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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Education, Educational Services, Environment, Environmental Education, Marine Science & Oceanography, Technology, Wildlife Preservation & Protection

Mission: MSI's mission is to cultivate a responsibility for the natural environment and our human communities through interdisciplinary science education.

Results: MSI has been conducting watershed education programs on and around the San Francisco Bay and Coast for 42 years. We estimate that a total of 1 million students have enriched their understanding of science and the environment through our programs, and as a result are living their lives with a greater sense of responsibility for the environment. MSI currently works with 50,000 students of all ages each year. At least 75% of teachers rebook our services year after year. Most our growth can be attributed to word of mouth promotion by satisfied teachers and other educators. More than 3,000 teacher surveys collected in the last 3 program years reveal an extremely high satisfaction rate. Teachers rated MSI with a nearly perfect score of 3.9+ on a scale of 1-4. On those same surveys, teachers also scored our programs an average of 3.3 on a scale of 1 - 4 when asked “How likely is this program to increase your students’ understanding of science?” The most common remark by teachers is about how impressed they are at MSI’s ability to engage students in active learning of science, and capture the attention of even the toughest cases of wandering minds or disinterested students. Students we taught in our early years are now in their 50’s. They have passed on their love and appreciation of the environment to their children and grandchildren. Teachers who went through our program when they were students come back to us to provide the MSI experience for their students. Science teachers using the Institute programs have been awarded Presidential Science Teaching recognition, and then commented, “It all began on that ship on the Bay”.  Many MSI “alumni” students and staff play active roles in environmental conservation or in other sciences. Some are even captains of industry.

Target demographics: Students of all ages and schools throughout Northern California

Direct beneficiaries per year: 55,000

Geographic areas served: Northern California

Programs: MSI serves 55,000 students each year by making them marine scientists for the day by putting them in touch with their local habitat and using scientific equipment on our 90-foot research vessel and hands-on programs on our San Francisco Bayside beach.

Community Stories

103 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful place with an excellent learning program for children of all ages. Our son has been coming here fro camp every summer since he was 4 (he's 9 now) an he loves it! We will most certainly be attending next summer as well

Keep up the great work MSI crew!!

Best - Jim and Kainoa Fotheringham

Donor

Rating: 5

Marine Science Institute summer camps offered my three children the chance to get dirty and learn about marine life in the San Francisco Bay through fantastic hands-on activities. No other program has had such impact on my kids, now young adults. I believe the MSI summer camps instilled values including the importance of protecting living creatures and their environments and brought about a curiosity about nature which is still seen in them. MSI has a dynamite program with extraordinary staff that is not only exciting and fun, but really takes “hands-on” experiences to the highest level! A ride on the Brownlee 90-ft research vessel is a MUST! There is nothing like being out on the Bay for a day, never happier than when we drag the net up to the touch pools and we get to lean in and see a bat ray and a leopard shark and everything is exciting!! We even met Alexandra Cousteau at the 40th Anniversary Party! I hope MSI is still going strong in another 45 years!! We are so glad to have been a part of this wonderful organization!

Client Served

Rating: 5

MSI has been our field trip of choice for the last several years. They have adapted with us as the science standards have changed, more recently to those of Common Core. We attend yearly and use the field trip as a frontloading opportunity to our unit on animal traits and characteristics, how they have adapted to survive, etc. The lessons are understandable for English learners as well as English speakers. Academic language is used, with the docents explaining their word choices and showing how they apply to the specific area we are studying--the sharks, the mud, fish, etc. The teaching and learning is sufficiently arresting that we schedule a year in advance to make sure we get "our" time. In my 35 years of teaching, this is the only trip that we very consistently plan for each and every year, due to to its high quality, high interest, and accessibility to our children. We also use the scholarship each year, to be able to provide this enriching experience to all of our first grade children.

Cheryl178

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A FULL 5 STARS! MSI is the best. I have helped out as a volunteer there numerous times, and also took the boat trip out on the bay. The staff is fantastic, and knowledgable, and what they teach about the bay and marine life is a must learn for both adults and children a like. I cant say enough about how great they are and an asset to the Bay Area!

1 Linda441

Client Served

Rating: 4

My daughter loved her years at camp. Now she wants to be a camp counselor there! That says something.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We've sent our kids to the MSI summer camp for 4 years, and it's a wonderful way to expose them to the local marine biology. The organization is very well run.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

What a wonderful experience for kids, my daughter loved it and learned so much!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Provides great educational experiences to kids of all ages through school, camps, scouts, etc.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Great field trips, awesome camps! Such a unique place. My kids love how hands on it is. They have learned so much about fish and Bay conservation there. It is definitely a favorite and I feel lucky to have it close by!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Marine Science Institute is doing a fantastic job of getting young kids excited about science in general, and marine science in particular. I love it and my son loves it! We've gone to numerous events and camps they've put on and look forward to doing more.