Our Vision

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

Our Mission and Values

The Ocean Project catalyzes collective action for our ocean and climate. By collaborating with youth leaders, zoos, aquariums, museums, and other community organizations we are growing a global network that effectively engages the public, informs policymakers, and protects our blue planet.

Everything The Ocean Project does is based on the values of collaboration, inclusion, impact, and respect for all people and life. We recognize that a healthy ocean is essential for life, allowing us and nature to survive and thrive.

Organizational Overview

We are all about collaborative conservation. The Ocean Project intentionally does not try to brand itself, but is dedicated to supporting youth leaders, aquariums, zoos, museums, and others in our global partner network of approximately 2,000 organizations to advance action for our blue planet, its ocean and climate. Small by design, we are a data-driven and solutions-focused organization that punches far above its weight. Special thanks to amazing young leaders worldwide and seasoned professionals who serve on our Advisory Councils.

To achieve impact on scale commensurate with the size of the issues we collectively face, we work through a lens of collaboration and take a network approach to all our endeavors, to be as efficient and effective as possible for durable conservation outcomes. We believe in the power of partnership to accelerate progress toward a healthy blue planet. As a foundation for everything we do, we have conducted comprehensive public opinion and market research since 1998, applying the data and insights to collaborative campaigns, evolving from lessons learned to continually improve our partners’ individual and collective conservation impact.

As a collaborative movement builder, we have been working for many years to build connections and create tools and resources for advocacy and action. We have focused on supporting non-traditional stakeholders -- youth leaders, zoos, aquariums, and science museums, in particular -- to become bolder advocates, both individually and collectively. We enhance the capacity of our partners to effectively communicate and advocate for ocean and climate conservation with their target audiences, as well as to leaders in the public and private sectors.

Our rationale for focusing on youth and zoos, aquariums and museums 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, aquariums, and museums 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 campaigns here.

We've developed World Ocean Day starting in 2002 into a global movement for our shared ocean, with involvement of thousands of 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 has essentially become 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 steadily building a collaborative global youth engagement and leadership initiative and network that supports youth-led and youth-serving organizations to develop a broad, diverse, active, and united youth constituency for our blue planet. This innovative initiative focuses on action and advocacy. We regularly highlight diverse youth leaders and organizations through many channels including to our 225K+ followers on social media. More on the youth initiative here.

We've grown from a handful of co-founding aquariums and conservation organizations in 1997 into one of the most extensive networks for advancing conservation and solutions-oriented action for our blue planet. Most of our work is done behind-the-scenes, supporting our youth leaders and other key 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

Supporting Youth Engagement & 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. Launched in 2009, we connect with youth leaders, key partners and other youth-focused organizations 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;  we provide training programs and connect youth and youth organizations so we can be more effective working together; during the pandemic we developed a Rise Up webinar series and created Youth-A-Thon to showcase youth from around the world working on a huge range of interconnected issues facing society and our blue planet and helped thousands of young people to get more involved especially during Covid; the Sea Youth Rise Up advocacy campaign connects youth 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, connects youth, spotlights youth organizations and leaders, and provides opportunities for youth to learn, grow, explore, connect, and collaborate for action.

Conservation Campaigns

We work in partnership with youth organizations, zoos, aquariums, and museums (ZAMs), and other organizations to develop, implement, and evaluate innovative conservation campaigns. Based on 25 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 and habitat 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.

World Ocean Day: Uniting and Rallying the World

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 in June and throughout the year. World Ocean Day is led by a Youth Advisory Council. Since launching global coordination of World Ocean Day in 2002, The Ocean Project has grown this unique opportunity to raise the profile of the ocean into a United Nations-recognized event (starting in 2009) and a global celebration of our shared ocean with thousands of events in 150 countries.  Each year we provide tools and resources for event organizers to inspire and activate their diverse audiences to help protect and restore our shared ocean and stabilize our climate. 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 community engagement and national and global policy-focused efforts throughout the year. The Ocean Project also proactively outreaches year-round to engage with with leaders in all sectors to become more involved with World Ocean Day and ocean and climate action.

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!