As humans, we are all connected to the ocean through what it provides for us. But your students may not realize that their backyards are connected physically to the ocean through our waterways and watersheds! As an inland teacher, you face a greater challenge in connecting your students to the ocean – but teaching them about your local watershed is a great way to start.
A watershed is the area were the local water sources connect to larger bodies of water, such as rivers and lakes. These rivers and lakes can eventually take the water from your community to the ocean. If you’re in the US you can locate your watershed here, or check out this website to find watersheds around the world.
Encourage wonder: Why not celebrate the ocean by learning about some of the most interesting creatures in it? For younger children especially, loving the ocean is an important first step to achieve before learning about how much it needs our help. You can teach younger students about bioluminescent fish with this activity from national geographic. You can also make a cute lanternfish craft!
The ocean in our everyday lives: Sustainable seafood is a topic that is important to all of us, wherever we are. National Geographic has a great idea for ages 3-5. They think students can create a fun sustainable fish game themselves. Here’s a guide!
Ocean health = our health: High Schoolers can learn about another important service the ocean gives us, providing medicine and other benefits. You only need access to computers and a place to share information for this activity.
NOAA tells us that the majority of pollutants entering the ocean, come from land activities. Every year around 1.4 billion pounds of trash ends up in the ocean. A major problem with this that marine debris – unnatural objects in marine areas – and can hurt the ocean and the animals that live there. Creatures like sea turtles can ingest these debris and perish.
Show the connection: Make it clear how trash gets from our backyard to the ocean with a watershed tracking activity. For this activity, you can trace the path of pollutants from your lawn to the sea. For older students you can use a more detailed worksheet.
Emphasize what’s at risk – and how we can help: You can create an activity to teach your students about marine debris. For younger students, give them rubber bands and let them see how hard it is to release themselves from materials that they get entangled in. You can then relate that to sea creatures, and plastic pollutants. You can also represent the movement of marine debris by creating a mini- water system.
Do more: Check out our Youth section for classroom or group project ideas that help young people involve their peers in being green and ocean-friendly.
Want even more resources? Check out our previous blog for inland zoo and aquarium educators – there are some links that are great for any educator!
Banner image from Shutterstock
We’re pleased to announce the World Oceans Day theme for 2015 – 2016: Healthy oceans, healthy planet.
The ocean is the heart of our planet. Like your heart pumping blood to every part of your body, the ocean connects people across the Earth, no matter where we live. The ocean regulates the climate, feeds millions of people every year, produces oxygen, is the home to an incredible array of wildlife, provides us with important medicines, and so much more! In order to ensure the health and safety of our communities and future generations, it’s imperative that we take the responsibility to care for the ocean as it cares for us.
Everyone’s health depends on a clean, productive ocean. Under the theme of Healthy oceans, healthy planet, we encourage our partners and friends to focus on what actions each of us can take to protect the ocean and safeguard vulnerable communities and places. Please focus on whatever issues you think are most important in your community for a healthy ocean future.
This year in particular WorldOceansDay.org will provide special resources on plastic pollution. The ocean and its wildlife is choking on plastic, and we need to both stop this pollution at the source, and clean it up from the coasts.
Why is a healthy ocean important to you? Share your hopes and vision for a healthier ocean!
If you’re pretty sure you’d like to celebrate this year, fill out this form and let us know! This will help us get you important info for organizing an event or celebration as soon as possible.
Heart image via Shutterstock.
Divers need clean, green energy to keep their blue ocean safe. Why does the energy you use matter? The short answer is: burning fossil fuels pollutes. The global climate is changing, and rising ocean temperatures cause many negative effects to the ocean. The ocean is becoming more acidic, its circulation patterns are changing, and the sea level is rising. This is hurting places that divers love. But, we can make a huge difference by ditching fossil fuels, and supporting clean, renewable energy sources like wind and solar.
The coral reefs that many divers get to see up close, are especially in danger from coral bleaching. Coral bleaching is when corals respond to the stress of warming waters by expelling their colorful algae. This can kill the coral – the backbone of an entire ecosystem. Coral bleaching is expected to increase as ocean temperatures do, and the warmer waters also increase the spread of coral diseases. We are quickly losing corals, a staple for divers and a big pull for ecotourism. In order to save them, we must make some changes in our lives.
Dive shops can help out by being proponents of green power and energy saving. Go all the way by using marine solar panels on your boats when going to dive sites, or starting up a car pool program to get people to your shop, to save energy on the way. Or, make a splash just for World Oceans Day:
Divers need the green movement and are in a great position to move it along. They can help maintain the ocean so future generations can also enjoy the wonderful world under the sea, as they too dive beneath the waves.
Divers and shop owners – would a 1 page handout help you talk to your customers about World Oceans Day and clean power? Let us know!
Top banner image from Guy’s Trust
World Oceans Day is about bringing people together to celebrate and improve communities. A great way way to get the whole community involved is throwing an ocean themed festival! A festival can be a big bash on its own, or a twist on an existing event.Read on for some examples and tips for organizing your own festival for this June.
This past June, Our World is Blue held their annual Downderry & Seaton Ocean Day in the UK, which attracted 250 people. The group worked with multiple partner organizations and made sure their event was interactive to keep people interested and engaged. Their activities included: a youth sea creature competition, ocean artifacts and microscopes to interact with, a display of local fish, cooking demos, ocean animation demos, and much more. They kept the focus on the need for action by asking visitors to make an Ocean Pledge when entering the event.
Plett Hope Spot Committee in South Africa also had an assortment of activities to celebrate World Oceans Day and Plett’s unique beauty and importance. Visitors could attend a marine art auction, clean ups (both on the beach and underwater on the reef with local divers), a sand castle competition, and volleyball. The event was an opportunity for community members to have fun be a part of protecting a very special local place.
Are you planning on holding a celebration for World Oceans Day in June 2015? Let us know right now, so we can make sure you get all the info you need!
Cleanups are a great way to bring people together and enact actual change for the local environment. But what can you do with a beach clean up to make it unique? Well for starters you don’t have to clean up a beach! Here are 6 quick ideas for holding a cleanup on World Oceans Day – or anytime you want to do something for your community. Click here if you’d like to download a full-length aquatic clean up guide.
Beach cleanups are great, but your event doesn’t need to be at the beach. You can stage a cleanup at the local watershed, river, wetland, or even underwater. Removing trash everywhere helps the ocean.
Try to have activities for all ages and skill groups to do, and make sure to have relaxing ocean activities for breaks.
Even if you don’t participate in the activities yourself, try to involve local interest groups such as divers or surfers. For them, the health of the beach environment is directly important to their day to day life and they may want to help out.
Have a fun activity planned for after the cleanup. Perhaps a beach BBQ, or a bonfire with s’mores. It’s a great time to get together and hang out with your local community of ocean lovers.
Why don’t you turn the day into a trash competition? Form teams and whoever picks up the most trash can win a prize (perhaps a WOD T-Shirt each).
Afterwards you can refresh everyone’s knowledge of how to dispose of trash and recycling. Perhaps you can challenge the younger participates to reuse some of their own “trash” (such as water bottles from home) for crafts.
Have you ever participated in a cleanup? What happened in it that made it fun or unique for you?
Are you planning to organize a celebration for World Oceans Day 2015? Tell us now and stay in touch!
Banner credit to KIDS OCEAN DAY
Young people will one day run the world and make important decisions about the environment they live in. But will they care enough to protect the ocean? Teaching about ocean issues and hosting a World Oceans Day event at your school can help shape their future selves, and there are great benefits now as well!
Young people have more power than they think. Research into American households has shown us that parents listen to their children about the environment, and believe that the younger generation are good sources of information about this topic. Parents may look to their children on these issues, which gives students a lot of influence on their home’s conservation-related behaviors. If we want to help the world, your students are the perfect people to lead the charge.
Our research also shows that youth are already interested in environmental issues: the majority of youth under 20 agree ‘confronting climate change” should be a top priority for the government. Youth have the highest level of concern over the world’s oceans, and are most likely to want to take action to help. However, many feel that they need to know more about the issue. This is where schools come in!
Young people care about the environment, but how do you start that conversation? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but here are some general ways to approach ocean issues with different age groups from educator David Sobel.
For ages 3-7 years, it is better to focus on empathy towards the natural world instead of anything too overwhelming or scary. By creating attachments to ocean creatures, children will learn to care about this world that looks so different, but is still connected to our own. Engage children with stories, songs, and games about the ocean and the creatures that live in it.
For ages 7-11 years, it is important to expand their knowledge and focus on exploration of the natural world. Let children of this age spend time outside and interact with their natural environment. If you can take a field trip to the beach or local watershed, it would benefit the children greatly. Teach them about how vast the ocean is and how we haven’t even explored it all yet.
With tweens and teens, you can start talking to them about environmental problems that threaten the ocean, and how we can help. It’s important to emphasis the agency your students have and how they can help the world. Engage them with interactive activities that allow them to think of ways to make the world more “ocean friendly.”
Using the internet and technology can be a great way to engage teens on ocean action. Perhaps start a class ocean blog, where each student must write a few short posts about an ocean issue that is interesting to them. Hands on learning, and experimenting in the “real world” is also quite helpful to reach youth.
You can also implement a World Oceans Day celebration in your school that everyone can enjoy. Not sure where to start? Check out what 10 schools around the globe did in 2014 to celebrate! You can also go here to find resources to teach about the planet in middle, and high school classrooms.
Hosting an event like World Oceans Day in your school can lead to action in your students. Youth have been some of the leaders in the environmental awareness charge. Your celebration can big as small as having an “ocean day” in class, or as big as a month-long or semester-long project! Here are some examples and resources:
Photo at top from USM Scuba Diving Club’s Ocean Awareness Week!
For years, divers have celebrated World Oceans Day around June 8th. Divers are in a unique position to bridge the gap between land and the ocean. Since divers have direct access to the mysterious underwater world, they are vital ambassadors to a public that otherwise doesn’t get to see the beauty of the ocean – or the threats that it faces.
For 2015, we’re inviting dive shops to celebrate World Oceans Day in a big way. As important community centers, and leaders, your shop can make a big difference for your local environment and in the hearts of the divers you work with.
Check back in the coming months for celebration ideas that will help you organize a World Oceans Day event at your shop – but until then, you can start the conversation right now!
Broaching the subject of conservation, especially when you don’t know what the other party believes can be difficult, so here are some ideas on how to talk to people about the ocean you love.
Many divers care about the ocean and are taking an active role in protecting it. The aforementioned Project Aware is a group of thousands of divers who are working together to save the ocean. The National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) also has a green diver initiative where they help individuals make a difference. PADI also has a green star award program to reward PADI Dive Centers and Resorts who are helping their ocean environment. You can reach out today and figure out the best ways to help the ocean!
http://www.projectaware.org/resources – Materials including action kits and posters for divers to use in conservation activities.
http://www.divethereef.com/Guides/ReefCare.asp – Ways for divers to take care of the reef.
http://www.projectaware.org/project/10Tips – Additional tip list for divers.
Image of diver in banner via Shutterstock
The ocean links us all. It doesn’t matter where we live, if we’re old or young, even if we live near a coast. That’s why many schools worldwide worked together to change the world by celebrating World Oceans Day this June. Here are how 10 different schools from around the globe celebrated – with some ideas to start you brainstorming for next year’s celebration!
Getting creative is a great way to celebrate World Oceans Day. Nanguo Elementary school in Taiwan emphasized creativity at their celebration. Students made up and shared short stories, and drew their favorite ocean creatures and sent hand drawn ocean postcards. Students in the Canadian Prince Rupert Conrad Elementary School preformed songs for the oceans. Multiple schools made murals, such as Queens Creek Elementary in North Carolina who created a beautiful ocean by saving bottle caps.
Making art is a great way to talk with kids about the ocean. It’s important to stay positive with younger children, and avoid making them feel overwhelmed by talking about environmental problems. Instead, encourage their wonder and love for the natural world – and have fun!
The ocean needs to hear our voices. In Kenya, youths from local schools took part in essay and art competitions and presented about recycling and waste. Gansaabi private schools in South Africa had lectures about the ocean and allowed the students to take part in these talks. Getting to voice their own opinions and be creative is a great way to engage youth about World Oceans Day.
Connecting kids with positive experiences in nature is one of the best ways to teach them to protect the environment as adults.
Here are some simple, fun things to do with very young kids in nature from the APS:
This year, a group of school-kids in Cambodia worked together to reduce waste by upcycling plastic bottles into a raft! California students participated in a beach clean-up and removed invasive plants. Both events helped the environment and removed waste. Their World Oceans Day events helped the ocean directly.
Staging large carnival-like events at schools can also be a great chance to have fun and learn about the ocean. A small group of middle school children in South East Asia created a fun event that included dress up contests, ocean prizes, a bake sale and a jewelry sale. Palm Beach Maritime Academy in Florida organized a student film festival, conservation carnival (with music, art, games, and upcycling), and a Shark Booth. They related many of their events to their theme, sharks.
Having a theme may help streamline your World Oceans Day event. These events are great since they’re awesome fun, cultivate a positive school community, and get everyone involved and talking about the ocean.
Do you have a great idea for a World Oceans Day event at a school? Leave a comment and let us know!
Feature image credit to Plan for the Land Society
This year, people worldwide embodied the World Oceans Day theme of Together we have the power to protect the ocean more than ever before! Seventy different countries hosted hundreds of events on every different ocean issue imaginable. From aquariums to schools to businesses, people worldwide came together in honor of the ocean.
In addition to the thousands of people who attended World Oceans Day events in their communities, millions of people learned about the celebration on social media. This year the volume of online discussion about World Oceans Day almost doubled! Tens of thousands of people were talking about World Oceans Day, learning about ocean conservation, and making promises to do something for the ocean. This was also the launch of the First Annual World Oceans Day Photo Contest, be sure to check out the inspiring winning photos.
We’d like to extend our gratitude to the organizations who supported World Oceans Day this year, donating their time, skills, and funds to make 2014’s celebration the best yet. Thank you to the Octonauts, Dr. Seuss, All At Once and the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, Endangered Species Chocolate, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation, and Me to We Style.
A special thanks goes out to our top partners in the zoo, aquarium, and museum world for supporting World Oceans Day: North Carolina Aquariums, Landry’s Restaurants, Aquarium of the Pacific, The Florida Aquarium, Texas State Aquarium, Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay, Ripley’s Aquariums, ABQ Biopark, and the Erie Zoo.
We’re seeking additional sponsors to take World Oceans Day 2015 to the next level! See our sponsors page for how you can get involved.
Read on for highlights from just a few of the very exciting World Oceans Day events from this year’s celebration. We regret that we can only feature a small fraction of the activities each year – so please see the event list and visit the participating organizations’ websites for more!
All photos belong to the organization linked in the event description. Email us if you have questions or comments on photos used in this document.
Simply Scuba kicked off their celebrations with a beach clean up at their local beach and a fundraiser for the ocean. They even had an ocean themed bake sale!
#noWAshakrcull’s celebration started with a clean up of Hillary’s Marina followed by a rally outside the offices of the Fisheries Department. Nearly forty people got together to speak up for sharks.
Agar Kembang brought over 100 seaweed farmers together for a celebration in honor of World Oceans Day. Attendees turned beach cleaning into a game with competing teams and had fun while helping the ocean. They ended up removing 1 MT of trash from the beach!
Coco Collection associates gave back to their beach by planting a new coral garden in the lagoon. Biologist Chiara Fumagalli led participants in collecting naturally broken coral pieces and attaching them to a metal frame to add to their coral nurseries.
Fifty sailors, rowers, divers, and anglers gathered to clean the harbor of Aarhus with Sager der Samler. People of all ages cleaned the water above and below the surface, and afterwards they celebrated a successful day by enjoying a barbecue and live music together. Their combination of enacting actual change and having time to enjoy each other’s company afterwards, made this a memorable event.
There were numerous events at the Flanders Marine Institute’s Science Happening on World Oceans Day! Visitors attended talks on ocean weather, seabird migration, and the future of aquaculture. People also enjoyed interactive demos, tastings, and even Ocean Promises with costumes!
The Instituto EcoFaxina brought dozens of volunteers to a mangrove forest near Santos in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Volunteers cleaned 274 Kg of trash from the mangroves while learning about the importance of reducing plastic use, reusing materials, and recycling!
Mikoko Pamoja and partners reached out to hundreds of Gazi people on the importance of maintaining a healthy marine environment. The organization held a variety of events for the community including a clean-up that collected 900Kg of plastic bottles and paper! Youth were heavily involved and participated in essay and art competitions, as well as presented about recycling and waste. There was an impressive turn out from the local schools who fully participated in World Oceans Day. Their event, which helped build a network of ocean stewards, was sponsored by Camp Kenya international, Rafiki Kenia, and Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute.
On June 6th, the World Oceans Day planning committee went around asking people to make promises for the ocean. This simple activity was intended to get people thinking of ways to protect the ocean as an individual, and to develop concrete conservation goals. Around 50-60 volunteers, both young and old, came together on Saturday June 7th to commemorate World Oceans Day by participating in a two hour beach and underwater cleanup.
Malaysia’s National Oceanography Directorate, Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation, in collaboration with the National Science Centre and Universiti Malaysia Terengganu organized a huge bash for World Oceans Day with thousands of attendees. In line with this year’s theme “Together We have the Power to Protect the Ocean,” 19 organizations came together for this celebration. Participating organizations included local government agencies, private agencies, universities and NGOs. Their many events included a career fair, photo contests, films, Ocean Promises, dance performances, and craft activities for kids.
Ocean Park HK had great success this year, and reached thousands of visitors on World Oceans Day with their wide variety of events.
To start, on June 1st, staff and families collected almost 100 kg of debris for a pre-World Oceans Day beach cleanup. A week later, on World Oceans Day, Ocean Park HK reported that almost 300 local fishermen and their families attended a talk on marine debris and more than 2,000 visitors signed and made a pledge with bottle caps to protect the ocean. Additionally, over 900 visitors joined their up-cycling Workshop and made fun musical instruments from used paper boxes. Hundreds of visitors also explored the Roving Exhibitions on Biodiversity and Waste Reduction, presented in collaboration with the government.
Scuba Diving Club USM-Ocean Awareness Week USM held five different events this year. They started with a well received movie screening for over 600 participants, followed by a ‘Run for the Ocean’ where 300 runners ran in support of two dolphin and sea horse conservation NGO’s. In the same week, they held exhibitions, talks, and documentary screenings. Their last two events were a beach cleanup at a fishing village where they collected 500kg of trash and recyclables, and a turtle release the following week.
Over 7,000 people attended events at the National Museum of Marine Science and Technology this year. The celebrations included activities such as Meet the Algae (a special exhibition), the Ocean-Themed Happy Street (a parade), and the Ocean Creative Market. Children and adults “became” ocean creatures such as starfishes, clown fishes, and squids and enjoyed the jovial atmosphere during the entire event. This event also provided delicious foods made of sea vegetables to show people how different choices in seafood can still taste great! Through this celebration, the museum gathered families and visitors from all over the country together and asked them to take care of, understand, and save the ocean.
KIDS OCEAN DAY in California made a huge splash this year with almost 4,000 Los Angeles kids, teachers and volunteers creating aerial art. The volunteers formed a giant text message from the ocean to “CLEAN ME UP :)” as part of the 21st annual Kids Ocean Day Adopt-A-Beach Clean-Up organized by the Malibu Foundation, City of Los Angeles, Spectral Q, Keep LA Beautiful, and the California Coastal Commission. The kids alerted the world about the need to help the ocean and protect it from the everyday trash and plastic litter that flow down the streets, killing marine life and polluting food resources. Photo Credit: Jeff Pantukhoff, Spectral Q, Kids Ocean Day.
WWF Canada held several events, including a Family Fun Day and a celebration at Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square. At the square, local chef Patrick McMurray served up delicious sustainable seafood samples from a food truck, and hosted the Spring Fling Shuck-Off. This event brought the best of Toronto’s oyster aficionados head-to-head for a unique “Hogtown Format” competition in the heart of the city.
Zoo Outreach Organization celebrated World Oceans Day in association with VOC Park Mini Zoo in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India. Graduate nursing students and four teachers from J.K. College of Nursing, Coimbatore attended the program. The students enjoyed the event as it was a totally new experience for them. They learned about the uses of oceans, the threats faced by oceans, how climate change is affecting the ocean and how to mitigate the threats. They were also taught about diseases as a result of climate change and global warming. Students left this event inspired to help the ocean.
Over 100 AZA-accredited zoo, aquariums, and museums celebrated World Oceans Day this year! Here are a few photos from those celebrations. We’ll update you later on some of the fun activities these institutions held.