The Innovative Solutions Grants+ Program

Leading the charge for conservation impact in the aquarium and zoo community

visitors at an aquarium

The Grants+ Program evolved from The Ocean Project’s efforts to help our partner organizations (e.g., zoos, aquariums, and museums) to more effectively advance conservation action; it allowed us to invest in community innovators by providing not only financial resources, but also free strategic communications services and evaluation help for stronger conservation impact. Thanks to funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), we awarded approximately $400,000 in grants of up to $30,000 that also came with pro bono strategic communications coaching and technical expertise to catalyze peer-to-peer sharing and learning. While these grants were only available to US-based and AZA-accredited aquariums and zoos–due to stipulations from NOAA– the lessons learned continue to benefit the aquarium and zoo community as a whole, both in the U.S. and throughout the world. In addition to the links below, you can read about more recent examples on our blog. We update the blog regularly so keep coming back for the latest!

Why Aquariums and Zoos?

Aquariums and zoos are increasingly exploring opportunities to advance conservation by encouraging their guests to join them in taking action. The Ocean Project has supported our partner aquariums and zoos since 1997 with public opinion research, and other tools and resources aimed at understanding how we can effectively engage visitors and the public for conservation outcomes.

Public opinion research has shown that visitor interest in environmental issues tends to spike during a visit to an aquarium or zoo. Moreover, it tells us that visitors not only trust aquariums and zoos, but also expect and appreciate information from them about ways to help protect the animals and the environment. When considering the hundreds of millions of visitors to aquariums and zoos each year, there is a huge potential for conservation impact!

Updates from past grantees

  • Round 2: Innovative Solutions Grants+ winners announced!

    Thank you to our partner organizations for your involvement in advancing aquatic and ocean awareness and conservation! For over 16 years, The Ocean Project has been supporting our partner zoos, aquariums, and museums (ZAMs) and other organizations do more for conservation action with visitors, both onsite and online, by providing strategic resources and tools to […]

    Continue reading
  • ISG+ Update: Oregon Coast Aquarium teens set out to slay vampires

    This guest post by Teresa Mealy of Oregon Coast Aquarium is the second in a 3-part series on their Innovative Solutions Grants+ project, exploring the question “How do we fuel behavior changes in teens to decrease their impact on ocean acidification?” The Oregon Coast Aquarium’s youth volunteer group has been busy learning the ins and […]

    Continue reading
  • ISG+ Update: NC Aquariums on the (green) power of interpretation

    This guest post by Windy Arey-Kent of NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is the second in a 3-part series on NC Aquariums’ Innovative Solutions Grants+ project, aimed at testing different approaches to engaging guests for conservation action at aquariums. This blog post is a mid-way update on the program. The North Carolina Aquariums, with […]

    Continue reading
  • Application now available for Innovative Solutions Grants+ Program

    The application form for the next round of the Innovative Solutions Grants+ Program is now available; check out the RFP page for details and to download the application. The Grants+ opportunity is limited this year to US-based zoos and aquariums only. The deadline to submit your proposal is September 5, 2014. Click here to view […]

    Continue reading
  • RFP for new Innovative Solutions Grants funding posted

    We are pleased to share our new RFP for the second round of the Innovative Solutions Grants+ program! Click here to view the RFP, we’ll be posting the application form shortly. Proposal deadline is September 5, 2014. With thanks to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for helping us establish our Innovative Solutions Grants+ program, […]

    Continue reading
  • ISG+ New Project: NEAq ClimaTEENS creating a city-wide dialog for youth in Boston

    This guest post by Heather Deschenes of New England Aquarium is the first in a 3-part series on their Innovative Solutions Grants+ project, which investigates how teen ambassadors can make a difference for their city’s green future. With support from The Ocean Project’s Innovative Solutions Grants and  Program, ClimaTEENS is a gathering of 15-18 year-olds that […]

    Continue reading
  • ISG+ New Project: Oregon Coast Aquarium sets out to explore empowering youth for change

    This guest post by Teresa Mealy of Oregon Coast Aquarium is the first in a 3-part series on their Innovative Solutions Grants+ project, exploring the question “How do we fuel behavior changes in teens to decrease their impact on ocean acidification?” Drive, enthusiasm and passion for change; these are three qualities that fuel the teen […]

    Continue reading
  • ISG+ New Project: NC Aquariums prepare a green power(ful) experiment

    This guest post by Windy Arey-Kent of NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is the first in a 3-part series on their Innovative Solutions Grants+ project, aimed at testing different approaches to engaging guests for conservation action at aquariums. The North Carolina Aquariums are excited to be working with The Ocean Project on their Innovative […]

    Continue reading