Liz Baird is the Director of the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. She works with her team to promote an awareness, understanding, appreciation and conservation of the diverse natural and cultural resources of the planet’s ocean, estuaries, rivers, streams and other aquatic environments. The North Carolina Aquariums are a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and are dedicated to animals in our care and in the wild. As such, the Aquarium recognizes the challenges threatening species locally and globally. The Aquarium team commits resources and time to learning more and taking action through research, fieldwork, education, and the daily efforts of staff
Previously, Liz was the Chief of School and Lifelong Education at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (NCMNS). In her twenty-four years with the Museum, she helped create a team that provided educational experiences onsite, offsite, online and outdoors. Inspired by Richard Louv’s book, Last Child in the Woods, Ms. Baird launched national “Take A Child Outside” week as a way to help reconnect children and nature. Ms. Baird received the Environmental Educator of the Year Award from the North Carolina Environmental Educators Association as a result of this work.
Ms. Baird has led the Educators of Excellence Institute in Belize, Central America which takes outstanding North Carolina educators on field-based experiences to help them gain new knowledge about the natural world, give them new skills to use in their classrooms and inspire them to stay committed to the teaching profession. Additionally, Ms. Baird has been involved in deep-sea coral research in the Atlantic over the past fifteen years. A recent project was awarded the Partners in Conservation Award by the Department of the Interior.
Ms. Baird has assisted in the creation of exhibits for and opening of three museum buildings. In addition to classroom spaces, she steered the creation of interactive lab spaces open to students, teachers, and the general public. She has been actively engaged in exhibit design, including the creation of a replica of the submersible experience from the deep-sea research and brining best practices in early childhood spaces to the Aquarium.
Ms. Baird earned her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology from Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and her Master’s of Science degree in Science Education from North Carolina State University. She serves on the Board of Trustees for Salem College, and enjoys kayaking and hiking.