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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

14 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been taking my fourth graders to the Marine Science Instutue's Discovery Voyage for the past 9 years. The experience for me and for my students has always been extraordinary! The instructors give the students the hands-on learning that allows them to retain most of what they see and do on the their 4 hour voyage. The students are fully engaged learning not only about habitat and adaptations, but also about the very unique estuary that is San Francisco Bay. I highly recommend a day with any of the Marine Science Institute programs.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

MSI is a great way for students to explore, basically, their back yard, the estuaries around SF Bay. What a fabulous way for teachers to tie in Common Core Standards with NGSS. Students whom I have taken on this experience have very fond and long-lasting memories of exploring the SF Bay. I have been taking students on this exploration for the last 15 years. I and my students parents always look forward to this extended experience.
Thanks for all you do!!!!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was lucky enough to have been invited as an adult volunteer to two of many field trips held through an MSI grant with a sixth grade class. One was a tide pool expedition and the other a search for the endangered snowy plover. Once beachside, the MSI volunteers launched right into hands-on activities which were both educational and fun. This experience was especially exciting for those children who had never seen the ocean, and introducing them all to science in a hands-on method made a positive impact on everyone.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I spent a few weeks volunteering for MSI over the past two summers and it is always a highlight of my summer. The field trips we go on with camp create a wonderful background for learning about our bay and oceans and adds to the invaluable hands on learning experience available to campers. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of learning the counselors and instructors are able to pack into one week while still making the camp exceedingly fun. Not only that, the camp is able to instill a lasting environmental awareness and morals that I have now had for more than half of my life.

Lucille P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering for the Marine Science Institute for summer of 2014 was nothing but fun! I really enjoyed seeing kids of all ages have a great time while learning all about our oceans, bay and environment. I learned a lot this summer and am very happy that I chose to volunteer. I went to MSI as a kid and loved it. Being around our younger generation and seeing them enjoy it as much as I did was heartwarming. We went out on the Robert G. Brownlee, Planted gumplants at the Lucy Evans Nature preserve, went tidepooling at the Bean Hollow State Beach, learned about native plants at Pescadero State Beach and visited the Gulf of the Farallons Marine Sanctuary. I couldn't picture myself enjoying anything as much as I enjoyed helping out with the Marine Science Camp. Volunteering for the Marine Science Institute was a wonderful experience. I would do it all over again but am hoping to become a conselor next summer.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am so glad that i decided to volunteer at MSI this summer. It was such a great experience, and I loved working with the kids! Not to mention, I had a lot of fun participating in all their activities as well, and learned quite a lot from them. It amazed me how much these tiny kids knew! I also loved working with the counselors and instructors. They were all so friendly and nice to talk to. The program itself is also very enriching. It is filled with field trips, fun educational activities, games, hands on interactions with different marine animals, and lots and lots of FUN!

Kyrie V.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered at MSI camp all summer and had so much fun! The people are amazing to be around not only because they are fun but because they are helpful and want to help everyone learn. I have learned a lot this summer and can not wait to go back as a counselor next year. I will hopefully also be sending my sister back to camp again next year. She had an amazing time as well. When I have kids, they will most definately be at this camp. Absolutely love MSI and can not reccomend it enough!

Sarebear53

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a volunteer for Marine Camp for 6 years and it was always the highlight of my summer. I was originally interested in volunteering because I had such a great experience when my 6th grade class took a trip out on the bay on the Robert G. Brownlee. MSI has a way of inspiring kids to love science and the bay as much as they do and I believe it is because of the passion that all of the people there have. I have watched hundreds of kids come into camp on a Monday morning not knowing anyone and looking rather scared and shy, and by the end of the week they have mud from the bottom of the bay on their face, are grinning from ear to ear, and are begging their parents to let them stay just a little bit longer. MSI is truly top-notch.

Wendy39

Volunteer

Rating: 5

MSI has terrific events as well as summer classes for kids to learn and explore our lovely bay.