Neal Maine

Neal Maine on the Avenue S bridge as he photographs a blue heron.

As many of you may know, the Seaside Aquarium has a long, rich history. Established in 1937, many people have participated in the aquarium’s success over the years, but few have dedicated as much time, energy and love as Neal Maine. Maine’s dedication to the Seaside Aquarium, the community and nature is inspirational.

Maine had been involved with the aquarium for many years when he decided to join the Seaside Aquarium board of directors in 1995. He joined the board in hopes of helping the aquarium expand their educational outreach and to help the aquarium get more involved in both the community and the scientific world.

Maine spearheaded the beginning of what is now the Northern Oregon/Southern Washington Marine Mammal Stranding Network, a successful partnership with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Portland State University and the Seaside Aquarium. In 1995, Maine brought an idea to the board asking them to participate in what he called the Seaside beach and Necanicum Estuary Discovery Program.

This program was designed to be a free tool for both locals and visitors to discover and learn about the local beach and estuary environments. With the goal to get people to view their recreational sites in a bit of a different way, as a living breathing ecosystem. While the program has changed over the years the mission is still the same.

After 25 years of dedication, Maine thought it was time for someone else to take the reins and he resigned from the board of directors in early 2020. His time on the board will never be forgotten and he will be missed greatly. So how do you thank a guy who means the world to you? And what do you give a man who gives back so much to the community? You do the same. The Seaside Aquarium has decided to do a yearly fundraiser, “The Maine Event.” All the admissions collected on the last Sunday in February will go to an organization or organizations of Maine’s choosing.

The inaugural “Maine Event” will happen on Feb. 28. With COVID-19 this event may look a little different from future events. Due to COVID-19 and the restrictions set, the aquarium will not know for sure if they will be allowed to open their doors to the public. The Seaside Aquarium is providing two paths for participation this year. If the aquarium is open to the public, all admissions collected from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. will be donated to the Seaside Library Foundation 501©(3). If the aquarium is not open or if you want to participate in the Seaside Library fundraiser but cannot make it to “The Maine Event,” call the Seaside Aquarium at 503-738-6211. For a donation, the aquarium will send you a free pass to use at a later date.

The Seaside Public Library will use any proceeds from the event for the long-term goals of the library.

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