About us

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 engagement programs.

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 punches far above its weight, with a lean but effective team of two full-time and two half-time staff, plus several bright and innovative student interns, and great volunteers helping on our advisory councils. We are dedicated to supporting our network of partner organizations advance solutions-oriented action for our ocean.

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. The Ocean Project seeks to complement and add value to the work of existing institutions and organizations, strategically connecting and collaborating for positive change.

Strategies for Achieving our Mission

Through cutting-edge communications research and building strong collaborations with zoos, aquariums, and museums (ZAMs), The Ocean Project aims to spur a significant increase in successful ocean and climate conservation efforts. Our Partners are the leading gatekeepers in providing the public with experiences that engage them, inspire them to take action at home and in their communities, and increase their understanding of science and conservation. Thus, we focus our resources on reaching and leveraging frontline ZAM staff, challenging and helping them to more effectively communicate and educate with their onsite and online visitors for conservation outcomes. Specifically, we:

• Lead a cutting-edge communications research initiative on public attitudes and motivations regarding the ocean, climate change, and related environmental issues

• Develop new methods and campaigns for measurably increasing ocean awareness and conservation action among ZAM visitors and the public, especially youth and minorities

• Build the communications, education, and outreach capacities of ZAMs to effectively reach their global audiences for conservation outcomes

• Broker connections and fosters networking among ZAMs and other organizations in our global partner network

• Provide additional services to our partner network to help them achieve their conservation missions

• Lead global efforts in support of World Oceans Day

• Empower youth to build a stronger global ocean conservation movement

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