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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

116 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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.

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!

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.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

My 4th graders took the most amazing field trip to Pescadero Beach last year where they were met by docents from the Marine Science Institute. The program is titled Marshes and Beaches but it is so much more. They learned many concepts that are important in the Next Generation Science Standards. The students observed internal and external structures that allow species to survive in specific envronments. They observed the layers of the rock in the cliffs as evidence of changes over time. They looked at human impact on the area and so much more. The hands on activities were exciting for the students and kept them engaged even with the competition from the gorgeous scenery and enticing water. It is now on my must-do field trip list.

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered to help beach cleanup at Ocean Beach and a few other smaller events. I think MSI does a great deal with what they have to further the mission of educating and inspiring young local minds about their impact to the world they live in. The best way to inspire global change is to make young people aware and responsible for their local environments.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Marine Science Institute is one of the best nonprofits in the Bay Area. The programs are detailed to the students, the instructors are passionate about their craft, and the activities are interesting, engaging, and fun. My students (over 120) know more about their surroundings now than they ever will.

1

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

1

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!

1

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!