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.

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.