John Racanelli

Host, A Blue View

As chief executive officer, John Racanelli leads a team of 600 full and part-time employees and 1,000 volunteers in pursuing the National Aquarium’s mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures.  More than 1.5 million people annually visit the Aquarium’s venue in Baltimore, Maryland, while millions more are touched by the Aquarium’s education programs, outreach activities, social media campaigns and conservation initiatives.

A passionate advocate for the ocean, John strives to drive conservation action worldwide, ensure the success of one of the nation’s leading aquarium enterprises, and fundamentally change the way the world views the ocean and aquatic systems.

John joined the National Aquarium in July 2011 after 10 years as president of Racanelli Partners, Inc. The San Francisco-based consulting firm served the needs of nonprofit leaders nationally and globally, focusing on cultural and conservation organizations including Mission Blue/Sylvia Earle Alliance, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the Surfrider Foundation.

After co-founding Mission Blue with author and oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, John assisted her in developing and launching Google Ocean, Google’s most significant enhancement of Google Earth, the most popular earth visualization tool in existence.

Prior to founding his firm, John spent 16 years in leadership positions at U.S. aquariums. He was the first CEO of the Florida Aquarium in Tampa, where he built the facility, team and vision for Tampa Bay’s leading cultural attraction.  He also served for nine years on the leadership team of the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium as its vice president of marketing and development, joining the aquarium a year before its opening. While in college, John began his career as a diver and aquarist, an experience that he credits with giving him great appreciation for the work of everyone on the aquarium team.

Fluent in Spanish, John holds a degree in strategic management from Dominican University of California. He is a SCUBA diver, open-water swimmer, sailor and surfer. His weekly radio show and podcast on WYPR public radio, “A Blue View,” explores important issues related to the aquatic world. John and his family are proud residents of Canton, Baltimore’s historic waterfront district.

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A Blue View
5:20 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Ospreys: A Conservation Success Story - 10/14/14

Today, the osprey is one of the Chesapeake Bay’s most iconic creatures, right up there with blue crabs, blue herons and oysters, but that wasn’t always the case. This North American raptor, nicknamed the “fish hawk,” once faced dangerous population declines, recovering only after the federal government intervened.

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A Blue View
5:12 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Otherworldly Octopuses - 10/7/14

With eight arms, a bulbous head, thousands of suckers, a tongue covered in teeth, and three hearts, the octopus is like something out of a science fiction movie. And the more you know about these creatures, the stranger they seem.

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A Blue View
9:48 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Maryland’s Elusive Salamander Species - 9/30/14

When it comes to biodiversity of plants and animals, the number of species typically increases as you move from the colder temperate zone to the warm tropics. The epicenter of salamander diversity, however, exists much further from the Equator—in fact, it’s here.

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A Blue View
1:13 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Scalloped Hammerhead Shark - 9/23/14

With a wide, thick head shaped like a double-headed hammer—one eye on each end—the scalloped hammerhead shark is a sight to behold. Unfortunately, this unusual-looking creature could disappear from our oceans if steps aren’t taken to protect it. 

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A Blue View
10:11 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Atlantic Sturgeon: Back to the Future - 9/16/14

Large, silvery-brown, snout-nosed, scute-covered, prehistoric-looking Atlantic sturgeon have been swimming the seas and coming up East Coast rivers to breed since dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

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A Blue View
4:24 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Bayscaping to Reduce Runoff - 9/9/14

Around the Chesapeake Bay area, we have a specific word for landscaping with the environment in mind: Bayscaping. This eco-friendly, holistic approach to gardening helps conserve water and prevent pollution that may otherwise end up being carried into our waterways.

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A Blue View
5:33 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Shark Trivia - 9/2/14

Forget “Shark Hunters.” There’s a wealth of fascinating facts that rarely get told. These unbelievable creatures are more diverse and intelligent than most people realize.

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A Blue View
1:41 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

The Wandering Albatross - 8/26/14

Perhaps you are familiar with the saying “an albatross around your neck.” This phrase, coined by the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in his 1798 poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, refers to the association of the albatross with bad luck, mishap, struggle and worry.

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A Blue View
8:46 am
Tue August 19, 2014

A Place Like No Other - 8/19/14

Thirty-seven years ago, off the coast of the Galapagos Islands where Charles Darwin more or less worked out his theory of natural selection, a major discovery occurred.

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A Blue View
8:24 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Landscaping and Gardening Without Polluting the Bay - 8/12/14

Summer is prime time for gardening and sprucing up our lawns—but what we do to our yards impacts our waterways more than you might expect. As we go about planting this season’s flowers, trees, produce and herbs, it’s important to keep the health of our watershed in mind.

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