Our Vision

Partners involved in our global network are collaborating to grow the movement for a more equitable and sustainable society and a healthy blue planet.

Our Mission and Values

The Ocean Project catalyzes collaborative action to protect our ocean in partnership with aquariums, zoos, museums, youth leaders, and others 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. We also recognize that a healthy ocean is essential for all life on our blue planet, allowing us to survive and thrive; ocean action is climate action in our interconnected world.

Organizational Overview

The Ocean Project works through a lens of radical collaboration and takes a network approach to all our endeavors, to be as efficient and effective as possible for durable conservation outcomes. As a  foundation for everything we do, we have conducted comprehensive national (and some international) public opinion and market research since 1998, and have been applying the data and insights to collaborative campaigns, always evolving from lessons learned to continually improve our partner institutions’ individual and collective conservation effectiveness.

To achieve impact on scale commensurate with the size of the issues we collectively face, we focus on supporting the efforts of non-traditional stakeholders, such as aquarium, zoo and science museum partners, other youth-focused organizations, and youth leaders around the world. Our rationale for 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.

Together with our partners -- especially zoos, aquariums and museums (ZAMs) -- we co-develop campaigns for conservation impact, sharing lessons learned for all involved in our growing global partner network to benefit from. To support our network of diverse partners and the larger conservation community, we openly share our data and insights. More on our ZAM campaigns here.

We've developed World Ocean Day starting in 2002 into a global movement for our shared ocean, with involvement of approximately 2,000 organizations in 150 countries from all sectors, including youth groups; schools and universities; ZAMs; businesses and corporations; diving, surfing, sailing, and other outdoor recreation organizations; faith communities; government agencies, and many more. With thanks to the development of World Ocean Day and rallying the world toward June each year, the entire month of June is essentially ocean month around our planet. World Ocean Day is powered by the World Ocean Day Youth Advisory Council, with 25 members from 22 countries. More on World Ocean Day here.

Since 2009, we've been building a collaborative global youth initiative that supports youth-led and youth-serving organizations, to develop a broad, diverse, active, and united youth constituency for our blue planet. This initiative focuses on advocacy and action. To help center youth, we regularly highlight diverse youth organizations to our 200K+ followers on social media. More on the youth initiative here.

We've grown from a handful of founding aquariums and other organizations in 1997 into an extensive network for advancing conservation and solutions-oriented action for our blue planet.  The Ocean Project intentionally does not actively promote itself but rather we aim to promote our key partners and youth leaders and 'brand' the ways to help with solutions to the issues worldwide. As such, much of our work is done behind-the-scenes, supporting our partners to be bolder and connecting them with others in our global network and beyond to scale success.

We do our work with a lean team: the equivalent of approximately 3 full time people plus some great student interns. Advisors help considerably in a variety of ways. 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 and advocate for conservation impact

  • Support and help effectively activate the communications, education, outreach and advocacy 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 continually catalyzing more effective approaches, ensuring these efforts add maximum value to local, regional, national, and global conservation campaigns and movements

Priority Initiatives

  1. 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 and emboldening 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 to support engagement and advocacy with youth and diverse audiences, as well as other issue-specific initiatives, including those supported by the SeaLife Trust on MPAs, UN Environment on plastic pollution prevention, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation on fisheries conservation, and the Heartwired to Love the Ocean project on marine protected areas (MPAs). Most recently, in addition to continuing work on fish conservation advocacy and policy improvements, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has supported our collaborative campaign work on 30x30.

  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 youth leaders, key partners and other youth-focused organizations, the initiative seeks to accelerate youth engagement and leadership development worldwide. We support youth to become ocean champions and provide opportunities to connect with policymakers and corporate leaders. Among our youth activities, the World Ocean Day Youth Advisory Council shapes development of and grows World Ocean Day as a unique global rallying point and leads conservation action year-round; the Rise Up webinar series and Youth-A-Thon showcase youth from around the world working on a huge range of interconnected issues facing society and our blue planet and that inspire other young people to get involved; 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; and our monthly, Rising Blue Network News,  with subscribers in 150 countries, spotlights existing youth organizations and leaders, and provides action opportunities for youth. Look for exciting new global youth initiative developments coming in 2022!

  1. World Ocean Day

World Ocean 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 and global impact. Since 2016, World Ocean Day has been led by a Youth Advisory Council. Since starting efforts in 2002, The Ocean Project has grown World Ocean 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 150 countries.  We help focus the world - especially through youth involvement - on June as "ocean month" and expand engagement with the fast-growing World Ocean Day network for targeted conservation campaigns in collaboration with existing campaigns and other efforts year-round. The Ocean Project intentionally outreaches to and connects with all sectors and we provide tools and resources for World Ocean Day event organizers to inspire and activate their diverse audiences to help protect and restore our shared ocean that we all need to survive and thrive.


Get involved and join the fast-growing global network of partners!

Have your organization join today or sign up as an individual to be kept informed a few times a year by email. All is free and open to everyone, to collaborate and grow the global movement for our blue planet!