Showing posts tagged as "education"
WATCH is a winner! Our “Watsonville Area Teens Conserving Habitats” program just won a Noyce Foundation “Bright Lights” award—a national competition that recognizes select museums and science centers doing an outstanding job engaging with their local communities.
The decade-long science education collaboration between the Aquarium, Pajaro Valley Unified School District and the Watsonville community is one of only seven winners nationwide. How well does it work? One clue: Aquarium visitation by Latinos is up 70 percent since 2009 due in part to WATCH and other education initiatives.
Visiting the Aquarium this summer? You’re likely to meet some of our Teen Conservation Leaders. As TCLs, students develop important job and life skills, build self-confidence and earn community service hours. You can’t miss their enthusiasm for our oceans!
Learn more about our teen programs
We’re Building a new Ocean Education and Leadership Center for California’s Schoolchildren and Teachers!
Each year, more than 75,000 schoolchildren and teachers take part in our array of free school programs. We’ve always known we can do far more in reaching and teaching students and educators about the oceans, given the right space. On Monday, we became the new owners of two connecting buildings located at 585 and 625 Cannery Row, a short walk from the Aquarium. One is destined to become our state-of-the-art, K-12 Ocean Education and Leadership Center.
Reaching teens and teachers
So what will the new center do? It will mainly offer innovative and highly interactive education programs for teens and teachers—programs that will take advantage of the most appropriate, cutting-edge learning technology.
The Aquarium’s role in science education has become increasingly important at a time when the capacity to deliver 21st century science learning is on the decline in schools. “We have a crisis in science and environmental education right now,” Executive Director Julie Packard points out. “Society’s success will depend on today’s young people having the knowledge, skills and motivation to create solutions to very complex problems.”
The new Ocean Education and Leadership Center will make a significant contribution to science education throughout the state of California. It will allow for some increase in the number of students who can attend an Aquarium education program, and a much deeper impact on many that do. The new 13,000 square-foot center will also allow the Aquarium to better meet California’s Next Generation of Science Standards, while doubling the yearly number of science teachers who take part in our teacher institutes to more than 1,200.
Turning the center from a concept to a reality will depend on a $50 million fundraising campaign that supports our Children’s Education Fund. To date, the campaign has raised $20 million toward that goal.
- Four STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning labs, each large enough to accommodate for 40 students
- A large multi-use space for workshops and video teleconferences
- A new pre-Aquarium orientation space for visiting school groups
- Storage and supply rooms, including for new technology
- A rainy-day lunch space for school groups
- Offices for 35 education staff
- Collaborative meeting spaces for staff, teachers and youth
- A convenient, safe parking lot dedicated to schoolbus pick-up and drop-off
The new Ocean Education and Leadership Center is expected to open at the start of the school year in fall 2016.
Want to help our oceans? Follow the lead of these students! Young innovators presented year-long projects to reduce plastic use at the Ocean Plastic Pollution Summit at the Aquarium in May. Partnering with NOAA, the Aquarium helps educators develop action-based classroom lessons about marine debris.
Students made an impact in their schools, with results like:
- 90 percent reduction in classroom water bottle waste
- 3,000 reusable grocery bags distributed
- 21,000 single-use plastic water bottles saved from landfills
Did you know that the Aquarium has provided free field trips to more than two million students since 1984? Teachers, signup now for your 2014-15 field trips!
Schedule your field trip
Best field trip ever? Over the last 30 years, more than two million schoolchildren and teachers have participated in our education programs—have you? This #ThrowbackThursday, help us inspire the next generation of ocean advocates!
By Jim Covel, Director of Guest Experience & Interpretation
David and Lucile Packard intended the Monterey Bay Aquarium to be a gift to the community. However, I’m not sure even the Packards would have envisioned the reach and significance of that gift today. The Aquarium recently released a report detailing some of the indicators of our contribution to the community, including:
- Adding over $385 million to the local economy each year
- Educating 2.1-million school children that have visited the Aquarium free of charge over the past 29 years, plus 20,000 teachers that have participated in free professional development workshops to help bring marine science alive in the classroom
- Inviting 700,000 guests to the Aquarium free of charge since 2002 through our annual “Community Week” and special programs with community organizations and local libraries
- Employing over 500 full- and part-time staff members
Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation
Beyond the impact on humans, we could also consider our work with animals, with over more than 650 injured or orphaned sea otters that have come to the Aquarium; or the dozens of hatchling or injured shorebirds and seabirds that have come our way.
These metrics would certainly be one way to describe how extensive this Aquarium gift has become to the community. However, I also see this gift reflected in the smiles, the inquisitive looks on the thousands of faces—young and old alike—that we greet each day. Perhaps the real meaning of the Aquarium is written on those faces. A generation has grown up in the Aquarium and now brings their children to marvel at the marine life that enchanted their parents. Over 52 million visitors know more about the ocean—and care more—by virtue of their exposure to our exhibits and programs.
Volunteers: We Couldn’t Do It Without Them
While the Packard family certainly deserves credit for launching the Aquarium, a multitude of others have contributed to our enduring success. Over 5,000 volunteers have contributed hundreds of thousands of hours over the past 30 years. Over 60,000 member households, along with donors and sponsors at all levels help underwrite our education and conservation programs. Since that original gift in 1984, a growing community has formed to support the Aquarium’s mission to inspire conservation of the oceans. That community of ocean stewards now stretches across multiple generations, and may ultimately be the greatest and most enduring gift of the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
If you are reading this, you are most likely part of that community that connects with the Aquarium. You are part of that gift that David and Lucile Packard set in motion in 1984, and your interest in taking care of our oceans is a gift in itself. Thank you for being a part of our growing success. Thank you for ensuring the Monterey Bay Aquarium remains an enduring gift for future generations.
The Virtual Classroom: Aquarium Staff Brings Ocean Science to Remote Villages
How do you bring ocean science to a 250-person village in Alaska that’s covered in snow 10 months of the year? Our education staff, in partnership with Skype Education, found a way—all without leaving the comfort of our second-floor Discovery Lab.
Using webcams, a microphone and a live feed via Skype, they were able to teach—and converse—with the fourth- and fifth-grade students 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle, and another class on a remote island in Maine. It’s all part of the Skype in the Classroom’s Exploring Oceans initiative.
“My students are Inupiat Alaska Native from the far north slope of Alaska,” says teacher Megan Gunderson. “I have eight students in my class, four in fourth grade and four in fifth grade. Our village is inland 60 miles from the Arctic Ocean, located on the edge of a major river. All but one student have never traveled out of Alaska.” Learn more about Megan’s class.
At the other corner of the continent, Marcie Look teaches a class in the island community of Georgetown, Maine—also with the help of Skype and our education staff. Learn more about Marcie’s class.
Skype in the Classroom’s November theme is exploring oceans, so the Aquarium has more virtual classes planned for nearby Watsonville, California, as well as in Ontario and British Columbia, Canada. “Skype approached us with this wonderful opportunity to bring the kelp forest to students who might otherwise never get to explore it,” said the Aquarium’s Education Technology Manager Katy Scott. “It’s a chance for us to inspire students all over the globe. And it’s a chance for us to be inspired by their stories, as well.”
Special thanks to Education Technology Manager Katy Scott and School Programs Manager Jennifer Matlock. Learn more and support education programs at the Aquarium.
On January 24 we celebrate a remarkable milestone: the Aquarium will have hosted 2 million students taking part in free education programs! As part of the celebration, Executive Director Julie Packard will be honoring four schools who have participated in free school days for the last seven consecutive years.