abundantly available raw materials, assembling them in water and doing so at standard temperature and pressure. This new and exciting discipline has the potential to pave a better future for all mankind, while also reducing the negative impact that we have had on the planet, thus far.

Marine plastic/Rethink-the-Bag

Hayley McLellan, Environmental Change Agent at the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation, worked in the field of animal care and behaviour for 25 years before discovering that human behaviour was also of curious interest to her! The creation of the Rethink the Bag campaign – for a plastic shopping bag free South Africa – as far back as 2007 has led her on a most rewarding journey to date. Both realising and highlighting the destructive truth about all single-use plastic in the environment, inspires her to consistently communicate with a variety of audiences almost daily. She will guide your audience to feel empowered when taking personal action to become the ‘solution to pollution’. Hayley comes highly recommended as a professional speaker.

“I suspect many thought this a somewhat banal subject.  But we were surprised by a beguiling Environmental Campaigner who sent our emotions through the wringer having us on the brink of tears, then laughing and utterly spellbound by her enthusiasm.” U3A Chairman 2019

Marine Wildlife Management

Brett Glasby has been rescuing animals since early childhood, and has a real passion for anything wild, especially if it is slithery or hairy too. He worked as wildlife inspector for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for many years before joining us as wildlife coordinator. Brett has incredible stories about what happens in and around the harbour, from saving sunfish, disentangling seals to running after otters and penguins.

Turtle Rehabilitation

Talitha Noble is our conservation coordinator and leading our turtle rescue, rehabilitation and release work. She is a qualified marine biologist and passionate about the ocean and sharing her experiences to inspire all to love the ocean and to care about it. Sea Turtles are fantastic ocean ambassadors and Talitha has wonderful stories about her rescue turtles such as Sandy, Bob, Noci and hundreds of little turtle hatchlings.

Inge Adams is a marine scientist with a keen interest in animal health and assisting Talitha in our sea turtle hospital. Inge did her Master’s thesis on dolphin parasites and has built up a lot of experience and skill in animal health management. Inge has so much information to share about sea turtles, from habitat to rescues; treatments to releases and always keen to inform and inspire to increase positive impact.

Maryke Musson is our CEO and absolutely passionate about the ocean and people. She is a marine scientists, medical physiologist and story teller of note. Maryke was part of a small team of aquarium biologist at the Two Oceans Aquarium in 1997 when Yoshi, the famous sea turtle, was rescued by a Japanese fishing vessel brought to the Aquarium. She was also part of the team who prepared and released Yoshi back into the ocean in 2017. Maryke has been sharing Yoshi’s journey to audiences worldwide. This is a story of hope, resilience, care, love and letting go.

Book one of our speakers