About Me

This blog is primarily geared toward staff at the zoos, aquariums, museums (ZAMs), and other conservation education organizations that are part of our growing global network. We aim to provide you with cutting edge, challenging, and creative information, ideas, and tools to become as effective as possible at communicating about and for conservation with your visitors and the public.

See our ongoing communications research, or join our growing network, at The Ocean Project's website.

December 21, 2011

Houston, we have impressive results to share

For the last several years, The Ocean Project has been working closely with IMPACTS Research, using their cutting-edge market research and continually developing new methods for measurably increasing ocean awareness and conservation action with our partner zoos, aquariums, and museums (ZAMs).

Recently, we developed a beta online advertising campaign, to measure its effect on raising conservation awareness. Conducted in Houston during spring and summer 2011, this campaign marked one of the first times that a nonprofit organization has implemented a "placed media" strategy. The campaign used many of the same technologies and techniques that BP deployed (quite successfully) to obfuscate and mitigate the perceptual impacts of the Gulf oil spill–in this case to spark a positive wave of interest in ocean conservation.

The campaign goal was to raise awareness of plastics pollution and its effect on sea turtles. We directed the campaign at tweens, teens and young adults -- the audience the market research shows will provide the greatest conservation bang for the buck. We chose Houston as a test community in part because it has the lowest median age of major US cities, a high percentage of ESL households, and it is not a city known for its progressive conservation attitudes (figuring if it worked well in Houston we could achieve success in other cities).

We chose an online campaign to test this audience because it is the best method to effectively deliver enough impressions to the target audience with the budget available. It also allowed the campaign to reach the target audience through their preferred communication channel at their preferred hours of engagement, increasing the likelihood of successfully connecting with this audience. We selected plastics pollution as the campaign focus because our research indicates that of all the issues facing the ocean, pollution concerns people the most. We chose a sea turtle as it's a charismatic animal that helps visually and emotionally tell the story of plastics pollution. The ads were deployed for eight weeks through Facebook and Google; with Google we also ran an enhanced search campaign.

With this type of campaign, we expected positive results, but the breadth and depth of the impact on the target audience was much more significant and longer lasting than any of us anticipated.

From the start of the campaign to its completion, we saw a 14.8% increase in the belief that the world's ocean is endangered and an 8.9% increase in concern for the health of the ocean. There was also an increase in the belief that individuals’ actions affect the ocean: a 10.1% increase in agreement with the statement “The ocean is affected by the actions of people” and a 17.4% drop in agreement with the statement “My actions have little impact on ocean health.” And surprisingly, this increase of concern for the ocean moved beyond just the issues of plastics. By the end of the campaign, there was an 18.1% increase in agreement with the following statement: “Climate change threatens ocean health.”

Moreover, and most exciting, youth retained their increase in awareness and concern for the ocean following the campaign. Awareness levels did not significantly diminish in testing two months after the campaign. In a matter of a few months, we achieved truly significant changes with the youth of Houston, American's fourth largest city.

Based on the impressive results from the beta in Houston, the next step is to scale up this campaign to 5-7 more major cities over the next three years, working closely with our partner zoos, aquariums, and museums and focusing both on raising awareness and motivating personal action to help build a new movement of social responsibility and conservation action for our ocean.

December 8, 2011

Empowering youth to take meaningful conservation action

Not only is our market research telling us that youth of today are the most socially conscious and environmentally aware generation, but also another recent study shows that “(not) since 1972 has generation played such a significant role in voter preferences as it has in recent elections”. This is great news for our efforts with zoos, aquariums, and museums (ZAMs) to encourage a youth movement for ocean conservation. They are clearly passionate and do not shy away from taking personal action, whether politically or in their personal lives.

Therefore, the question for us in our efforts to communicate for action is not “How can we make them care enough to act?” but “How do we empower them to take meaningful action for conservation?

The Ocean Project has been working with a couple of our ZAM partners – Seattle Aquarium and North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher – on precisely this issue and seeing promising headway. Seattle’s P.S. We Love You campaign has already seen significant success in motivating teen volunteers to take action and inspire their friends and families to action, while NC Fort Fisher’s Beach Reach utilizes social media to “bring beaches back to life, pier to pier and peer to peer”. We are about to start working more closely with WCS and the New York Aquarium and look forward to sharing our findings with you, hopefully soon.

Have a successful program that is youth-driven that you would care to share? Let us know (leave a comment below or email us) about your experiences so we can share with the ZAM community. Together, we can figure out how to best provide guidance and empower youth to be the next wave for ocean conservation.

October 28, 2011

Small Grant Winners Announced

Thanks to all who applied for a grant in the second round of The Ocean Project’s Small Grants Program!

We had an even more competitive pool of applicants this second round and lots of great ideas. Our Advisory Board had a challenging time deciding on the award winners.

After an extensive selection process, we are pleased to announce the following grant recipients:

Gladys Porter Zoo, $15,000, for "Students Teaching Students: Champions of the Blue", which partners middle and high school youth with achievement-oriented university students to develop the groundwork for stewardship of the oceans. This program will focus on reaching at-risk, minority teens in Brownsville, which is only 25 miles from the Gulf of Mexico but where many youth know little about its life or threats, and how they can take positive action in their communities.

The Florida Aquarium, $9,975, for "Instilling a Lifelong Conservation Ethic in Middle School Students" which will track classroom outcomes as a result of professional development workshops for middle school teachers who then mentor their students to lead conservation projects at their school.

Fresno Chaffee Zoo, $15,000, for "Teen LEADERS (Lead by Educating with Activities and Demonstrations on the Environment, Resources and Sciences)”. Teen LEADERS will be trained in issues related to ocean and watershed pollution, age-appropriate conservation and stewardship actions and how to successfully facilitate water-focused activities with zoo guests. Training curriculum and activities are designed to 1) inspire first-hand behavior change, 2) create a "ripple effect" of those changes on friends, family and zoo guests.

Lincoln Park Zoo, $15,000, for "Teen-Driven Climate Change Campaigns at Lincoln Park Zoo and Chicago Botanic Garden" to help LPZ and CBG launch youth-driven campaigns to carry climate change messages to a Midwest audience.

New England Aquarium, $15,000, for "Live Blue Ambassadors: Environmental Service Learning for Teens." This service learning program will inspire and steer teens toward becoming "future ocean protectors" by 1) bringing teens from different backgrounds together to achieve common goals; 2) ensuring teens understand the science behind each project; 3) offering hands-on conservation experience; and 4) encouraging participants to promote environmental protection among their friends, families and communities.

For our next funding cycle of the Small Grants Program, we will send out an RFP in June, with proposals due by September 1, 2012.

October 13, 2011

U.S. Students' Entrepreneurial Energy Waiting to Be Tapped

This Gallup poll talks more to the issue of job creation, etc. but echoes many of our research findings, and provides more good fodder for focusing on youth.

Among the implications:

Like U.S. adults, the Gallup-HOPE Index data suggest an important segment of the American student population demonstrates attitudes often ascribed to entrepreneurs. Previous Gallup research documents the notion that students may possess good ideas about the future. At the same time, focused efforts to transform these aspirations into reality are not as strong as they could be.
Let's get going on creatively and meaningfully engaging youth!

Please visit our Web pages, Youth in Action: Motivating Teens and Tweens to Protect the Ocean, and contact TOP if you would like help, advice, or more information.

September 30, 2011

Maui Jim Winners Announced!

Thanks to everyone at the AZA 2011 conference who participated in our Maui Jim sunglasses raffle! The lucky winners have been announced:

Darcie Larson
Interpretation Coordinator
Seattle Aquarium

Amber Neilson
Education Coordinator
Sequoia Park Zoo

Brian M. Carter
Director, Communications
SeaWorld San Antonio

Megan Hudak
Volunteer Services Manager
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

We've mailed them their Maui Jim sunglasses and hope they're ready to look extra cool. Just in time for fall!

Thanks again for stopping by and talking with us at the conference. If you have any follow up questions or want to work with us on something, please don't hesitate to contact us!

And don't forget to send a lei on Facebook to support The Ocean Project and our work.

September 9, 2011

Hope to see you at AZA in Atlanta!

The Ocean Project team, including Wei Ying Wong, Alyssa Isakower, and Bill Mott, and including consultants Douglas Meyer and Deb Kerr, will be in Atlanta at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' annual conference, September 13-17. We look forward to meeting with you!

In case you will be at AZA, here's a brief summary of some of what we are involved with and hope to see you at:
  • Exhibit Hall Roundtable (Thursday, Sept 15, 12:15pm-1:45pm) - come learn more about our market research initiative, World Oceans Day, our growing network of ZAMs (zoos, aquariums and museums), and how you can get more involved. 
  • Panel: “Understanding Your Audiences in Climate Change Education: How to Turn the Tide in Climate Literacy and Action” (Friday, Sept 16, 10:00am-11:30am)
  • Poster Reception: “Motivating Audiences for Conservation Action and Climate Change through Market Research: Stories from the field” (Friday, Sept 16, 5:30pm-7pm)
  • Panel: “The Age of New Media: Engage Youth on Their Virtual Turf (with the Support of the Research)” (Saturday, Sept 17, 8:30am-10:00am)
ALSO, thanks to Maui Jim's generosity, we will be raffling off a few pairs of their famous sunglasses. For conference attendees who visit our roundtable and/or our poster session and leave a business card, you will be entered in the raffle to win a pair of Maui Jim Sunglasses!

See you in Atlanta!

August 29, 2011

Small Grants RFP Hurricane Irene Update

We hope everyone affected by Hurricane Irene is safe and doing well. We, here in Rhode Island, are safe, but facing significant disruptions to power and communication.

On account of all the disruptions caused by the hurricane, we will be extending our RFP deadline by a week. Small grant applications will now be due next Thursday, September 8, 2011. We hope this will give everyone enough time to finalize their proposal. (We know we will be trying to get back to business as usual!)

Stay safe.

August 25, 2011

Last call for RFPs!

Small Grants anyone? It's your last chance!

Have a project that you’ve always been wanting to try but there were always other funding priorities? Then you should check out The Ocean Project’s Small Grants RFP! We’re looking for projects that implement the findings of our market research, evaluate its success, and share the experience with other partners.

If you’ve got a smart/innovative/interesting project looking to shift the paradigm on communicating to inspire conservation action, we want to hear from you! 

Act now! The deadline is Sept 1
(The application isn’t onerous – there’s still time to pull the proposal together.) 

August 2, 2011

The Ocean Project wants your Small Grants proposals!

Small Grants Program Funding Opportunity
Deadline September 1st
If you are a partner zoo, aquarium, or museum and with a great idea, let us help you! The Ocean Project Small Grants Program will grant up to $50,000 to ZAMs in 2011 and up to $60,000 in both 2012 and 2013, with no minimum and a maximum of $15,000 per ZAM a year. Check out the RFP to see if you qualify for funding.

To help us achieve our collaborative mission and expand our market research initiative, The Ocean Project was awarded a three-year grant in 2010 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with four major goals:
  1. Measure changes in awareness and action on ocean and climate issues, expanding the market research, with three annual surveys and nine quarterly tracking survey updates;
  2. Assist Ocean Project Partners—including zoos, aquariums, and museums—in integrating the research findings into their priorities and programs by providing in-depth analysis and actionable recommendations, while simultaneously providing the results to others in the broader conservation community;
  3. Maximize the application of the research through professional development and other capacity building opportunities; and
  4. Support and shape outreach efforts that connect climate change, the ocean, and individual action, especially as related to leveraging environmentally active youth to help build the core of a new movement of social responsibility for ocean conservation.
One of the ultimate goals of this initiative is to help our partners create an ocean literate and ready-to-act American public.


Eligible applicants are limited to ZAMs in the United States that are partners in The Ocean Project network (see all partners listed hereand are also AZA-accredited institutions. Other organizations seeking funds through this grant opportunity must work through one of these types of eligible organizations. 

June 28, 2011

Highlights from World Oceans Day 2011!

See our post on the World Oceans Day blog for a look at some of the cool events held this year. If you have any more information don't hesitate to contact us.

June 24, 2011

TOP Partner Satisfaction survey raffle winners!

We are pleased to announce our 4 winners for our Maui Jim sunglasses:

Megan Ennes
North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, North Carolina

Lori Mellenbruch
Maui Ocean Center in Wailuku, Hawaii

R. Allard
Phoenix Zoo in Phoenix, Arizona

Cathy Lane
C.D. Hylton High School in Woodbridge, Virginia

Thank you to everyone for completing our survey! We received more than 400 responses and are working on making sense of them now!

June 22, 2011

Small Grants Program Funding Opportunity

Have a great idea for advancing conservation? We just launched our latest round of Small Grants RFP for projects. In April, our advisory panel selected proposals from three organizations – Aquarium of the Bay, Detroit Zoological Society, and Utah's Hogle Zoowhich will be implementing projects that integrate The Ocean Project’s market research findings. 

And now we’re looking for more! If you have a project with a focus on reaching out to youth and/or minorities to promote conservation action, we want to hear from you. Click here for more details!  

June 17, 2011

World Oceans Day 2011 was a huge success!

Thanks to people like you, approximately 400 events were held in 70 countries to celebrate World Oceans Day. World Oceans Day was also buzzing online this year!  In the past month, it was mentioned in 3,759 web articles and 8,417 tweets. We also doubled our fans on Facebook, so more people around the world can connect for the ocean! There were write-ups and mentions on sites like Treehugger, The Huffington Post, Mother Jones, Washington Post, the Toronto Star, and many more! We know that next year is going to be even bigger and better!

Because of the importance of youth in helping with ocean conservation, the theme for 2012 remains the same:
Youth: the Next Wave for Change, so start planning your events for 2012 now. Visit this site often for new info, resources, and discussion about June 8th and ocean conservation.

We want your pictures and videos! The Ocean Project is preparing our annual World Oceans Day highlights and we want to hear from you. If you have pictures, video, press coverage, etc. of a World Oceans Day event please share with the community. You can post it on our Facebook wall or email it to us at aisakower@theoceanproject.org.

And don’t forget to send a Maui Jim lei on Facebook! It’s free, and once the Aloha-o-meter fills up, $10,000 will be donated to support World Oceans Day.

June 8, 2011

Happy World Oceans Day!

Happy June 8th everybody! We hope you're joining the world in the globe's biggest ocean celebration today: World Oceans Day!

Don't forget the Twitter party at 7pm tonight:
  • Are you on Twitter?
  • Do you love the ocean?
  • Could you use some earth-friendly all natural and organic delicious free candies?

Join The Ocean Project and Surf Sweets at 7pm on today June 8th for a half hour of ocean discussion, Q & A, and chances to win fun prizes.

Starting at 7pm, join us by tweeting the hashtag #WOD (or #WorldOceansDay). Your tweets will enter you to win treats from our partners, and the conversation will stimulate your mind!

Surf Sweets is also holding a photo contest to celebrate World Oceans Day:

Whole Foods Market and Surf Sweets are celebrating our oceans the entire month of June. Grab Chewy Hughy and take him on an adventure involving water; the beach, zoo, aquarium, park or anywhere you have fun with water. Snap a pick with Chewy Hughy and submit it to info@surfsweets.com for your chance to win! Pick up Chewy Hughy in store or download here.

And the prizes are awesome! $100 gift card to Whole Foods, a year's supply of Surf Sweets, and more.

Complete contest rules are on the Chewy Hughy flier attached to this post. Enjoy! 

May 24, 2011

How are we doing?

Shared your opinions yet?

Last week The Ocean Project launched its Partner Satisfaction survey, seeking to better understand the needs of our network partners in communicating conservation. The feedback is pouring in, and we already have more than 200 responses.

If you haven’t already done so, please give us your feedback at to http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TOPPartnerSurvey and stand a chance to win a pair of Maui Jim sunglasses and other exciting prizes. 

Act soon! The survey closes on World Oceans Day, June 8!  

May 16, 2011

Maui Jim Donates $10,000 to The Ocean Project!

Vote with your Likes! Maui Jim Donates $10,000 to The Ocean Project

After just two weeks fans of The Ocean Project and Maui Jim,® have sent over 10,000 virtual leis to their friends on Facebook! This is the first of what the company hopes will be several $10,000 contributions to The Ocean Project.

Click the Like button to add Maui Jim's app and help donate to The Ocean Project!

Maui Jim launched the promotion to prepare for World Oceans Day on June 8, and has decided to keep the promotion going all year due to its importance to the history of the company, which started in Hawaii

This initiative by Maui Jim demonstrates how people, no matter where they live, can take action to protect the oceans. TOP and Maui Jim have some of the most loyal and active fans on Facebook; and they’re helping us make a real difference for our oceans!

The fundraising for the ocean is still going on! Head over to Maui Jim’s Facebook page or click the Like button above. All you have to do is click “Like” or “Send a Lei” to a friend to help fill up the Aloha-o-Meter! With your help, The Ocean Project aims to hire a full-time World Oceans Day coordinator so we can spread the Aloha spirit in an even bigger way next year.

Thanks for your support! Let's get this Aloha-O-Meter to the top again!

May 5, 2011

Public and Stakeholder Session of the National Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning Workshop

The National Ocean Council invites the public and stakeholders to join in a public session on Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP) in Washington, DC on June 21, 2011.

This public session will take place on Tuesday, June 21, from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm, in the Yates Auditorium at the U.S. Department of the Interior, located at 1849 C Street, NW Washington, DC.  Space is limited.  To attend, register by clicking here http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/oceans/cmsp-workshop

For those who cannot attend the session in person, it will also be available to the public through a live webcast on June 21 at www.doi.gov/live

April 25, 2011

Seas the Day with an Hawaiian Lei!

Put a smile on someone’s face and help the ocean by sending a virtual lei on Facebook! It’s free, fun, and will help protect our blue planet.

Click here to send one now!

The Ocean Project is partnering with Maui Jim,® in order to spread some virtual "aloha spirit" around the world. Visitors to the company's Facebook page through 2011 will have the opportunity to send a virtual Hawaiian Lei to their friends, along with some good vibes and well wishes.

The company will track the number of Leis sent worldwide, filling up the online "Aloha-o-Meter." Each time the meter fills to the top after 10K leis are sent, the company will donate $10,000 to The Ocean Project and reset the meter. So please help spread awareness about the ocean and help The Ocean Project raise funds to advance ocean conservation.

Tell your friends! We need 10,000 leis sent on Facebook to receive a $10,000 donation. Show your support and Mahalo! Thank you!

April 22, 2011

On this Earth Day we remember…

The BP Oil Spill may be only a lingering memory for those of us not directly affected, but for those whose lives and livelihoods were halted and changed forever on that fateful Tuesday, they live with daily reminders of the catastrophe.

Destroyed habitats, lost oyster beds, dead wildlife, and contaminated seafood, leave no question that the capping of the oil well was not the end of the tragedy. Proud Cajuns O'Neil and Samantha Sevin have seen their business come virtually to a standstill, and their way of life made untenable; Rosina Philippe of the Atakapa-Ishak tribe – who have lived and subsisted in the region for centuries – wonders whether the oil spill is the final straw for imperiled cultures in the region; and the list continues. If it was not clear before, the BP Oil spill has certainly made explicit the need to take ocean health seriously.

On this day, let us remember that even though Earth Day was started 22 years ago, we still have a long way to go in protecting the us and our environment. Take a pledge to do your part today.

April 20, 2011

Remember the Deepwater Horizon!

How did the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico affect Americans' opinions about environmental and ocean conservation?

A year ago, the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil drilling rig exploded, killing 11 men and starting a 3-month long flood of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, devastating the ecology, economy, and coastal communities for years to come. The resultant media frenzy captivated the public, with hundreds of thousands tuning in online and on air 24/7 to witness the heroic efforts and tragic failures to contain the oil spill. 

The Ocean Project’s quarterly tracking data showed a spike in interest in ocean health in June 2010.  In that quarter, the public not only had a heightened desire to protect the ocean, but felt that it should be a priority for the government.
Fig 1. Click for full-size. In June 2010 after the oil spill, the number of Americans who agreed with the statement “Protecting the ocean should be a priority for the US government” jumped considerably from 2009 and April 2010. However, by August 2010 fewer still felt this way.

Fig 2. Click for full-size. A similar jump can be observed in people who agree with the statements “Protecting the ocean is an important part of protecting the environment.”

The interest was short-lived, however. By the time the 3rd quarter tracking data returned, interest was already declining.

This trend is mirrored in the searches conducted on the internet during these same months (Fig 3): Google Trends show related search terms such as “gulf oil spill,” “oil spill” and “Gulf of Mexico” spiked on April 20th 2010 and then declined over the next few months (reaching its peak in late April/early May). The search term frequency was down near baseline levels by October 2010.

Fig 3. Click for full-size. Google Trends.

Now, a year later, the sense of urgency has long since passed. The memory lingers, but for most Americans, it’s back to life as usual. For those living in and around the Gulf of Mexico, the consequences of this disaster have an impact on their lives daily.

In memory of this catastrophic event, we will be dedicating our blogs over the next week to the communities and ecologies that were forever transformed on April 20, 2010.

April 14, 2011

New World Oceans Day Site Launched for World Community

Are you celebrating this June 8th? Check out the new World Oceans Day website for event lists, promotional materials, interaction with others around the world, and more!

This new homepage is meant for the international World Oceans Day community to share their plans and ideas. The site features a brand new layout, easier navigation, and an emphasis on getting people around the world better connected to each other and the ocean. It is being translated into Spanish and French, and includes a Google translator widget on each page. We are looking for volunteers to help translate the site into other languages so please let us know if you can help.

Here’s a quick rundown of what you’ll find on the new website:

  • Events – See the list of WOD events being held around the world. This is the most comprehensive WOD event listing on the web, organized by continent and country. Check out how the world is celebrating or submit your own event! We expect a surge in events listed in the coming weeks.
  • Ideas – No WOD events yet happening in your community? Organize your own! Get inspired with a list of celebration ideas and resources, then submit your event to the international listing.
  • Marketing Kit – Now that you have your event planned, you need to get the word out about it. The WOD marketing kit includes graphics for the web and print, in addition to documents like sample press releases. More items are being listed in the coming weeks. If you need any additional help with marketing materials, contact the WOD 2011 Coordinator, Alyssa Isakower.
  • Dr. Seuss materials – Celebrate with Seuss! If you’re a partner of The Ocean Project you can download One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish themed graphics and activity manual for free.
  • Blog – Stay updated on World Oceans Day news, organizing advice, and get involved with the WOD community through this blog.

Let us know if you encounter any problems, or have some suggestions so we can make the site even better. Don’t forget to ‘Like’ us on Facebook and "Wear Blue!" on June 8th!

April 4, 2011

Lots of information – how best to get it to people?

What did we do before the internet came into our lives? Apparently most people can’t remember either. In Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism latest study “The State of News Media 2011”. For the first time, more people (46%) get their news online than from any other sources. 

It’s becoming clear – if it wasn’t before –that the culture of information acquisition is shifting. Both “Knowledge of Climate Change Among Visitors to Science and Technology Museums” and The Ocean Project’s “America, the Ocean, and Climate Change” reveal that more people are citing the internet as their source of information (61% and 64.2% respectively).

For zoos, aquariums, science museums (ZAMs) in the 21st century to remain relevant, and with so many other competing purveyors of information on the internet (most notably corporations and industry lobby groups), it is critical that ZAMs (and other trusted conservation-oriented organizations) step up quickly to meet the information demand/supply gap for environmental news that  The Ocean Project’s research  has identified.

Initial information gathering and follow-up visits are more likely to take place in the cyberworld. The cyber portal is growing in importance, and individually and collectively as a conservation community we need to be able to provide web visitors with relevant information for fast and easy consumption.

March 29, 2011

What can we learn from the latest Six Americas reports?

The recently released “Knowledge of Climate Change Among Visitors to Science and Technology Museums” report is reinvigorating the conversation about communicating climate change to the public. It corroborates The Ocean Project’s market research finding that ZAM (Zoo, Aquarium, and Museum) visitors are more likely to be concerned about climate change and express a willingness to act on behalf of conservation. ZAMs, if not already convinced by an earlier collaboration “Why Zoos and Aquariums Matter” that TOP was involved with, should now realize that the public trusts them (more than any other organization), and look to them for guidance on what to do to aid conservation efforts. 

Both Six Americas and The Ocean Project findings reveal that guidance is critical given the significant misconceptions among the public. For example, the Six Americas report found that a third of the nation thinks that “stopping rockets from punching holes in the ozone layer (has a lot/some impact on reducing) global warming." Despite low scientific/ocean/climate literacy, however, we should not despair. 

Six Americas also found that while information may “often (be) a necessary precursor of effective action”, action has been shown to be just as effective in advancing knowledgeAnd 68% of the US population considers themselves at the very least as “Cautious” (“believe global warming is a problem, but not urgent, and are unsure whether it is human caused”) if not “Concerned” or “Alarmed”. Within this, TOP research has revealed that teens and tweens, as well as ESL households are more likely to take action on behalf of the environment.

March 8, 2011

Reaching Millennials: Youth and the Internet

Mom and Dad might set the curfew, but who has the most influence when it comes to environmental information in most homes? Research by The Ocean Project and others has shown that parents consider their teens and tweens to be the most knowledgeable and environmentally conscious members of the family.

Young people wield a great deal of control over environmental actions taken in most households, but their influence doesn’t stop there. Studies show that young people know and care more about ocean, climate change and other related issues and are more willing to take action on these issues than adults. They have the free time, passion, and information to make lasting change.

The two-year theme for World Oceans Day 2011 and 2012 focuses on Youth: the Next Wave for Change. Connecting with youth across a generational divide, however, can be difficult for some organizations. Below, we’ve gathered some of the best online resources for reaching out to and mobilizing this promising and action-ready group of people. To see a full list of our strategies for reaching youth, click here.

Reaching Youth over the Internet
Young people are using the internet more than ever, particularly for connecting with their peers through sites like Facebook. 73% of teens online have profiles on a social networking site.

An ongoing study by Youth & Participatory Politics indicates that even “extracurricular” (not explicitly academic or action-oriented) internet fosters later civic and political engagement in youth. Here are some great toolkits and whitepapers we’ve collected to help you utilize this exciting avenue of communication with young people.
·  The Center for Communication & Civic Engagement Inventory of Online Youth Civic Engagement Resources
A guide for the wide range of online projects dedicated to youth engagement for civic practitioners and scholars.
·  Civic Life Online: Learning How Digital Media Can Engage Youth — A MacArthur Study

This study investigates the participatory aspects of online digital media through case studies, discusses the connection between individual expression and public opinion, and outlines exercises for developing a public voice through online mediums. 
·  Hershey|Cause online guide outreach tools

A basic but informative toolkit summarizing the pros and cons of different internet outreach tools and how they may assist your organization. 

If your organization wants to make lasting change through action, young people are a group you won’t regret reaching out to. The effort it takes to get young people involved will be more than repaid by the drive and energy they bring with them to climate and ocean conservation.

January 28, 2011

Announcing The Ocean Project Small Grants Program

Grants are available to zoos, aquariums, and museums for demonstration projects that best integrate and test The Ocean Project's market research findings (available for download here).  

Successful projects would clearly enhance meaningful participation in conservation action by youth and/or minorities. 

Apply by March 15, 2011. Click here for more information.

January 24, 2011

Opportunity to comment on National Ocean Policy strategic action plans

Today the US National Ocean Council announced that it is seeking public input as it develops strategic action plans for nine priority objectives described in the Final Recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force.  These objectives seek to address some of the most pressing challenges facing the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes.

Public comments will be accepted through April 29, 2011.  Draft strategic action plans will be released in the summer of 2011, and will also be available for public comment.

To provide comment, please visit this website and choose which of the nine action areas listed you wish to address. Three questions are posed to guide your input:

  • What near-term, mid-term, and long-term actions would most effectively help the Nation achieve this policy objective?
  • What are some of the major obstacles to achieving this objective; are there opportunities this objective can further, including transformative changes in how we address the stewardship of the oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes?
  • What milestones and performance measures would be most useful for measuring progress toward achieving this priority objective?
To submit your comments, please click here.

January 20, 2011

The Youth Effect: a toolkit for decision makers on engaging with youth

Sometimes clich├ęs ring true: The youth are our future; and they need to have a say in its direction. Unfortunately, youths are a disproportionately unengaged group by organizations that want to make a difference. Many organizations may think it too difficult or feel it is off-mission to add a youth component to their initiatives. 

On the contrary, market research by The Ocean Project has shown that young people are the most knowledgeable and motivated segment of the population when it comes to the environment and its protection. Youth generally have the free time, familiarity with current issues, and the motivation to go out of their way to take environmental actions. Furthermore, the research shows that parents are increasingly looking to their tween and teenage children for information and advice on these issues.

Essentially, youth can be real agents of change. Based on The Ocean Project's market research, youth are the most promising members of the public to reach out to if you want to effect lasting change. Investing in getting youth involved with your organization, can be challenging, but there are resources out there to make the process much easier.

The Youth Effect is an online toolkit developed by the Youth Task Force of the Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum, as part of an effort to ensure that children and youth are an integral part of designing, shaping and creating a more sustainable future. The toolkit was developed to help you and other leaders of organizations across all sectors engage youth in a way that is successful for your organization, the youths involved, and our planet. It goes over questions to ask yourself about how your organization currently interacts with the next generation of leaders, and provides tips and case studies to improve your efforts.

You can view the toolkit pre-publication through this online e-reader at: http://www.youtheffect.org/.

January 5, 2011

Small Grants Program Funding Opportunity

Happy New Year! It's nice to start a new year with good news so here is some for our Partner zoos, aquariums, and museums (ZAMs).

To help us achieve our collaborative mission and expand our market research initiative, The Ocean Project was recently awarded a three-year grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). One of the ultimate goals of this initiative is to help our partner ZAMs create an ocean literate and ready-to-act American public.

As part of the award, and to help us maximize the application of our research, NOAA provided The Ocean Project with funding to create a national competitive small grants program. The Ocean Project will grant up to $50,000 to ZAMs in 2011 and up to $60,000 in both 2012 and 2013, with a maximum of $15,000 per ZAM in any given year. A major program goal of The Ocean Project Small Grants Program will be to enhance meaningful participation in conservation action by youth and/or minorities.

Next week The Ocean Project will post an RFP with many more details, so please stay tuned.