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.

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.