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Ocean Ambassadors

What is Ocean Ambassadors?

It’s an academic year-long marine science program that provides middle school teachers access to NGSS-connected curriculum, resources, and professional development. Middle School students explore the science of the Center, examine patient charts, and create action projects relevant to their community, becoming Ocean Ambassadors!

Ocean Ambassadors is currently serving thousands of students in the Bay Area and expanding program to Hawai’i Island. We are also piloting distance learning programs to serve classrooms beyond these geographical regions. Read on to learn more.

Program Overview

Ocean Ambassadors is The Marine Mammal Center’s exciting marine science education program tailored to meet the unique needs of students in grades 6 through 8 and their teachers. This program allows us to reach middle school students at a formative time in their lives and ensure that they become the next generation of informed scientists and engaged citizens who will care for and ensure the health of our oceans and environment.

Ocean Ambassadors has grown from a small pilot serving three teachers to serving over 5,000 students, 60 teachers and their communities throughout the Bay Area. It continues to demonstrate outstanding success and receives rave reviews by teachers, parents and students. 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.

We are excited to offer Ocean Ambassadors to full grade levels in schools and hope to continue to expand.

Because Ocean Ambassadors is focused on professionally developing teachers to utilize curriculum and facilitate student work and experiences, only educators may apply. If you are a student or parent who is interested in Ocean Ambassadors, we would encourage you to share this flyer with your school.

Program Details

The Ocean Ambassadors program consists of:

  • NGSS-connected academic year-long curriculum with resources and materials
  • Funded field trips to the Center and to the field to see wild marine mammals
  • Three teacher professional development sessions

How to Apply

Ocean Ambassadors is an annual, application-based program specifically for middle school audiences. Rolling applications are available for Ocean Ambassadors throughout the year. You must apply no later than June 1 to be considered for the following academic year. In addition to the application, applicants are also required to submit a letter of support from their administrator (usually a principal) and meet with program managers to review the expectations of the program. Please see the Request for Proposals for further details around the application process.

Ocean Ambassadors In The News

You can learn more about Ocean Ambassadors from these recent interviews:

Ocean Ambassador Podcast from The Marine Mammal Center
Podcast Interview by Giancarlo Rulli
Tune in to The Marine Mammal Center's podcast to learn more about the Center’s immersive marine science education program and go behind the scenes to better understand its growing impact on students in grades 6 through 8. Podcast features interviews with Jennifer Walker, School and Extended Learning Programs Manager at The Marine Mammal Center, and Benjamin Corey, 7th grade teacher at Visitacion Valley Middle School in San Francisco.

Earth News Journal
Podcast Interview by Jerry Kay
"Bay Area middle school students and their teachers can learn about marine science from a state-of-the-art research and working animal hospital. My guest is Sara Weisberg, Ocean Ambassadors educator at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California. (Support for this report has been provided by The Dean Witter Foundation.)"

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you offer Ocean Ambassadors for elementary school students? High school students?
At this time, Ocean Ambassadors is only offered for the middle school audience. Middle school has been prioritized as the first audience to receive Ocean Ambassadors because they are in a challenging and transformative time and need programs tailored specifically for them and because we have found that they are often not afforded opportunities like this program provides. We do offer other opportunities for elementary, high school, college and family audiences which you can learn more about at

Do you offer Ocean Ambassadors outside of the Bay Area?
At this time, Ocean Ambassadors is only offered in the Bay Area and the Big Island of Hawai’i. However, we are currently exploring pilot opportunities for distance learning. Please reach out to us at if you are interested in partnering with us to explore new opportunities.

Can I have access to the Ocean Ambassador’s materials?
Because Ocean Ambassador’s resources are still 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

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.

Ocean Ambassadors Expands to Contra Costa County Thanks to Funding from Marathon Petroleum Corporation

With significant funding from Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC), Ocean Ambassadors expanded into Contra Costa County beginning in 2017. The corporation’s generous support over the past two years has allowed us to inspire thousands of East Bay middle school youth in STEM and ocean conservation, and strengthen the ability of their teachers to engage them in science, science careers and environmental stewardship. In fact, more than 2,200 students and 20 teachers, including the entire student body of El Dorado Middle School, are now enrolled in Ocean Ambassadors (in addition to nearly 2,000 youth in five other Bay Area counties)!

MPC is a large-scale, geographically-diversified and highly-integrated refining, marketing and midstream company. MPC is proud to manufacture the affordable, safe, clean and reliable products that help make modern life possible. We are so grateful for its support of Ocean Ambassadors!


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