Our Vision

Our network of partners are coordinating and collaborating to advance the global movement for a more equitable and sustainable society and a healthy blue planet.

Our Mission and Values

The Ocean Project advances action for conservation in collaboration with aquariums, zoos, museums, youth leaders, and other partners in a growing global network.

Everything The Ocean Project does is based on the values of collaboration, inclusion, impact, and a respect for all people and life on our blue planet.

Organizational Overview

The Ocean Project is all about collaborative conservation. As a foundation for our work in helping our diverse network of partners advance conservation and sustainability as effectively as possible, The Ocean Project has conducted and applied public opinion and market research for more than 20 years. To help our network of partners be as effective as possible for impact, we support them by: applying the latest research, providing strategic communications insights, implementing innovative public engagement programs and campaigns for conservation impact, sharing lessons learned for all our partners, and continually connecting organizations throughout our network both topically and geographically so they can create their own synergies for the seas.

The Ocean Project has grown from a handful of founding organizations in 1997 into the world’s most extensive network for advancing conservation and solutions-oriented action for our blue planet. We focus on collaboration to support and enhance our partner institutions’ individual and collective conservation efforts. In developing World Oceans Day, since 2002 we have grown a global network including approximately 2,000 organizations in 150 countries from all sectors, including zoos, aquariums and museums; schools, universities, and youth groups; businesses and industry organizations; diving, surfing, sailing and other outdoor recreation clubs; faith communities; government agencies, and many more. Our collaborative global youth initiative supports youth-led and youth-serving organizations, to develop a broad, diverse, active, and united youth constituency for our blue planet.

To achieve the most impact, we focus largely on supporting the efforts of non-traditional stakeholders, such as aquarium and zoo partners, and youth leaders around the world. This focus is based on years of research that shows that 1) youth tend to be the most interested and the most willing to act, with a high potential to influence others and 2) that visitors to zoos and aquariums not only expect and trust, but also appreciate conservation information and guidance on how to help with solutions, from personal behavior change to community engagement and policy and societal level improvements.

The Ocean Project intentionally does not actively promote itself but rather we aim to promote our key partners and youth leaders and 'brand' the issues and ways to help with solutions worldwide. As such, much of our work is done behind-the-scenes, supporting our partners, empowering them to be bolder and connecting them with our global network and beyond to scale success. Together, we strive to protect and restore our blue planet and create a more equitable and sustainable society.

The Ocean Foundation has served as the fiscal sponsor for The Ocean Project since 2006.

Primary Strategies

Enhance capacity of our partners to effectively communicate for conservation impact

  • Support and empower the communications, education, outreach and activation capacities of our partners to effectively engage their target audiences, as well as leaders in the public and private sectors

Scale solutions within and beyond our network  

  • Develop and expand our partner network, sharing successes and catalyzing more effective approaches, ensuring these efforts add maximum value to local, regional, national, and global conservation campaigns and movements

Priority Initiatives

  1. Collaborative Conservation Campaigns

We work in partnership with leading aquariums, zoos, and other organizations to develop, implement, and evaluate innovative conservation campaigns. Based on 20+ years of comprehensive public opinion and market research, we focus on improving public engagement and increasing both the number of participating organizations and the impact of their efforts. This work evolves continuously, building upon the success of our Innovative Solutions Grants + program developed with NOAA, as well as other initiatives, including those supported by the SeaLife Trust, UN Environment, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. and the Heartwired to Love the Ocean project

  1. Youth Leadership

Based on our market research and others' communications research that underscores the importance of engaging younger generations in conservation, our collaborative global youth initiative helps to develop a broad, diverse, active, and united youth constituency. Connecting with our key partners and other youth-focused organizations, the initiative seeks to accelerate youth engagement and leadership development worldwide. We empower youth to become ocean champions and provide opportunities to connect with policymakers and corporate leaders. Among our youth activities, the World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council shapes and grows development of World Oceans Day and leads conservation action year-round; the Sea Youth Rise Up advocacy campaign connects youth from within and beyond our network and provides a platform for young people to express their ideas directly with decision-makers and the media. Look for exciting new global youth developments coming summer 2020!

  1. World Oceans Day

World Oceans Day provides a unique way to raise the profile of the ocean on 8 June and rally the world for both individual and collective action. Beginning in 2016, World Oceans Day has been led by a Youth Advisory Council. Since starting efforts in 2002, The Ocean Project has grown World Oceans Day into a United Nations-recognized event (beginning in 2009) and a truly global celebration of our ocean with more than 2,000 events in 140 countries in 2019. We help focus the world - especially through youth involvement - on June as "ocean month" and expand engagement with the fast-growing World Oceans Day network for targeted conservation campaigns year-round. We proactively connect with all sectors and provide meaningful ways, tools and resources for organizers to inspire and activate diverse audiences to help protect and restore our shared ocean that we all need to survive and thrive.