Forward for our blue planet in 2020!

Thanks to all our partners for doing so much to help with bringing about a better future! In so many ways in 2019, youth, zoos and aquariums, progressive-minded businesses and corporations, and others in our growing global network continued to step up their efforts for conservation action. The Ocean Project is all about collaborative conservation, and our lean team is charged up to work more closely with you and others in 2020 to create a more sustainable society and a healthier blue planet!

Special thanks to all our SupportersImportantly, to do all we do in collaboration with our partners and others worldwide, contributions from our partners are essential. Let us know if you are interested in being a Supporter for 2020!

It’s been exciting to collaboratively work over 20+ years with so many diverse organizations and individuals to help protect and restore our shared ocean, which we all need to survive and thrive. With the ever-increasing challenges to the health of our blue planet, its life, and human life, we will need more collaboration than ever. Indeed, we can only help create a true movement for a healthier ocean, climate, and blue planet through unprecedented collaboration.

Our team strives every day to help our partners in a variety of ways, providing actionable insights and developing award-winning campaigns to help partners effectively educate and activate the public for conservation efforts; co-creating innovative programs that help engage and inspire young people from all parts of our blue planet; and empowering the recent surge of interest in World Oceans Day.

The following are some highlights from 2019 and we look forward to working more closely with you in 2020! (If you have any feedback and/or suggestions on how we can collaborate more closely with you and others, please let us know.)

Visitor Engagement Research and Conservation Campaigns: For 20+ years we have supported our partner zoos, aquariums, and museums to connect with visitors, members, supporters, and the public in impactful ways. Our work this past year confirmed that our partners can effectively engage the visiting public, not only in individual choices, but also on policy matters, and in the process enhance the quality of the visit.

We worked closely with a number of our partners on a science-based fisheries management (not a low-hanging fruit issue!) campaign to raise visitor awareness, document their opinions, and enhance their experiences. Overall results were clear and consistent; in fact, Heartwired recognized our collaborative work as a leading example of how to communicate effectively for conservation impact. We also hosted a well-received monthly webinar series for zoo, aquarium, and museum staff from all departments to help learn more about how to engage on conservation policy, and we’ve helped organize sessions on social movements and policy advocacy at the AZA midyear and annual meetings, respectively. Douglas Meyer helps lead the charge on this initiative for us. We will continue to grow our collaborative conservation campaigns throughout 2020 and hope you will join us!

Youth Activation: For 10+ years – based on our comprehensive national (U.S.) communications research – we have been growing a collaborative youth initiative. Interest from young people is growing hugely (for instance, in 2019, we had over 1,600 young people from nearly 140 countries express interest in joining the World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council).

In 2019 we stepped up our youth engagement and leadership development work, helping connect youth with exciting and meaningful opportunities, including as an organizing partner with Vancouver Aquarium and others for the Ocean Heroes Remote Network and Bootcamp in Vancouver, where we co-organized and co-led the policy workshop for hundreds of young people from around the world; the annual Sea Youth Rise Up advocacy campaign, which brought youth to Washington, D.C., empowering them to advocate directly with decision-makers and connect with the media; and involvement with the World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council, with 25 young leaders from 21 countries, who develop and implement youth-focused projects and lead community-wide events for World Oceans Day and expanded opportunities for conservation throughout the year.

We have exciting plans for collaboration in 2020 and beyond! Baylee Ritter, based in Chicago, helps lead our efforts on the youth front. We look forward to connecting with you on youth engagement to better connect, unite, mobilize, and activate young people for our blue planet!

World Oceans Day: This unique opportunity allows you and others to engage the world in exciting and meaningful ways, join in solidarity with millions of others around the planet, and gain local, national, and global visibility. When we started to globally coordinate World Oceans Day in 2002 there were zero events in the U.S. and only a few in other countries with no coordination. We saw World Oceans Day as a great opportunity for our partners to further engage their target audiences and communities. With great thanks to the World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council – and our Supporters – this global celebration for our shared ocean has been growing fast. In 2019 there were 2,000+ events in 140+ countries (read more in the World Oceans Day Annual Report).

For 2020 and beyond we will be ramping up our support for partners around World Ocean Day activities in June and leveraging this growing global network into a year-round movement to promote conservation action. World Oceans Day is more than a day, and our digital strategy (see below) will also help advance the #OCEAN365 movement to promote ocean action every day of the year.  Jeff Demain, based in L.A., recently joined our team as World Oceans Day Manager, and we will launch a new website very soon!

Social Media: This past year we invested in growing our social media presence and developing a proactive digital marketing strategy to advance conservation action in collaboration with our partners. We are committed to investing in a proactive digital marketing strategy that utilizes the latest social media tools and trends, including the expansion of social platform and video content, as well as strengthening reporting and metrics tracking. Through targeted social media campaigns, amplifying our partners’ conservation initiatives, and advancing a movement to promote conservation action every day of the year, we plan to grow year-round engagement on the most pressing issues facing our blue planet.

With the addition of a social media manager, we’re looking to achieve greater engagement, reach, and participation with our partners for conservation impact. Gloria Kostadinova, based in R.I., leads this collaborative effort.

Going Forward: Throughout 2020, The Ocean Project very much looks forward to working closely with you. Together, we can make great strides for conservation, from personal behavior change, to community engagement and policy and societal level improvements. We look forward to working closely with you and others to achieve many conservation successes in 2020, locally, nationally, and internationally.

Thank you once again for your involvement! We look forward to collaborating more closely with you in 2020!

Photo thanks to Wolcott Henry, long time friend and supporter of The Ocean Project.