One of the most unique aspects of Ocean Connectors is our binational identity, which has been a fundamental force guiding the development of our programs since the beginning. All oceans are connected, and Ocean Connectors believes that conservation and education must cross borders in order to protect the unique ecosystems and species that traverse our oceans.
Ocean Connectors students in the U.S. and Mexico participate in a knowledge exchange using artwork, letters, and videos to share information about migratory animals that travel across the Pacific Ocean. This cross-border, peer-to-peer bilingual dialogue promotes environmental stewardship and global awareness, helping today’s youth understand how marine ecosystems and cultures are interconnected across vast distances.
San Diego County, USA
The U.S. state of California includes about 840 miles of coastline along the Pacific Ocean. A range of habitat types extend throughout the state, such as deserts, wetlands, forests, and the most common habitat type, chaparral. The people of California are also very diverse. Hundreds of different tribes originally inhabited this area, including the Kumeyaay, Miwok, and Chumash.
Located at the southern end of the state, the city of San Diego forms an integral part of the Pacific migratory route. Sea turtles, whales, and birds migrate from as far north as the Arctic to this wildlife hotspot, and many animals migrate further south to Mexico, South America, and beyond. This creates an important connection between our communities, people, and wildlife.
Ocean Connectors is currently providing youth education programs throughout the community of National City, which is located five miles south of downtown San Diego and ten miles north of Mexico. National City is the second oldest city in San Diego County.
Riviera Nayarit, MX
The Mexican state of Nayarit is located at the southern end of the Pacific migratory route. Nayarit has a fascinating natural and cultural history. The unique Neotropical climate is home to gorgeous beaches, pristine jungles, and breathtaking mountains. Native populations such as the Huichols continue to create handicrafts high in the Sierra Madre Mountains.
The Riviera Nayarit is a stretch of coastline in Nayarit that extends nearly 200 miles. It is known for its incredible biodiversity, rare species of plants and animals, and a growing tourism industry. Bahía de Banderas and Bahía de Jaltemba in the Riviera Nayarit are two of the deepest bays in the entire world. Just a few miles offshore are the Marietas Islands, a string of protected, uninhabited islands of volcanic rock.
Ocean Connectors is currently providing youth education programs at public elementary schools throughout various communities in the Riviera Nayarit.
All of the Ocean Connectors curricula is provided online and in binders for each of our teachers to easily distribute and teach ocean science lessons year round. Explore our resources to see what we are teaching the students in both English and Spanish!
In addition to providing educational materials, presentations, and field trips for students in Mexico, our binational identity is expressed during the Ocean Connectors “knowledge exchange”. The knowledge exchange consists of artwork, letters, and videos exchanged between students in the United States and Mexico to share information about migratory marine life. This creates a cross-border, peer-to-peer dialogue promoting environmental stewardship and global awareness. The positive impact of the knowledge exchange spreads beyond our direct audience, as our students educate their own families when they come home from school carrying a message that traveled over 1,000 miles to spread the word about conservation.
Sharing Passion for the Environment
Following the routes of sea turtles, whales, and birds, children exchange artwork, letters, and videos to express their concern for protecting migratory sea life. Our bilingual Knowledge Exchange not only promotes a positive narrative about coastal conservation but also encourages our multicultural audience to practice communicating in both English and Spanish.
Creating a Constructive Dialogue
Children are most influenced by the opinions, actions, and values of other children. Thus a fundamental teaching aide is creating a constructive dialogue between children about environmental issues. We foster this meaningful dialogue by using migratory marine life to connect youth living over 1,000 miles apart on the Pacific migratory corridor through the Ocean Connectors Knowledge Exchange. The Knowledge Exchange allows students to visualize the vast and profound interconnectivity of the Pacific Ocean, migratory sea life, and ocean currents, leading to enhanced global awareness.
Connecting Children in San Diego County, USA and Riviera Nayarit, Mexico
We are currently targeting public schools in the communities of National City, in South San Diego County, California, and throughout the southern half of the state of Nayarit, Mexico. These communities share similarities, challenges, and differences that make for a valuable peer-to-peer discussion. Migratory animals pass by National City en route to nesting, feeding, and breeding areas in Nayarit, a marine biodiversity hotspot. We work with nonprofit partners, volunteers, and teachers in both communities to accomplish our goals and reach as many children as possible.