2020 is coming to a close, and it’s hard to describe what a year this has been. Unprecedented. Unusual. Confusing. These words barely scratch the surface of everything we’ve been through this year, as individuals, families, and even as a species. It’s also hard to describe all the ways we’ve had to change. Adapt. Pivot. Adjust. The COVID pandemic has tested us in every possible way, yet Ocean Connectors remains committed to our mission to educate, inspire, and connect youth in underserved Pacific coastal communities through the study of migratory marine life.
As we wrap up 2020, we wish to share some of our achievements from the past year. There have been many difficulties, and there will be more challenges ahead, but we also have reasons to celebrate.
During the 2019-20 school year, Ocean Connectors provided 92 in-class presentations and 65 coastal field trips for 2,707 low-income students in San Diego County, California, as well as 1,742 students in Nayarit, Mexico. Participating teachers scored the Ocean Connectors programs with a satisfaction rating of 95%!
Our team has been hard at work developing creative new methods to deliver our programs remotely. After the pandemic struck, we quickly put together virtual field trip videos focused on bird and habitat conservation, which have been viewed over 200 times! We have already provided 27 virtual presentations for 1,410 elementary students and 62 teachers, and we are on track to reach 84 classes, encompassing about 3,000 local students.
The Ocean Connectors Education Manager, Danielle Tentschert, became certified as a California Substitute Schoolteacher, proving that even during the most trying times, we are capable of individual growth. We are also enthusiastically looking for the next member of our team, a Development Manager who will take the lead with donor management, fundraising, and community engagement.
Our partnerships, which have always been essential to our work, have reached new heights recently. We are pleased to expand our partnership with Flagship Cruises & Events to include an Ocean Connectors staff member onboard the morning whale watching cruises Friday through Sunday during whale watching season.
Our accomplishments look a little different this year, but they are even more meaningful in light of the circumstances we’ve faced. Thankfully, one thing that hasn’t changed at all is the inextinguishable passion of our students, and their desire to make the world a better place. Even through our computer screens, we are able to see the hope in their eyes and hear the devotion in their voices. We can rest assured that the youth of today are wholeheartedly committed to protecting the health of our oceans, now and into the future. As we wrap up a tough year, we are holding on tight to this sense of optimism, and looking forward to when we can safely resume our programs in-person again.
Ocean Connectors has been able to navigate through 2020 thanks to your support – our students, teachers, partners, donors, and funders – who have kept Ocean Connectors strong. Thank you for all the ways you’ve helped. We look forward to seeing you in the new year!