Ocean Connectors is a project of the nonprofit organization, The Ocean Foundation, that provides continuous marine science education programs for schoolchildren in National City. The mission of Ocean Connectors is to educate, inspire, and connect youth for conservation, using migratory marine life as case studies.
Ocean Connectors provides classroom presentations and coastal field trips focused on different species of migratory marine life, ocean issues, and conservation themes:
- Fourth Grade - Sea Turtle Discovery (waste management, single-use plastic, the "3 R's")
- Fifth Grade - California Whale Exploration (sustainable seafood, bycatch, fishing)
- Sixth Grade - Bird and Habitat Study (pollution, coastal development, ecosystem services)
National City students look forward to studying another species each year, visiting a new habitat, and adding notes in their waterproof science journals with Ocean Connectors. Teachers receive training and a binder of standards-based environmental lessons and activities that can be used year-round to integrate ocean conservation and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), answer common questions, and help their class prepare for the field trip. Fourth grade students visit an aquarium to view sea turtles, fifth grade students attend whale watching excursions, and sixth grade students observe birds and perform habitat restoration around San Diego Bay.
Students also participate in a dual language "knowledge exchange" with children living in Nayarit, Mexico to share information about migratory marine life. Knowledge exchanges create a peer to peer dialogue promoting global stewardship and embracing the multicultural heritage of families in National City. Students use a different method to communicate each year; fourth graders exchange sea turtle artwork, fifth graders write whale letters, and sixth graders create short videos about birds. This builds a range of skills and draws on the children's unique talents and interests to help spread environmental awareness.
Through generous support from individuals and many partners, National City students are able to participate in Ocean Connectors free of charge. To learn more about Ocean Connectors, please visit the Ocean Connectors website at https://oceanconnectors.org/, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Photography credit: Anna Mar/Ocean Connectors