Our Mission

The Ocean Project (TOP) advances ocean conservation in partnership with aquariums, zoos, museums, and other youth and visitor-serving organizations around the world. TOP is a collaborative and strategic communications organization that provides opinion and market research, strategic insights, and support for innovative and effective public education and engagement programs.

We focus on effectively engaging organizations and individuals in solutions, supporting our partner network in positive and empowering ways, and collaborating and scaling to create a better future for society and our shared ocean.

Since 2002, as our major public engagement initiative, we have served as the global coordinator of World Oceans Day, collaborating with organizations from all sectors in over 100 countries, to expand the reach and impact of this unique opportunity to engage and activate people, no matter where they live. Our World Oceans Day network includes 2,000 organizations and key individuals from all sectors, including: youth networks, aquariums, museums, schools, maritime industry, yacht clubs, dive groups, surfers, sailors, businesses, communities of faith, government agencies, celebrities, and many more.

Organizational Overview

The Ocean Project is dedicated to supporting our network of partner organizations advance solutions-oriented action for our ocean. We seek to complement and add value to the work of existing institutions and organizations, strategically connecting and collaborating for positive change. The Ocean Project punches far above its weight, with a lean but extremely dedicated and effective team of three, plus great volunteers helping on our advisory councils. We also depend heavily on bright and innovative student interns year-year.

Since its formation in the late 1990s, The Ocean Project has grown from a handful of founding North American aquariums into the world’s most extensive network for advancing ocean education and action. Our growing network includes approximately 2,000 partner aquariums, zoos, science, technology, and natural history museums, and other education and conservation organizations, agencies, and institutions in 100 countries that together serve more than 400 million visitors each year.

Strategies for Achieving our Mission

The Ocean Project empowers our partners with cutting-edge communications research, tools, and related strategic resources that help zoos, aquariums, and museums (ZAMs) capture people’s imaginations, create more engaged citizens and sustainable communities, and result in a significant conservation impact for our ocean.

Our ZAM partners are the leading gatekeepers in providing the public with experiences that engage them, inspire them to take action at the personal, community, and societal levels, and increase their understanding of the importance of science and conservation. Thus, we focus much of our efforts on reaching and leveraging ZAMs, supporting them in numerous ways to more effectively communicate and engage with their onsite and online visitors for conservation outcomes.

Specifically, we:

  • Build and support the communications, education, and outreach capacities of our partners to innovatively and effectively reach their global audiences for conservation outcomes
  • Provide insights and recommendations for our partners based on the largest ever communications research initiative on public attitudes and motivations regarding the ocean and related environmental issues and results from ongoing strategic communications and public engagement efforts
  • Develop new methods and collaborative campaigns for measurably increasing ocean awareness and conservation action among ZAM visitors and the public, especially youth and minorities
  • Broker connections and foster networking among our partner network and other key organizations worldwide
  • Build the communications, education, and outreach capacities of ZAMs and our other partners to effectively reach their global audiences for conservation and sustainability outcomes
  • Foster youth engagement and youth leadership development to build a stronger global ocean conservation movement
  • Lead global efforts in support of World Oceans Day and collaboratively grow its reach and impact
  • Provide additional services to our partner network to help them achieve their conservation missions

The Ocean Foundation serves as the fiscal sponsor for The Ocean Project.