The Ocean Project Small Grant winners announced!

Thanks to all who applied for a grant from The Ocean Project’s Small Grants Program.
With thanks to NOAA Education, as part of a three-year grant in 2010, The Ocean Project created a competitive small grants program to provide our partner (and AZA accredited) zoos and aquariums with funding support to maximize our research. The grant program goals include developing a demonstration project that integrates and tests our research findings and enhances meaningful participation in conservation action by youth and/or minorities. We recently culminated a third and final round of grants, and hope to be able to continue this small grants program into the future.
We had an extremely competitive pool of applicants this round and our Advisory Panel had a challenging time deciding on the award winners. They were very pleased with the quality of the proposals and significant shift in the ways that zoos and aquariums are thinking about audience research to communicate strategically for conservation action. After an extensive selection process, we are pleased to announce the following grant recipients:
Brevard Zoo ($10,000) “Zoo Teen’s Youth Environmental Summit” will support an event planned by youth from their Zoo Teen program. Teen leaders will be trained in conservation issues and mentored in event planning. Summit attendees will hear about environmental concerns, attend workshops, meet like-minded peers, participate in hands-on projects and collaborate in small groups. Participants will set goals focused on how they can make a difference for conservation and will be encouraged to share their progress. The Zoo will also develop a ‘handbook’ for best practices for dissemination among The Ocean Project’s partner network.
Monterey Bay Aquarium ($15,000) “Young Women in Science: Ocean Guardians Summer Program” will engage young women, particularly Latinas, in ocean conservation activities. Addressing complex environmental issues like climate change requires a science-literate population, yet nationally women and minorities are underrepresented in the sciences. Many young women are disengaged or discouraged from an interest in the sciences, yet we know youth are the most willing to act on environmental issues. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s bilingual Ocean Guardians program will address this problem through a variety of activities.

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum ($15,000) “Desert-Ocean Connections” will utilize two brand new aquarium galleries at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, in Tucson, as the centerpiece for programming that will help Desert Museum visitors and community members appreciate the interdependence of the Gulf of California and Sonoran Desert ecosystems and water resources. The project will develop new interactive interpretive stations for the Desert Museum’s 30 Junior Docents, focused on sustainable seafood and desert waters. Junior Docents will be trained to lead these activities at the Museum and at other community events and will provide visitors with Seafood Watch materials as well as water harvesting tips they can use to be part of the solution right away.
Woodland Park Zoo ($10,000) “Woodland Park Zoo – Climate Change Curriculum” will build on findings from The Ocean Project’s market research to enhance zoo’s existing youth programs. Funding will allow Woodland Park Zoo to develop a new climate change curriculum. Through training and mentoring, it will empower youth to develop and implement conservation action projects. Youth participants will share project results with community members and zoo guests through presentations and social media, encouraging others to join them in taking conservation action.

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