Education Programs Fact Sheet

What: A $3 million annual education program budget helps students and the adults who influence them discover their connection to the ocean and take the next steps in becoming active and effective ocean conservationists. Monterey Bay Aquarium’s education programs complement and support school-related education efforts and state science standards. They also engage learners of all ages in relevant, hands-on experiences with nature, expand their understanding of fundamental science and ocean conservation issues, develop and exercise critical thinking skills, encourage them to make and act on environmentally conscious decisions and empower them to be role models.
Where: Monterey Bay Aquarium, 886 Cannery Row, Monterey, California.
When: Year-round. Visit www.montereybayaquarium.org or email educationprograms@mbayaq.org for more information.
What's unique: The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s education programs place equal importance on establishing an unique: initial connection with students by introducing them to the wonders of the ocean, and on nurturing that connection over time as students take on the role of conservation leaders. Programs are structured for multiple grade levels, starting with pre-K students in local Head Start programs, and continuing with elementary, middle and high school students. Through an all-encompassing combination of school programs, teacher professional development, summer, evening and weekend teen programs, and community outreach and partnerships, Monterey Bay Aquarium’s education programs empower and inspire students, their families and peers, and local communities to learn about and conserve our oceans.
Program summary:

Since opening in 1984, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has maintained a central focus on education summary: for school children, providing free visits to 2 million students (through January 2012). Exploring the living wonders of Monterey Bay, students are inspired and encouraged to take an active role in caring for the ocean. The aquarium’s education programs complement and support schoolrelated education efforts and state science standards. They also engage learners of all ages in relevant, hands-on experiences with nature, expand their understanding of fundamental science and ocean conservation issues, develop and exercise critical thinking skills, encourage them to make and act on environmentally conscious decisions and empower them to be role models.

School programs at Monterey Bay Aquarium consist of five different approaches:

  • Discovery Labs offer students eight different grade-level-specific programs, each aligned with the California Science Content Standards. These provide students with hands-on interactions with living organisms and opportunities to explore their personal connection to the natural world.
  • Home School Days offer homeschool students and families the opportunity to visit and participate in open-ended programs that provide a deeper understanding and appreciation of marine habitats and the organisms living there.
  • The aquarium’s Splash Zone/Head Start Discovery program bolsters school readiness and parent involvement for language-diverse young children, through a blend of science learning and environmental education that builds on aquarium exhibits and educational resources. The program is delivered bilingually, in English and Spanish.
  • Ocean Explorers programs are designed to introduce students to the aquarium, its exhibit animals and research programs, providing students with “inside stories.” All programs are aligned with the California Science Content Standards.
  • Self-Guided Programs allow school groups to explore the aquarium and its exhibits at their own pace, following the learning experiences designed by their teachers.

Professional development for teachers at the aquarium consists of:

  • Teacher Institutes that offer educators, experts and researchers, grade-level specific professional development sessions at the aquarium over the course of a week during summer, followed by multiple sessions either onsite or via the web, throughout the year.
  • Teacher Workshops for those educators who are unable to commit to a full institute program are single day events that focus on current research and specific conservation issues of the Monterey Bay region.

Teen programs at Monterey Bay Aquarium include three programs for middle and high school students:

  • Teen Conservation Leaders participate in a two-week summer training followed by 100 hours of volunteer service to the aquarium through exhibit interpretation for our guests and support in its summer education programs. Service learning activities can extend throughout the year, providing high school students additional opportunities to learn about environmental issues that face local communities, and help address some of those issues through restoration and education projects. In the process, they develop important job and life skills, build selfconfidence and earn community service hours.
  • Young Women in Science is a week-long summer camp for middle school girls, offering them the chance to get excited about science and ocean conservation as they explore ocean habitats, marine issues and careers alongside female scientists and educators as mentors. Through their experiences in the program, students develop a personal connection with the natural world, increase their self-confidence and learn how to become stewards of the ocean.
  • The Watsonville Area Teens Conserving Habitats (WATCH) program provides Pajaro Valley high school students with an opportunity to engage in an in-depth exploration of ecosystems in their community. WATCH integrates academic learning, youth development and community-based conservation projects, in a relevant and meaningful way that connects students with their community and the ocean. Students earn community service hours needed for graduation and are eligible for college scholarships from the aquarium.
For more information: Visit http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/lc/teachers_place/ to learn more about how the information: aquarium interacts with students and teachers. To request an interview with aquarium educators or student groups, please contact Public Relations at 831-644-7522.