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 a teacher and student work together making observations at the beach
  • Currently serving more than 5,000 students, 60 teachers and their communities

Ocean Ambassadors is an award-winning marine science program that provides middle school teachers access to Next Generation Science Standard-connected curriculum, resources and professional development throughout the academic year.

Teachers gain access through an online portal to lesson plans, teaching tools and videos to help them provide their students with an interactive learning experience. 

Reaching middle school students at a formative time in their lives, Ocean Ambassadors provides an opportunity for students to discover and explore real-world connections to their classroom studies, and design and execute projects that address their environmental passions.

Currently serving communities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, Ocean Ambassadors also includes funded field trips to The Marine Mammal Center’s hospital in Sausalito and to various field sites to see marine mammals in the wild. 

Ocean Ambassadors earned the 2019 Superintendent’s Award for Excellence in Museum Education, an award that recognizes achievements in California museum programs that serve K-12 students and/or teachers.

a student explains her conservation project to onlookers
photo by Elena Graham © The Marine Mammal Center
a student looks out over a boat railing at the ocean
photo by Elena Graham © The Marine Mammal Center
student pointing at patient pens from observation deck
photo by Elena Graham © The Marine Mammal Center
a student looks into a microscope
photo by Elena Graham © The Marine Mammal Center
a student points at the ocean over a boat railing
photo by Elena Graham © The Marine Mammal Center

How to Apply

  • Submit an application* (due by June 1 for next academic year)
  • Submit a letter of support from your administrator (usually a principal)
  • Meet with program managers to review expectations

REQUEST APPLICATION MATERIALS

*Ocean Ambassadors applications are open to educators only. If you are a student or parent interested in this program, please share this opportunity with your school.


Eligibility

All institutions serving the 6th-8th grade audience in the San Francisco Bay Area will be considered for participation in Ocean Ambassadors. However, to maximize the impact of the program, the following factors will be given extra consideration:

  • Schools with administrative and/or district support
  • Schools with full grade-level participation
  • Under-resourced schools
  • Schools or educators that contribute unique skill sets or resources to the Ocean Ambassadors community


Frequently Asked Questions

Do you offer Ocean Ambassadors for elementary school students? High school students?

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At this time, Ocean Ambassadors is only offered for the middle school audience. We have developed this curriculum especially for middle school students because they are in a challenging and transformative time and need programs tailored specifically for them. We do offer other opportunities for elementary, high school, college and family audiences

Do you offer Ocean Ambassadors outside of the Bay Area?

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At this time, Ocean Ambassadors is only offered in the Bay Area, and a similar program, Nā Kōkua o ke Kai, is offered on the Big Island of Hawaiʽi. However, we are currently exploring opportunities for distance learning. Please reach out to us at oa@tmmc.org if you are interested in partnering with us to explore new opportunities.

Can I have access to the Ocean Ambassadors materials or view the curriculum before applying?

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Because the Ocean Ambassadors resources are considered proprietary information, only current participants are allowed unrestricted access. If you have a specific question or concern and would like to review the curriculum or other resources with us, please reach out to us at oa@tmmc.org.

What is the rate of acceptance into Ocean Ambassadors?

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As a growing program, there is no set number of schools or teachers that will be accepted each year. All applicants with a complete application that demonstrate commitment to the program will be seriously considered for participation.

Are community groups eligible to participate in Ocean Ambassadors?

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All entities serving middle school audiences are eligible to apply, however priority is often provided to schools for reasons related to impact and available resources. 

To maximize the impact of the program, the following factors will be given extra consideration:

  • Schools with administrative and/or district support
  • Schools with full grade-level participation
  • Under-resourced schools
  • Schools or educators that contribute unique skill sets or resources to the Ocean Ambassadors community

Please direct any further questions to oa@tmmc.org.

What is the time commitment to participate in Ocean Ambassadors?

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During your informational meeting with program managers, this question will be discussed in greater detail as you examine different aspects of the program and how they might be implemented at your school. Time commitments will vary based on your learners and teaching style. 

Ocean Ambassadors is also designed to fit in with lessons or units that you may already be teaching. We want it to work for you. A rough estimate including teaching time, planning time, professional development sessions and field trips might be approximately 60 hours over the course of the year.

Do you allow multiple grades to participate?

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We have found that Ocean Ambassadors is best implemented with a single grade level – 6th, 7th or 8th - so would ask that this discussion and decision occur amongst your faculty prior to applying to the program. There have been workable exceptions in the past, so if you would like to discuss this further, please reach out to us at oa@tmmc.org.

Our Funders

Ocean Ambassadors provides generous scholarships and transportation support so that financial constraints do not limit participation in the program. This program was made possible by Marathon Petroleum Corporation, Oracle, Blue & Gold Fleet, Thelma Doelger Trust for Animals, Ford Motor Company Fund, Crescent Porter Hale Foundation, California Coastal Commission, The Dean Witter Foundation, Wells Fargo Foundation, The Norman Raab Foundation, The Kimball Foundation, The Bernard Osher Foundation, The Sato Foundation, Nancy and Gregory Wilson, and many other generous funders of our education programs.