2016–2017 Ocean Connectors programme results
Thanks to support from the Save Our Seas Foundation, 2016 to 2017 was a record-breaking school year for Ocean Connectors. We reached a total of 3,730 kids on both sides of the USA–Mexico border, an increase of approximately 25% since just last year. Our audience included more than 2,000 elementary students in National City, California, nearly 300 National City middle school students, and about 1,200 students from primary schools in Nayarit, Mexico. Our team organised 74 coastal field trips, which engaged 119 parents and 76 schoolteachers. Our sixth grade students participated in habitat restoration with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and planted 874 native plants, removed 70 pounds of litter, filled one dumpster of pulled weeds and applied more than 3,000 pounds of mulch in the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Take a look at our field trip photos here.
A grant from the Save Our Seas Foundation enabled Ocean Connectors to pilot our new seventh grade programme, the Shark Investigation Unit, at Granger and National City middle schools. We provided class presentations for 295 seventh grade science students, and next year we plan to introduce a shark-themed field trip in San Diego.
We also tracked our success and impact by conducting before and after surveys. The surveys show that after participating in Ocean Connectors, students’ conservation knowledge increased by 75% (higher than ever before) and their environmental attitudes and behaviour improved by approximately 35%. As the school year draws to a close, we couldn’t be happier about these exciting results.
Ocean Connectors reached many milestones during 2016–17 and the upcoming year has even more in store for us, including celebrating our 10th anniversary, further developing our seventh grade shark programme and launching a new third grade programme, in which students from Kimball Elementary will participate in outdoor learning and habitat restoration around Paradise Creek.
To continue this positive momentum and help meet the growing demand for our programmes, we are pleased to announce that employee Danielle Tentschert was promoted to the full-time position of programme associate this July. Danielle is a critical part of how we have been able to reach more students than ever before during 2016–17 and her natural talent for educating children truly shone on every field trip. Working alongside Frances Kinney, the executive director, Danielle will take the lead in planning our youth programmes in National City, creating the schedule of activities and events and communicating with teachers and partners.
Ocean Connectors appreciates the many partners and funders who make our work possible, including the Save Our Seas Foundation, which provided funding that was instrumental in successfully piloting our first middle school programme and will enable this new component to continue next year.