Teen Conservation Leaders

Teen Conservation Leader (TCL)

High School

Teen Conservation Leaders (TCLs) provide an important volunteer service to the Aquarium, our guests and our communities. During a fun and intensive two-week training at the beginning of the summer, TCLs learn basic marine biology and ocean conservation. Upon completion, TCLs provide exhibit interpretation for our guests or support our summer camp programs. As a TCL, students develop important job and life skills, build self-confidence and earn community service hours. Regular conservation experiences connect students with opportunities to better understand science and conservation in the local community.

Additional opportunities are available to TCL volunteers who have time to volunteer during the school year and subsequent summers. Students can assist in special events at the Aquarium, support a variety of education programs or interpret exhibits for guests. TCLs cultivate lasting relationships with their peers, adult volunteers and Aquarium staff. No matter which of these adventures students choose, they'll take home memories of a lifetime!

Student volunteers applying should:
  • Be currently enrolled in high school or entering high school next fall and be at least 14 years old
  • Demonstrate an eagerness to learn and to work with people of all ages and backgrounds
  • Be proficient in English and comfortable with science vocabulary
  • Be willing and available to attend all important program dates listed below
  • Volunteer for eight-hour days (8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.) as assigned (approximately 100 hours)
Important dates:
  • Information meeting: early January
  • Application and recommendation form due: late January
  • Potential interviews: mid-March
  • Summer orientation: early May
  • Required two-week training: early June
  • TCL-specific summer events: June–August

Recruitment for summer 2015 is now closed. Applications for summer 2016 will be available online January 2016.

For more information about TCL, e-mail Teen Programs at teenprograms@mbayaq.org.

Watsonville Area Teens Conserving Habitats

Watsonville Area Teens Conserving Habitats (WATCH)

High School

Watsonville Area Teens Conserving Habitats (WATCH) is a program offered at three high schools in Watsonville, California. This year-long program begins in the summer and extends throughout the school year. During the three-week summer component students explore the Pajaro River Watershed, meet with local scientists and participate in inquiry-based learning. They also learn about environmental issues in their community and participate in local restoration efforts.

During the school year, the same students that participated in the summer portion of the program develop their own projects based on an environmental topic. Students will work during the school day, after school and independently to complete their projects. They work with Aquarium staff and teachers, as well as scientists and educators from the community to complete their projects. Upon completion of the projects, students receive a scholarship and community service hours needed for graduation.

For more information about WATCH, e-mail Teen Programs at teenprograms@mbayaq.org.

Student Oceanography Club

Student Oceanography Club (SOC)

Middle School

The Student Oceanography Club (SOC) is a program for middle school students, ages 11 to 14, who are interested in learning about marine science and ocean conservation and who would like to make a difference in their local communities.

SOC aims to empower teens to make a difference while having fun! Over the course of the school year, students will visit scientific institutions and meet scientists, work with other teens and learn about ocean conservation while participating in hands-on activities. Participants must commit to attending monthly meetings at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, participating in all field experiences and completing and presenting a community conservation project with the support of both the teen and adult SOC communities.

Students can apply to join SOC as part of a team consisting of three to five students plus an adult project advisor. Team members can be from the same school or different schools as long as they work together on the same project. Project advisors can be teachers, community members or other adults who are poised to help with the project. Project advisors will guide their team members throughout the school year as they complete their projects in their local communities.

Applications for the 2015-16 school year are now available online through May 11.

Apply now

For more information about SOC, e-mail Teen Programs at teenprograms@mbayaq.org.

Young Women in Science

Young Women in Science (YWS)

Middle School

This week-long, summer day-camp is designed to get young women excited about and involved in science, the ocean and conservation. Through a variety of hands-on field activities, we strive to increase their knowledge and to spark a personal connection with the natural world that will lead them to become future stewards of the ocean. Girls get the opportunity to explore ocean habitats by joining in activities such as surface scuba diving, boogie boarding and kayaking.

We aim to serve young women regardless of primary language or economic background. We offer two camps in the summer that are conducted bilingually in both English and Spanish. Young women entering grades 7 or 8, who reside in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties, are eligible to apply.

Recruitment for summer 2015 is now closed. Applications for summer 2016 will be available online February 2016.

For more information about YWS, e-mail Teen Programs at teenprograms@mbayaq.org.