Our History

 

2012: Dolphin Connection’s Sylvia Rickett and Haley Merritt publish a paper entitled Voluntary Hydration Simplified: Teaching Dolphins to Drink in IMATA’s Soundings magazine. The paper was originally presented at the 38th Annual IMATA Conference in Boston, MA.
 
2011: Dolphin Connection’s Cheryl Messinger and Terran McGinnis publish a book entitled Marineland, which tells the story of Marine Studios/Marineland of Florida, the first oceanarium in the United States.
 
2010: Dolphin Connection's Haley Merritt joins the editing team of IMATA's Soundings magazine.
 
2010: Dolphin Connection provides financial support for the “Don’t Feed Wild Dolphins” Public Service Announcement. This PSA was – and continues to be - broadcast in a variety of venues and depicts a variety of wild animals discussing their addictions to handouts of foods from humans.
 
2010: Dolphin Connection’s Cheryl Messinger co-authors a paper entitled Twenty Five Years of Marine Mammal Education, Research and Conservation:  A History of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA) with AMMPA Executive Director Marilee Menard.
 
2010: Dolphin Connection is acknowledged for excellence in Animal Welfare Advancement by The Animal Behavior Management Alliance (ABMA) for a presentation entitled Gelatin's Multiple Applications in Marine Animal Care and Training. This presentation explored the beneficial applications of edible gelatin use within a marine mammal training and husbandry program and was co-authored by staff from SeaWorld Florida.
 
2010: Dolphin Connection becomes only the 2nd marine mammal facility to be accredited by the International Marine Animal Trainers Association (IMATA). IMATA was founded to foster communication, professionalism, and cooperation among those who serve marine mammal science through training, public display, research, husbandry, conservation, and education. Through inspections by professionals in the field, IMATA has recently begun offering accreditations to qualifying member institutions.
 
2010: Dolphin Connection’s Cheryl Messinger co-authors a paper entitled Can Dolphins Be Seen Where There is No Sea: A History of Brookfield Zoo's Seven Seas Panorama with Rita Stacey-Vondra of the Chicago Zoological Society.  The paper was presented at the 38th Annual IMATA Conference in Boston, MA.
 
2009: Dolphin Connection’s Terran McGinnis is appointed as the co-chair of the Education Committee for the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums.
 
2009: Dolphin Connection’s Tracy Gaudio-Backhaus and Sue Palguta co-author a paper entitled Small Facility, Large Impact: Creative Strategies for Expanding Educational Opportunities with Limited Resources. This paper was presented at the 37th Annual IMATA Conference in Atlanta, GA.
 
2009: Dolphin Connection’s Cheryl Messinger co-authors a paper entitled Another Day in Paradise: An Early History of Dolphins in the Florida Keys with Linda Erb of the Dolphin Research Center and Nina Lambert of Theater of the Sea. This paper was presented at the 37th Annual IMATA Conference in Atlanta, GA.
 
2008: Dolphin Connection is re-accredited by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. Inspections and re-accreditations take place every five years.
 
2008: Dolphin Connection’s Cheryl Messinger co-authors a paper entitled From Frohn to Flipper: The Early History of Miami Seaquarium’s Marine Mammal Training Program with Heather Kennan of the Miami Seaquarium. This paper was presented at the 36th Annual IMATA Conference in Cancun, Mexico.
 
2007: Dolphin Connection's Kylene Moore joins the editing team of IMATA's Soundings magazine.
 
2007: Dolphin Connection’s Cheryl Messinger co-authors a paper entitled All I Really Need to Know About Training I Could Have Learned from Marine Studios with Billy Hurley and Terran Rosenberg of Marineland’s Dolphin Conservation Center. This paper was presented at the 35th Annual IMATA Conference in Indianapolis, IN.
 
2006: Dolphin Connection begins its annual tradition of sponsoring the Editor's Choice Award for the International Marine Animal Trainers Association (IMATA). A $350 cash award, sponsored by Dolphin Connection, is given to the author of the best conference abstract each year.
 
2006: Dolphin Connection’s Cheryl Messinger is appointed as Historian for the International Marine Animal Trainers’ Association
 
2005: Dolphin Connection hosts the 33rd annual conference of the International Marine Animal Trainers’ Association
 
2005: Dolphin Connection provides financial support for the “Don’t Feed Wild Dolphins” brochure printing. This campaign strives to inform the public about the dangers and lasting health impacts of feeding wild dolphins.
 
2003: Dolphin Connection is accredited by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA). The Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums is an international association representing marine life parks, aquariums, zoos, research facilities, and professional organizations dedicated to the highest standards of care for marine mammals and to their conservation in the wild through public education, scientific study, and wildlife presentations.
 
2004: Dolphin Connection’s Sylvia Rickett and Martha Wells publish a paper entitled Don’t Shoot the Trainer in IMATA’s Soundings magazine. Focusing on the professional development and structured training programs for marine mammal trainers, this paper was originally presented at the 31st Annual IMATA conference in Long Beach, CA.  
 
2003: Dolphin Connection is accredited by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA). The Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums is an international association representing marine life parks, aquariums, zoos, research facilities, and professional organizations dedicated to the highest standards of care for marine mammals and to their conservation in the wild through public education, scientific study, and wildlife presentations.
 
2001: Dolphin Connection is acknowledged for excellence in Education and Conservation by the International Marine Animal Trainers Association (IMATA) for a presentation entitled A Model for Cooperative Marine Mammal Breeding Programs. This presentation documented the utilization of the Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin Breeding Consortium model to encourage cooperative management and successful breeding programs with marine mammals.
 
2001: Dolphin Connection’s Cheryl Messinger is appointed as Planning and Policy Committee Chair for the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums
 
2000: Dolphin Connection’s Gina Wood publishes a paper entitled Developing a Special Needs Standardization Process and Training Protocol for Marine Mammal Interaction Programs. This paper was presented at the 28th Annual IMATA Conference in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
 
2000:  Dolphin Connection’s Doug Messinger publishes a paper entitled A Walrus Management Program with Brookfield Zoo’s marine mammal staff in IMATA’s Soundings magazine. This paper was presented at the 26th Annual IMATA Conference in Algarve, Portugal.
 
1999: Dolphin Connection’s Doug and Cheryl Messinger publish a paper with Greg Dye of the Brookfield Zoo, Patrick Berry of The Dolphin Experience and Rich Weissensel of Outernet Technologies entitled Determining Morphometric Accuracy in Tursiops truncatus in IMATA’s Soundings magazine. This paper documents the collaboration of animal training and computer technology professional to create a morphometrics calculator that accurately determines body weight of bottlenose dolphins. The computer program is now available to all facilities that care for bottlenose dolphins and is used to compile field data on stranded animals. This paper was presented at the 27th Annual IMATA Conference in Chicago, IL.
 
1999: Dolphin Connection’s Cheryl Messinger publishes a paper entitled Induced Lactation in a Five Year Old Bottlenose Dolphin in the scientific journal Marine Mammals: Public Display and Research. This paper documents the induced lactation of a young female dolphin by another dolphin's calf. This paper was presented at the Bottlenose Dolphin Reproduction Workshop and initiated discussion concerning the long-term management of bottlenose dolphins. The invitation-only international delegation represented 53 organizations. 
 
1999: Dolphin Connection’s Cheryl Messinger is acknowledged with the Sonny Allen Professional Achievement Award by the International Marine Animal Trainers Association (IMATA) for her dedicated service in supporting and advancing the mission of IMATA. The award honors individuals who have demonstrated a dedication to the field of marine mammal science and service to IMATA. Mrs. Messinger is the first woman to receive this award.
 
1999: Dolphin Connection is acknowledged for excellence in Education and Conservation by the International Marine Animal Trainers Association (IMATA) for a paper entitled Cooperative Breeding & Population Management in Bottlenose Dolphins. This paper, co-authored by Dolphin Connection’s Paula Flanagan and Doug and Cheryl Messinger and Brookfield Zoo’s Greg Dye and Rita Stacey was presented at the 27th Annual IMATA Conference in Chicago, IL. 
 
1999: The Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin Breeding Consortium is established, with Dolphin Connection as a founding member. This consortium consists of a group of like-minded zoos and aquariums who have joined together to manage a sustainable population of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins
 
1999: Dolphin Connection’s Doug and Cheryl Messinger publish a paper entitled Preventing Undesirable Behavior in IMATA’s Soundings magazine.
 
1999: Dolphin Connection’s Doug Messinger is appointed to serve on the AMMPA animal management committee, leading the population management task force.
 
1998: Dolphin Connection’s Doug Messinger publishes a paper entitled Passive Restraint Training in Tursiops truncatus with Brookfield Zoo’s marine mammal staff in IMATA’s Soundings magazine. This paper was presented at the 25th Annual IMATA Conference in Baltimore, MD.
 
1998: Dolphin Connection’s Cheryl Messinger presents a paper entitled The Initiation of a Dolphin Interactive Program at the 26th Annual IMATA Conference in Algarve, Portugal.
 
1996: Dolphin Connection’s Doug and Cheryl Messinger and Michelle Reddy of SAIC publish a paper entitled Induced Lactation in a Five-Year-Old Bottlenose Dolphin in IMATA’s Soundings magazine. This paper was originally presented at the 22nd Annual IMATA Conference in Tacoma, WA, 1994
 
1995: Dolphin Connection’s Cheryl Messinger is elected to be IMATA’s first female president.
 
1995: Dolphin Connection’s Doug and Cheryl Messinger, Michael Briggs, Vic Charfauros and Tara Gifford of the Brookfield Zoo, and Joy Ross of SAIC publish a paper entitled Behavioral Conditioning of Tursiops truncatus for Voluntary Participation in a Reproductive Management Plan in IMATA’s Soundings magazine. As part of a study on population management in bottlenose dolphins, this study documented the training and sample collection required for the development of a safe and effective birth control method. This paper was originally presented at the 23rd Annual IMATA Conference in Las Vegas, NV.
 
1994: Dolphin Connection’s Cheryl Messinger and Cori Hawkinson publish a paper entitled Public Education: Dolphins and the Big Picture in the scientific journal Marine Mammals: Public Display and Research. This paper was originally presented at the 20th Annual IMATA Conference in Freeport, Bahamas.  
 
1992: Dolphin Connection is acknowledged for excellence in Education and Conservation by the International Marine Animal Trainers Association (IMATA) for a presentation titled Public Education: Dolphins and the Big Picture. This presentation emphasized the development of educational programming that places dolphins within the bigger picture of their environment and focuses on conservation measures rather than just dolphin facts.
 
1990: Dolphin Connection is founded
 
 


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office: 305-289-9975 fax: 305-289-0136 reservations: 888-251-3674