Letter to the Seattle Aquarium from a young marine advocate

Sarah, who lives near Puget Sound and will enter third grade in September, was inspired to write us the following letter after reading a recent newspaper article about the mysterious wasting disease affecting sea stars along the West Coast:

Dear Seattle Aquarium,

My name is Sarah. My mom and I read the article about how the starfish disease is affecting the ocean in the Seattle Times.  It is very upsetting that starfish are dying. So, I thought of an idea to help figure out what is wrong with the starfish. 

My idea is that you could find some healthy starfish in the ocean, and then send the healthy starfish to different countries where there are many good marine biologists. Those biologists in other countries can get together to find the best medicine for the starfish. 

By reaching out to other countries, maybe we’ll find other ideas that we didn’t think about yet. And the rest of the world should know that this is a problem.

Please let me know if there is anything I can help with to solve this problem. If I should send this to a different scientist’s organization, can you let me know? Or can you forward this for us?

Thank you,


The Seattle Aquarium’s staff veterinarian, Dr. Lesanna Lahner, wrote back to Sarah with the following response:

Thank you, Sarah, for caring so much about our oceans and the sick sea stars. Your ideas are really, really great! Someday you’ll make an amazing scientist if you choose to.

I am particularly impressed with your idea of an international collaboration—in fact, I like it so much that I will get in touch with some sea star biologists in Australia and parts of Asia to see if they can help out with this problem. Some scientists have contacted me from other countries and told me that in years past they have had sick sea stars, but never as many as we have now.

Thank you again, Sarah, for caring! I’m deeply impressed.

Lesanna Lahner DVM
Staff Veterinarian
Seattle Aquarium

We’ll continue to provide updates on the sea star wasting disease—please read our recent blog post for details. And thank you to Sarah for taking action to help our local sea stars!

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One Response to Letter to the Seattle Aquarium from a young marine advocate

  1. Sgt Rice (retired USAF) says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Dr. Lahner & Miscka & Seattle Aquarium!!! Wow such a great letter from the little third grader Sarah! I wish her well too she will make a great a great scientist and I hope she chooses Marine Biology or Oceanography!!! Mr. Cousteau’s grandson was here in South Carolina recently! I am sure he would have also been impressed by Sarah and her global outreach idea to help the Sea Stars! God Bless and God Speed in finding them a cure!

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