Alderney Landing: When did you first start Back to the Sea?
The goal of Back to the Sea is to open a seasonal “mini aquarium” model in greater Halifax, which is an idea I started working on in January 2015. I officially created the Back to the Sea Society in spring 2016 when I welcomed my first two board members. By the end of that year, we were a team of five and had completed our first public outreach project.
Alderney Landing: What was the biggest obstacle at the beginning to start Back to the Sea?
There was just so much to do and I had to wear so many hats! Many people have worked for non-profits or volunteered for Boards, but I knew very few people who had actually founded a non-profit. Figuring out all the right steps in terms of registering, building a solid board, creating a website, and announcing the society to the general public at the right time was all tricky to figure out.
Alderney Landing: What do you offer now that is different from the beginning?
We have a location opened to the public now! And all thanks to Alderney Landing. We started off with portable touch tanks that we could bring around to different events and we now have a location that people can come to. The Touch Tank Hut is open every weekend until Labour Day.
Alderney Landing: Where do you see Back To Sea in five years from now?
Alderney Landing: How has social media helped you?
Social media has helped us slowly build a following and get the word out about our work. It’s allowed us to see that there is not only a want but a need for easily accessible marine education. Before we even had any programs to offer we were getting asks through social media to attend events, bring touch tanks to schools and daycares and even do birthday parties! We haven’t had the resources to say yes to everything, but we hope to in the near future.
Alderney Landing: What advice do you have for other young entrepreneurs who wish to do the same kind of non-profit as you?
Find multiple advisors and mentors! Ask the same question to more than one person and really listen to their advice, but at the same time remember that they won’t always be right or know what’s best for your situation. Trust your instinct and follow the path that’s right for your unique project. Build solid relationships and always be genuinely kind to people!
Alderney Landing: And finally, what do you like most about Downtown Dartmouth and Alderney Landing?
The people and the atmosphere! You really get a sense of community when you come down to Alderney Landing, especially on Saturdays. I love how proud people are to live or own businesses on the “dark side”. I feel extremely fortunate to pilot our aquarium idea at Alderney this August and hope this will lead to long lasting partnerships
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Willy Badger is an award winning entertainer and filmmaker who has has performed in Canada, United States, Japan, Singapore and Korea. He is also a two-time provincial champion basketball coach who has never been T'd up and teaches his players how to be a good sport first and foremost. Now that Larry King has retired Willy secretly he is vying for his position but still kinda wishes to be on Jackass. Willy is a Chameleon. With an acting degree from Bishop’s University and numerous artsy fartsy clown workshops, Willy is able to be both distinguished and totally undistinguished.