Each year, education programs at a popular California destination teach thousands of people about marine mammals and the urgent need for ocean stewardship. Expanding their programs offers visitors many different ways to learn about the center including guided tours, school programs, even sleeping over at the Center. Building on the success of their recent Climate Change Education Initiative with youth, the Center is now working to develop a new program to train 15-17-year-old high-school students within their eight-month service learning program, called Youth Crew.
The Marine Mammal Center is a nonprofit veterinary research hospital and educational facility dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of ill and injured marine mammals – primarily elephant seals, harbor seals, and California sea lions. They’ve been open since 1975, headquartered in Sausalito, CA at the Marin Headlands.
The Marine Mammal Center - Sausalito, CA
Each year, the Youth Crew program provides job readiness, marine science, and adult and peer mentoring for more than 60 local high school students. From January through August, these students work in their animal care and education programs and also participate in monthly workshops on career and college exploration. For this new “Youth Crew Climate Change and Ocean Communication Initiative,” the Center will train a cohort of youth (approximately 15 per program, for two program years), to serve as climate change and ocean trash ambassadors. Through their activities, they will engage guests about climate science, growing concerns over ocean trash, and about how individuals can take action in their communities to reduce their carbon and plastic footprints. With funding, the Center will be ready to launch a comprehensive training program for volunteers so that they will have the necessary understanding and delivery techniques to share the implications of climate and ocean science and the benefits of stewardship behaviors, with visitors of all ages.
A key element in the initiative involves expanding the “Sea Level Rise Inspiration Cart.” Through interactive demonstrations, Youth Crew highlight how increased carbon in the atmosphere leads to sea level rise and the loss of breeding beaches for seal species in California. The activity is paired with the stories and visuals of seals cared for and treated by the Center, and tools to help guests understand their carbon footprint. With pro-bono support from the Taproot Foundation, the Center hopes to build an application that allows individuals to measure their carbon footprint and see the impact of specific changes in their behavior on their larger carbon footprint, and in turn, a positive impact on the health of marine mammal species. The cart will also be equipped with Google Project Sunroof to immediately measure the effectiveness and feasibility of solar energy on an individual’s home or business.
Here’s a summary of the program highlights:
- Audience: Youth Crew Volunteers (15-17 year olds) and guests to The Marine Mammal Center (the Center sees approximately 100,000 visitors a year)
- Description: Train Youth Crew to be climate change and ocean trash interpretative specialists to engage visitors around climate change effects on marine mammals and provide opportunities for guests to identify carbon reduction programs
- Key message: Climate change poses a threat to both marine mammals and people, but we can take action in our lives and communities
- Hope: Highlight the interconnectedness of people and marine mammals and build a sense of empowerment towards taking action on climate change and ocean trash
- Increase exposure of climate change and ocean trash education to guests of The Marine Mammal Center
- Increase youth knowledge, attitudes and behavior change related to climate change and ocean trash
- Incite action from visitors to pursue solar energy for their local home or business utilizing Google Project Sunroof
- Links: Connects carbon emissions with sea level rise and impacts on marine mammals both locally and globally
- Technique: Hands-on experiments/demonstrations, storytelling using Center patients, customizable and personalized carbon reduction plans.
Contact for more details:
Guest Experience Manager
The Marine Mammal Center
2000 Bunker Rd.
Sausalito, CA 94965