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Marine Science Institute

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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 almost 50 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

129 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We have had many experiences with MSI through the years - summer camp, a school field trip, EcoVoyages and most recently a canoe trash cleanup. My daughter has loved summer camp - she can't wait until she is old enough to do a sleepover on the boat. Due to a mix-up by our school, our field trip 2 years ago could have been a disaster. However, MSI was very accomodating, and the field trip was a success. During our last EcoVoyage, our son was finally old enough to participate. The captain had heard of my son's current obsession with shipwrecks and navigated to one in the bay, so we could see it up close - my son was in alt. My children also really enjoyed a bay trash cleanup... in a canoe! They were so excited about the balloon, plastic bag, and other trash they found that they nearly toppled the boat. MSI has allowed each of my children to develop a personal relationship with the bay. Thank you!

Client Served

Rating: 5

We have worked with MSI for 17 years, the Discovery Voyage is the highlight of our school year! The students really enjoy the hands-on education and high level, local connections to the curriculum. I really appreciate how much the MSI curriculum has grow and adapted to my needs as an AP science teacher. I also appreciate that he students are able to see a broad range of science research pathways and opportunities.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Marine Science Institute is a fantastic organization. I've brought my nephew to their public events and he loved the interactive activities, especially pulling in the net with the other children onto the beach to see what bay critters they could catch. The instructors are wonderful with children (my nephew is 7) and can take complex ideas and simplify for their understanding. The aquarium was also a highlight. My nephew loved seeing the sharks, sea stars, and other fish. We can't wait for the next event!

Board Member

Rating: 5

MSI is such a great place or kids and adults to learn about the San Francisco Bay and all of its wildlife. The kids remember it for years and love to come back again and again.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first visited MSI for a school trip in the third grade, and absolutely loved it. In fact, I loved it so much I begged my mom to sign me up for summer camp right away! I had always been interested in science, but MSI sparked a real love for marine biology and conservation that's still with me to this day. I went to MSI summer camp every year until I aged out of their camp programs, at which point I started volunteering.
The staff at MSI are great people who love their jobs and have a passion for education and conservation. The programs themselves are fun and hands-on, encouraging kids to put on their "scientist goggles" and learn by doing, not just listening. Personally, I cannot recommend it enough, especially for budding scientists who like the water and don't mind getting a little dirty.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My son and nieces and nephews have really benefited from and enjoyed MSI camps and the Earth Day celebration. They provide hands on access to the creatures in our Bay which is very engaging for the kids (and me!). I am also completely confident in the science-based management & professionalism of their programs. As a parent, there is no icky feeling that the animals here might be harmed at the expense of giving kids a learning experience. Yay!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Marine Science Institute in Redwood City offers some incredibly unique and rare opportunities for kids in the bay area to experience local marine life and marine biology education first hand. Having participatied in several boat trips with school groups of all ages, I saw the wonder and excitement both kids and teachers experienced as they helped bring in fish like bat rays and halibut. The crew made every part of the experience educational and extremely safe. Highly recommend this to every school in the bay area and beyond.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Marine Science Institute has been a huge part of my life for almost 20 years. I worked at MSI for 7 years and believe so much in the mission that I didn't stay away for long! For the last 10 years, I have been serving on the Board of Directors. MSI offers students the chance to have hands-on experiences with local marine life through their top-notch school programs and summer camp. There is a reason why MSI has such great reviews! The instructors are knowledgeable, experienced educators who provide students with opportunities to explore and make their own observations. I have friends who went on MSI's research vessel when they were in school and still rave about the trip. And there are teachers who participated in the program as students who now bring their classes every year. MSI is a well-loved organization and a huge value to the Bay Area!

Reema S.

Board Member

Rating: 5

My 3 children have had a fabulous time at MSI's Camps. The camp offers an unique experience - engaging, fun and experiential learning. I highly recommend. We are now excited to try some of the family experiences available during the school year.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Wonderful place for my teenager son to develop his love for the environment and the marine life. We treasure it very much!

Client Served

Rating: 5

We took our 5 yr old on an ecovoyage on the Robert G. Brownlee and loved the whole experience. The staff that welcomed us aboard were very friendly and accomodating. My son loved that he got to touch a bat ray which he helped catch straight from the bay! Lots of hands-on experiences suitable for his age. He learned a lot and still talks about it, two weeks later! Will definitely be back and recommending to friends and family :)

Client Served

Rating: 5

An absolutely Fantastic Day canoeing with the MSI staff; Kaitlyn and Ashley! Not only were they great instructors on safety and technique, their wonderful energy brought out perfect weather :). There were fun and educational activities for all ages as well. I highly recommend this guided event for anyone!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Marine Science Institute is a very important community partner on the peninsula. Their field trips are designed for the Next Generation Science Standards and provide students with wonderful local phenomena and hands-on experiences that help them become better stewards of the environment. MSI is also helping teachers transition to the Next Generation Science Standards. I greatly appreciate all they do.

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I first became aware of the Marine Science Institute as a parent. My family used to attend the Earth Day celebration and was lucky enough to go out on the Robert G. Brownlee. My kids were delighted to see all the creatures that live in the bay. Pulling in the net and making the mud grab made them feel like scientists and adventurers. When I returned to teaching, I was delighted to see that MSI was working with local schools to learn about and teach the Next Generation Science Standards. The educational experiences offered through MSI are a very valuable part of student learning, but also fun. Now I am a science coach for my district. I am recommending all the teachers look into field trips, classroom visits and collaboration with the Marine Science Institute.

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General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My daughter and I took a trip on the Robert G. Brownlee one Saturday. We learned so much about the Bay and our often-overlooked local marine environment. The best part were the MSI leaders, whose enthusiasm was contagious. More outings and volunteer work are planned.

We're so lucky to have the MSI.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Marine science does in school fieldtrips at our school each year, TK -grade 6. All of our students love the experience and get so excited when they know they are coming.

We also take our6th graders out on the boat and the trip is one of the highlights of the year. Students get so excited to pait their faces with bay mud and collect fish specimens in the net.

We are a Title I school and without donations from companies and individuals we would not be able to afford these wonderful programs.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Marine Science Institute was highly enjoyable and informational! I went here as part of the NGSS initiation program. I learned a lot about the creatures that lived in the San Francisco Bay and why they chose to live there.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

We love having Marine Science come to our school. The cost of a school bus for field trips is around $700 for 3-4 hours. But when MSI visits are school with their marine life our students are so excited. They get to touch, observe, and learn interesting facts about the marine life they've been hearing about or reading about but most of them have never seen one. It's interesting to see the students interact with the sea creatures, some are very timid at first but then begin to get braver and encourage their classmates to touch a crab, or pet the shark. In addition to the hands-on experience the MSI staff also tell the children about how they can help keep the marine life safe. It's wonderful to see the students walk away with ideas of how they can help protect the marine life. They also hold a teacher event where we can register for them to come visit our school, explore the tanks of live marine life. I Love MSI, they are informing our next generation how they can help to make our world a better place for human and animal life to coexist.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

One of our kids has attended MSI summer camp for 3 years , and the other kid attended once so far -- they love the MSI camp counselors and all the fun (educational) activities they do. The kids really enjoyed the camp field trips (beach, California Academy of Sciences, boat trip). As a family, we've gone to Earth Day at MSI, which was filled with different fun activities (including fishing with the big net). We also went on an elephant seal nature walk with MSI at Ano Nuevo beach - the staff are extremely friendly and knowledgable. All of our experiences have been positive with MSI -- they have inspired our older kid to aspire to be a marine scientist one day!

Laura B.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter first discovered the Marine Science Institute on a school field trip and loved it. She since set her mind on being a Marine Biologist. We started attending outings as a family and have had great times observing and learning about a variety of marine life. As a middle schooler, she's now looking forward to volunteering next summer and learning more about the field. Thank you for giving our daughter and other kids so many opportunities to have hands-on experiences learning about science and the environment!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The staff are well informed and the activities that I have attended so far have been awesome! Fun and educational.