Meg and Rich Donat, Ocean Legacy Circle donors since 2009

Meg and Rich Donat standing on the Aquarium back deck in front of Monterey Bay

When it comes to Meg Donat's personal commitment to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and ocean conservation, she embodies the words "loyal" and "dedicated." She's a 35-year Charter Member and donor who began volunteering as a diver before the Aquarium opened. In fact, Meg started cleaning windows as soon as seawater flowed into the exhibits!

Meg's journey began in 1965 when she took her first dive course as the only woman in the class. Later on, after she became a scuba diving instructor, she helped inspire a new generation of female divers herself. Meg has also been inducted as a member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame.

Among her many achievements, Meg is especially proud to be an ocean advocate. She sums up her volunteer service at the Aquarium this way: "I love the water and have enjoyed the best volunteer job!"

Many Aquarium visitors feel inspired when they see a female diver. Meg often waves and throws kisses to babies in the audience during her Kelp Forest feeding shows. When one returned as a young child three years later to meet the diver who threw her a kiss, Meg was deeply touched. Meg and her husband Rich have been married for 32 years and dive buddies for 30 years. "When you've been diving as long as we have, you see the negative impacts of human activities," Meg said. "We feel it's important to help the Aquarium inspire conservation of the ocean. That's why we joined the Ocean Legacy Circle 10 years ago. Our estate plan includes a gift toward the Aquarium's Endowment Fund for the Future of the Ocean to help secure its conservation programs for future generations." We're deeply grateful to Meg, Rich and all of our Ocean Legacy Circle donors.