2016 to 2017 was a record-breaking school year for Ocean Connectors! We reached a total of 3,730 kids on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border – an increase of approximately 25% since just last year. Our audience included over 2,000 elementary students in National City, California, nearly 300 National City middle school students, and about 1,200 students from primaria schools in Nayarit, Mexico. Our team provided 74 coastal field trips engaging 119 parents and 76 schoolteachers. Our sixth grade students participated in habitat restoration with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, planting 874 native plants, removing 70 pounds of litter, filling one dumpster of pulled weeds, and applying over 3,000 pounds of mulch in the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Take a look at our field trip photos here.
We also piloted our new seventh grade program, the Ocean Connectors Shark Investigation Unit, at Granger and National City Middle Schools. We provided presentations for 295 seventh grade science students, and next year we plan to introduce a shark-themed field trip.
We also tracked our success and impact by conducting pre and post surveys. The surveys show that after participating in Ocean Connectors, students’ conservation knowledge increased by 75% (higher than ever before!) and their environmental attitudes and behaviors improved by approximately 35%. As the school year draws to a close, we couldn’t be happier about these exciting results.
We reached many milestones during 2016-17, and we are not done yet! Next school year has even more in store for Ocean Connectors, including celebrating our ten year anniversary, developing our seventh grade shark field trip, and launching our new third grade program, where students from Kimball Elementary will participate in outdoor learning and habitat restoration around Paradise Creek.
To continue this positive momentum and help meet the growing demand for our programs, we are pleased to announce that Danielle Tentschert will be promoted to a full-time Program Associate position this July! Danielle is a critical part of how we were able to reach more students than ever before during 2016-17, and her natural talent for educating children truly shined on every field trip. Working alongside Executive Director Frances Kinney, Danielle will soon take the lead on planning our student programs in National City, creating the schedule of activities and events, and communicating with our teachers and partners. Feel free to send your congratulations to Danielle at firstname.lastname@example.org.