Since our founding in the 1990s, The Ocean Project has collaborated with others to inform and support our network of partner zoos, aquariums, and museums (ZAMs) to become involved on policy issues, both individually and collectively, and on a variety of issues, from environmental education appropriations and climate change and ocean acidification, to protection of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.
In addition to our ongoing campaigns, with thanks to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation that has allowed us to support ZAMs over the last several years in getting more involved to effectively inform science-based federal fisheries policy and advance action for healthy sustainable marine ecosystems (including 30x30), some our more substantial collaborative campaigns in recent years include the following:
- From 2008-2015, through funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), The Ocean Project created the Innovative Solutions Grants+ Program and awarded approximately $400,000 in grants of up to $30,000 each to AZA-accredited ZAMs. We provided not only the grants, but also pro bono strategic communications coaching and technical expertise and amplification to catalyze peer-to-peer sharing and learning; see examples here.
- In 2016 we collaborated with all eight SEA LIFE Centers across the U.S. in both coastal and inland locations on a campaign focused on creation of marine protected areas (MPAs). This campaign was based on a successful pilot that demonstrated visitor interest in expanding the U.S. network of MPAs.
- In 2017 we collaborated with UN Environment on a pilot campaign for World Oceans Day, to engage visitors at 12 ZAMs across the United States on plastic pollution.
- In 2019-2020 we were provided with an ocean messaging grant from Heartwired to Love the Ocean that allowed us to work with the Aquarium Conservation Partnership (ACP) and field test messaging at four aquariums - Aquarium of the Pacific, New England Aquarium, New York Aquarium, and Shedd Aquarium – with an interest in advancing support for MPAs and a commitment to including and engaging diverse audiences.
Though these campaigns have focused on U.S.-based ZAMs, some of the lessons learned are being applied globally and all resources and tools developed will also be available to our global partner network and used to advance World Ocean Day conservation action.
For more information on our work in recent years, check out our blog posts!