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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

141 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering for the Marine Science Institute for around 4 years now. The atmosphere is great for new volunteers, as well as for the kids, who get to learn new thing about marine life every day. Each one of the counselors and instructors are very kind, and try their best to make everyone feel included. Overall, I could not imagine volunteering for any other organization other than MSI, due to the community being such a great and supportive one!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a summer volunteer for 2 years, and plan to come back for another 2. I started volunteering here because I attended one of their camps when I was younger and fell in love with the camp. I absolutely love volunteering. They have a beautiful facility and are extraordinarily dedicated to their jobs. I have only met kindhearted staff members since I started volunteering and they helped me to become much better at working with young children. I'm very glad I decided to come back!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a summer volunteer at MSI for 4 years now and it's just an amazing place over all. The counselors and staff are super friendly and easy to work with, everyone is passionate about about what they do, and the kids always seem to have so much fun. Would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in science and works well with kids.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My son Izaan has been a Junior Volunteer for 1 year and a summer camper for 5 years at MSI. It is hands down his most favorite thing to do in the summer. He thrives on the learning opportunities and loves the people who work there. I expect he will be volunteering there for years to come. Thank you MSI for further developing his passion and helping him develop so much over the years.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had such an incredible volunteer experience here I decided to major in Environmental Management and Protection at Cal Poly! I love MSI and they taught me so much!

Anne M.4

Client Served

Rating: 5

My 4th Graders had an fabulous time at the Marine Science Institute's summer camp this summer (2019). It was a wonderful learning experience combined by traditional camp fun.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Marine Science Institute provided my son an amazing summer camp experience! He was excited by the opportunity to participate in the Underwater Investigators session to learn about biomimicry - a perfect topic for his age group - and was fully engaged in the content which was so thoughtfully put together during the week. Each day he shared his excitement around what he'd done and all he'd learned - from canoeing through the local sloughs and interacting with marine life in the MSI aquarium, to an amazing day aboard MSI's research vessel to investigate marine life in the San Francisco Bay. I was so impressed with camp staff - their knowledge about and passion for marine science is truly inspiring. I was equally impressed by camp leadership and found Alex, in particular, to be responsive, always accessible, and a wonderful ambassador for MSI and the summer camp experience. My son enjoyed every minute with MSI and this was by far the most excited and engaged I’ve seen him in any summer camp session. He now considers himself a Marine Biologist in the making and looks forward to staying involved with MSI and its work. My sincere thanks to Alex, Maddie and the rest of the crew for providing such a fantastic and memorable experience !

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As both a teacher and a parent, my experience with Marine Science Institute has been exceptional. I have found the staff very knowledgeable, incredibly professional, and extremely engaging. As a teacher, the depth of subject matter was impressive. The students were fully involved in the lessons thanks to the planning and energy of the staff. As a parent, my child has continually wanted to return to the summer camps each year. He comes home each day of camp with energy and so much to share!
I highly recommend Marine Science Institute and commend the staff for their hard work and dedication.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been going to MSI for about three years now and it has been an amazing experience. It will change your way of thinking about the ocean and you really learn how to respect it. And the most exciting -THE FIELD TRIPS! They take you on a lot of field trips. Last time I went to MSI for one week and three out of five days, we were on a field trip. I especially like their field trip that takes you on their research vessel, the Robert G. Brownlee. On the vessel, we do catch and release, a mud grave and we look at plankton under a microscope. It is really fun!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

MSI is an amazing organization that provides incredible opportunities for kids and families. We have attended their beach days where incredible naturalists lead adventures educating kids on marine life. We went to ano nuevo to see the sea lions during their annual birthing season. Each summer, my daughter attends their camp, which is a highlight of the summer. The counselors are energetic, fun, educated, and inspiring. The camp is substantive and a truly unique opportunity for kids.

1 Wych S.

Donor

Rating: 5

Can't say enough nice things about MSI and its staff. My daughter started out as a Camper there, and with that instilled a sense of respect for our environment.. She had gone there almost every summer while growing up. She has become a Steward of the Bay, she has taught other students a love of our Bay and how to protect it. An environmental warrior with the drive to teach others and have lots of fun along the way. Still today she is a staff member, along with so many other wonderful staff members.

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Donor

Rating: 5

MSI offers an engaging, hands-on experience with well trained, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable instructors who just love to working with children, and it shows in the time and effort that is put in to each of their programs so that they make learning fun, and the kids retain the information.
They have a unique learning experience that gave my daughter the love and enthusiasm for Environmental Issues, both at home and abroad.
She went from Summer Camper, to Intern to her dream job as a full-time staff member.
Can't say enough great things about MSI, just so very happy that they are a part of our life and out community!

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1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Marine Science Institute - Kelp Forest Presentation -
Being a Special Ed Teacher, I usually attend assemblies with the assumption that I will take many (or all) of my students back to class before the end. I am surprised, impressed, and, proud to say that all of my students stayed until the end of the assembly, and they were engaged most of the time.

The staff was amazing with our students, and they were able to meet our students at their skill set. We are so thankful for this opportunity!

1

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!

1

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.

1

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!

1

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.

1

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.

1

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!

1

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.

1

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!

1

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 :)

1

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!

1

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
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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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1

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son attended an excellent 1 week camp for middle school students. He thoroughly enjoyed every activity, and got to do experiments, take samples, and learn about the marine wildlife of our bay. The highlight of the camp was the Thursday-Friday overnight aboard the research vessel, where they visited Angel Island, the Golden Gate Bridge and other sights on the SF Bay.

bekk

Donor

Rating: 5

MSI's team of dedicated, intelligent, and kind people make this non-profit stand out. Through education and outreach, MSI engages kids and adults and educates the community through awesome programs, curriculum, special events and boat trips. These are the kind of programs that kids remember their whole life, what wonderful resource for teachers, students and the general community.
I work at a local brewery, and we often partner with MSI for special events and fundraisers. MSI is truly one of the coolest orgs in the Bay Area, showing that through engaging education, we learn about the interconnection of all things and our responsibility to conserve and care for our planet. Go get on the research vessel boat tour of the Bay! Do a mud trawl, donate and volunteer!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My high school classes have benefited tremendously from our partnerships with MSI over the years - be it as a part of a middle school mentorship program, or studying the marine life of the SF bay. Their staff is incredibly accommodating and helpful in tailoring programming to my specific group of students.