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Young guests interacting with touch pool animals at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Join Us in Inspiring the Next Wave of Ocean Leaders

For the future of the ocean, there's not a moment to lose. How can we continue to lead the way in protecting our ocean planet unless we invest—now—in the children who will one day lead us?

Since opening our doors in 1984, the Aquarium has welcomed over 2.5 million schoolchildren—free of charge. We're unique among aquariums in this wonderful commitment, thanks to the generous support of our members and donors.

"We reach over 80,000 students each year through conservation- and science-focused field trips and in-depth programs for teens that engage them in scientific inquiry, while improving their readiness for college and careers," says Rita Bell, vice president of education.

"We're also very proud to provide immersive professional development opportunities for teachers—our critical partners who reach thousands of students over the course of their careers," she adds.

Help Us Fullfill Our Promise

Together, we've made a significant commitment to schoolchildren and teachers by building the Bechtel Family Center for Ocean Education and Leadership.

When the Center opens next year, we'll be poised to deliver the most robust suite of education and youth development programs of any aquarium in the nation. We're working now to raise $5 million to develop new curriculum, hire additional educators and deploy state-of-the-art technology—all to reach more students and teachers than ever before.

It's a pivotal moment for the Aquarium and the children we serve, and we need your help to fulfill the remarkable promise of our new Center.

Teen program participant
For a teen, talking with Aquarium visitors about sea otters can help them find their voice for future actions.
Teacher program participants
For a teacher, exploring tide pools can spark new ideas about how to ignite their students' sense of discovery.

There's Truly Not a Moment to Lose

California's leadership in protecting the environment is undeniable, and our state is playing a central role in defending our many conservation successes.

At the same time, even in California, funding for our public schools is woefully inadequate. Student performance lags far behind the nation in both science and math. Sadly, young people are also spending less and less time outdoors, losing those vital early connections with nature that inspire a lifetime of caring for the environment.

That's why one of our most urgent priorities is to help bridge the gap in science learning while engaging students in ocean conservation.

Our goal is to help children understand the complexity of the natural world as they gain critical thinking skills they need to make thoughtful decisions about their future—and the future of our planet.

Please join us in advancing our most important work by investing in the next wave of leaders who will ensure a healthy future for the ocean—and for us all.

Learn more and make your contribution

California Schools

California leads the nation in science and technology, but ranks near the bottom in public school spending and student performance in science.

California school spending and performance statistics in science