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Aquarium-wide Climate Change and the Ocean Initiative: Public Engagement from Awareness to Action

Funding: 
$915,885
Year: 
2009

As part of its on-going commitment to engage, inform, and inspire visitors around issues of critical importance to ocean conservation, the Monterey Bay Aquarium opened the nation's first live aquatic animal exhibition on climate change and the ocean. This award supports a comprehensive and integrated suite of associated informal educational activities, designed to extend the exhibit experience and allow visitors to explore this critically important topic in more depth during their visit and after leaving the Aquarium.

As part of its on-going commitment to engage, inform, and inspire visitors around issues of critical importance to ocean conservation, the Monterey Bay Aquarium opened the nation's first live aquatic animal exhibition on climate change and the ocean. This award supports a comprehensive and integrated suite of associated informal educational activities, designed to extend the exhibit experience and allow visitors to explore this critically important topic in more depth during their visit and after leaving the Aquarium. These activities include: community engagement events, virtual reality auditorium programs using Google Earth, musical theater presentations, and exhibit interactives that allow audiences to discuss solutions to ocean issues. Over the course of three years, this initiative will reach more than 4.5 million people and: 1) raise public awareness about the connection between climate change and ocean health; 2) demonstrate that public actions do have an impact on climate change (and therefore ocean health); and 3) encourage meaningful action to address climate change.

Competition: 2009: Ocean Education Grants for AZA Aquariums
Award Number: 
NA09SEC4690040
Grant Dates: 
10/01/2009 to 09/30/2013
PI: 
Ms. Cynthia Vernon
State: California   County: Monterey   District: CA20 

A National Coalition of Aquariums Educating About Climate Change

Funding: 
$505,679
Year: 
2009

This collaboration led by three major national aquariums - Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBAq), National Aquarium in Baltimore (NAIB), and New England Aquarium (NEAq) - is developing a leadership initiative to build capacity within aquariums and related informal science education institutions nation-wide, enabling education staff to engage and inspire millions of visitors to take action about climate change and the ocean.

This collaboration led by three major national aquariums - Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBAq), National Aquarium in Baltimore (NAIB), and New England Aquarium (NEAq) - is developing a leadership initiative to build capacity within aquariums and related informal science education institutions nation-wide, enabling education staff to engage and inspire millions of visitors to take action about climate change and the ocean. The project increases climate literacy among informal science educators by: 1) creating a national network for training, resource sharing and support; 2) developing climate change activity carts to support exhibit interpretation; 3) providing training for youth interpreters; and 4) hosting regional and national summits to strengthen collaboration and showcase and disseminate model programs. Outcomes for educators include increased knowledge of climate change science; knowledge of strategies, tools and materials for educating about climate change; and confidence in their ability to communicate about climate change.

Competition: 2009: Ocean Education Grants for AZA Aquariums
Award Number: 
NA09SEC4690045
Grant Dates: 
10/01/2009 to 03/31/2013
PI: 
Ms. Cynthia Vernon
State: California   County: Monterey   District: CA20 
Partners:   North Carolina Aquarium Society / North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, California Academy of Sciences, National Aquarium / National Aquarium In Baltimore (NAIB), New England Aquarium Corporation / New England Aquarium (NEAq), Seward Association for the Advancement of Marine Science / Alaska SeaLife Center, Florida Aquarium National Association for Interpretation (NAI)

Teen Conservation Leadership

Funding: 
$453,622
Year: 
2010

Teen Conservation Leadership is a major integration and expansion of the Monterey Bay Aquarium's existing teen education programs (Student Oceanography Club, Young Women in Science and Student Guides).

Teen Conservation Leadership is a major integration and expansion of the Monterey Bay Aquarium's existing teen education programs (Student Oceanography Club, Young Women in Science and Student Guides). The project is growing and enhancing these programs through the following activities: Service Learning and Leadership Activities – including: 1) Guest Service Track: professional development and training as interpreters 2) Camp and Club Track: serving as a mentor for other participants 3) Program Track: assisting in the delivery of programs - Conservation and Science Activities, including participating in and leading projects with local organizations, and participating in technologically facilitated outdoor learning experiences – Teen Network and Technology Activities, including onsite networking and information sharing through Web 2.0 technology The project will reach 930 teens. Each teen will provide 200 service-learning hours per year. The sequential nature of this project will encourage many teens to participate for multiple years.

Competition: 2010: ELG for Informal/Nonformal Education
Award Number: 
NA10SEC0080022
Grant Dates: 
10/01/2010 to 09/30/2013
PI: 
Rita Bell
State: California   County: Monterey   District: CA20 
Partners:   Fresno Chaffee Zoo, Save the Whales Wild Farm Alliance

Building Ocean Awareness Together (BOAT)

Funding: 
$390,249
Year: 
2012

A consortium of Alaska SeaLife Center, Florida Aquarium and Monterey Bay Aquarium with their partner National Association for Interpretation will increase the effectiveness of informal science educators (ISE) to promote public understanding of three complex topics that impact the ocean (oil spills, ocean acidification, and energy literacy) and encourage stewardship of ocean and coastal resources. This project will have a direct impact on 252 interpreters in and around Alaska, California, and Florida through 12 weeklong trainings.

A consortium of Alaska SeaLife Center, Florida Aquarium and Monterey Bay Aquarium with their partner National Association for Interpretation will increase the effectiveness of informal science educators (ISE) to promote public understanding of three complex topics that impact the ocean (oil spills, ocean acidification, and energy literacy) and encourage stewardship of ocean and coastal resources. This project will have a direct impact on 252 interpreters in and around Alaska, California, and Florida through 12 weeklong trainings. Groups of interpreters will develop, assemble and produce online training toolkits, all of which will be widely disseminated to the ISE community. Each toolkit will utilize NOAA multimedia content, data visualization products, expertise and other relevant resources. Project participants – who interact with a diverse mix of local, regional, national and international visitors (including underserved local populations) – will provide enhanced training content for their colleagues through professional trainings, presentations, and online networks.

Competition: 2012: Ocean Education Partnership Grants
Award Number: 
NA12SEC0080025
Grant Dates: 
10/01/2012 to 03/31/2015
PI: 
Ms. Cynthia Vernon
State: California   County: Monterey   District: CA20 
Partners:   Aquarium of the Pacific, California Academy of Sciences, New England Aquarium Corporation / New England Aquarium (NEAq), Seward Association for the Advancement of Marine Science / Alaska SeaLife Center, Florida Aquarium, University Corporation / California State University, Monterey Bay, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Fresno Chaffee Zoo, National Association for Interpretation (NAI), U.S. National Park Service, Aquarium of the Bay, University of Alaska (UA-Fairbanks), NOAA Office for Coastal Management (OCM) / Pacific Islands, NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL), NOAA Climate Program Office (CPO), National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) / Channel Islands, NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, Woodland Park Zoo, National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) / Florida Keys, NOAA Habitat Conservation, Prince William Sound Science Center (PWSSC), Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council (RCAC), NOAA Research Lab / Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Oil Spill Recovery Institute (OSRI), Seymour Marine Discovery Center, Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, U.S. National Wildlife Refuge / Don Edwards San Francisco Bay, Brookfield Zoo, California State Parks / Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, U.S. National Parks / Golden Gate, Central Coast Aquarium, National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) / Monterey Bay, National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) Elkhorn Slough, Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, Monterey Bay Whale Watch (MB-WW) Coyote Hills Regional Park

Here to the Ocean, a nationally traveling museum exhibition

Funding: 
$750,000
Year: 
2008

The Sciencenter seeks to develop a 1,500-square-foot traveling exhibition, called "Here to the Ocean," on how activity in inland watersheds affects the health of the ocean, and therefore the planet. The unifying theme of the exhibition is "What we do here, has an impact there," and the key take-home message for museum visitors is that ocean water quality is not just a coastal issue.

The Sciencenter seeks to develop a 1,500-square-foot traveling exhibition, called "Here to the Ocean," on how activity in inland watersheds affects the health of the ocean, and therefore the planet. The unifying theme of the exhibition is "What we do here, has an impact there," and the key take-home message for museum visitors is that ocean water quality is not just a coastal issue. This exhibition will travel to museums throughout the United States, reaching an estimated 200,000+ visitors annually for at least seven years, resulting in an estimated total impact of 1.5 million visitors in at least 20 U.S. cities. The core audience of this exhibition will be families with children ages 6-12, and children visiting museums in school groups. "Here to the Ocean" will feature interactive open-ended exhibits that bring watershed science to life, including an immersive experience allowing visitors to conduct their own virtual underwater tours of watersheds by stepping inside and operating a submersible research vehicle on an expedition from a backyard creek all the way to the ocean. This and other exhibits will feature stunning high-definition video footage depicting fauna from various water ecosystems, as well as human activities that affect watershed health. Additional hands-on exhibits will help visitors to understand how watersheds are connected to the ocean, basic concepts in hydrology, the impact of pollution, and what science offers in the way of solutions to watershed problems. Exhibits will be designed to inspire visitors to adopt behaviors that protect their local watersheds. Visitors experiencing this exhibition will: 1) leave with an increased understanding of watershed science that will help them make informed, data-driven decisions on issues relating to watersheds; 2) have an increased awareness of the importance of watershed health and positive attitudes about the need to protect local watersheds; 3) have an increased understanding of the value of science in solving environmental problems and will be inspired to stay involved in science through school and/or career; and 4) feel an increased sense of personal watershed stewardship which they will share with others.

Competition: 2007: ELG for Free-choice Learning
Award Number: 
NA08SEC4690025
Grant Dates: 
06/01/2008 to 09/30/2012
PI: 
Mr. Charles Trautmann
State: New York   County: Tompkins   District: NY23 
Partners:   Cornell University / Cornell Lab of Ornithology

U.S. Virgin Islands Storm Strong Program

Funding: 
$499,998
Year: 
2018

Under leadership from the University of the Virgin Islands, the Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service, and local, non-profit, long-term, 2017 storm recovery groups, this 5-year project will create the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) Storm Strong Program. To date, minimal efforts have been made to engage the USVI community in hurricane education and preparation. As a result, USVI communities face significant, but often preventable, storm risks. This is the Territory’s first sustained, community-based, hurricane hazard preparedness, and community leadership building program.

Under leadership from the University of the Virgin Islands, the Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service, and local, non-profit, long-term, 2017 storm recovery groups, this 5-year project will create the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) Storm Strong Program. To date, minimal efforts have been made to engage the USVI community in hurricane education and preparation. As a result, USVI communities face significant, but often preventable, storm risks. This is the Territory’s first sustained, community-based, hurricane hazard preparedness, and community leadership building program. The USVI Storm Strong Program will engage underserved and underrepresented middle- and high-school youth and their families on all of the Territory’s main islands - St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix - in a program modelled after the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit framework. Youth and their families will: (1) explore the science and hazards associated with hurricanes, (2) assess their communities’ vulnerabilities and associated risks, (3) evaluate personal and community assets and options to increase resilience, (4) prioritize and plan for events occurring before, during, and after a storm, and (5) take action, in this case, through Community Transfer Projects, which will turn the information gained through the Program into local actions to increase individual and community resilience, sharing knowledge and actions with the broader USVI community and beyond. Through this training, ~400 USVI youth and their families will be empowered as environmental leaders and change agents within their communities and important insights will be learned as to how best to engage underrepresented and underserved groups in hazard preparedness. Creation of the USVI Storm Strong Program is timely, given the significant impacts resulting from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, two Category 5 hurricanes that devastated the USVI in September 2017. These storms provide a window of opportunity to bring together partners from federal, territorial, non-governmental, academic, and the private sector, to develop a strategic, cohesive, long-term, high-impact, community-based program to improve environmental literacy and extreme weather hazard preparedness in the Territory, goals that align with the mission of NOAA’s Office of Education.

Competition: 2018: ELG for Community Resilience to Extreme Weather Events and Environmental Hazards
Award Number: 
NA18SEC0080010
Grant Dates: 
10/01/2018 to 09/30/2023
PI: 
Dr. Kristin Wilson Grimes
State: U.S. Virgin Islands   County: Saint Thomas   District: VI00 
Partners:   Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) / Region II, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), NOAA OR&R's Marine Debris Program, U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Human Services, U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Natural Resources, University of the Virgin Islands / Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (VI-EPSCoR), University of the Virgin Islands / Marine Advisory Service (VIMAS) at St. Croix, University of the Virgin Islands / Office of the Provost, St. Croix Christian Church, St. John Community Foundation, St. Thomas Recovery Team, Catalyst Miami, The Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands University of the Virgin Islands / Center for Excellence in Leadership and Learning / Safety In Paradise