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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

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 over 50 years. More than 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 55,000 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

161 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Linda S.21

Client Served

Rating: 5

Marine Science Institute is a gem in our community. Over the years my family has participated in the canoe trip, low tide walk, school field trips, and summer camp, including the middle school trip with an overnight stay on the Robert S. Brownlee. Every event has been very informative and fun. The staff are very friendly.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

We have been attending MSI camps since our daughter was in kindergarten, 6 years later we attend as many camps as there are for her age group. She loves the hands on learning and has annouced she wants to work and save marine life for a career. The trips on the boat are cherished and talked about for weeks! She is happy to share with whomever will listen.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter attended your camp for the first time this summer, and had a GREAT experience! She came home with cool creations, told us about the marine life she got to "pet" and other interesting facts about the bay. She was at first scared to board the boat, but your staff was reassuring, and professional. You were also very well organized in the details, re parking, snacks to pack, etc. etc. We joined as members since we were so impressed with your operation. We've lived in RWC for 5 years, and did not even know you existed. We will spread the word, for sure on all the great things you're doing. Thanks!!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter has been attending your camp from age 5 until this summer when she was 11. She had looked forward to this camp every year and had an amazing time this last summer. Your staff and your program are wonderful!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son had the greatest experience this summer at the Marine Science Institute summer camp. Signing him up for this camp was a very nice experience for me, too. We were late and camp was full, but the staff tried to find a space for us and they did. All my phone calls were returned in a very timely and respectful manner, and best of all my boy had a blast! Kids were doing science, and learning about the environment and on ways to protect it. They explored marches in the south bay on kayaks, taking samples for analysis and having a great time in between. The overnight trip to Angel island was something that kids will remember for a long-long time. I praise the MSI for all work they do.

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I recently participated in MSI's "Ecotour" program, a two-hour, on-water experience to help the general public better understand the San Francisco Bay's functions and characteristics. The tour was informative, well-organized, and engaging. Adults and children seemed to have a good time. I will be taking a group of adults on the tour in a few weeks and am very excited about this program!

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

MSI's summer camps are fantastic. Full of fun and science, 3 field trips in 5 days were a huge hit with my 7 year old. We'll definitely send him back year after year, and his younger sister is begging for her own chance to attend Marine Science Camp (next year!)

3

Client Served

Rating: 3

My daughter loved spending time at MSI both as a student and as a camper. She especially liked touching the shark and being on the boat. She thought the only improvement would be fewer games and more Marine Science stuff.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter attended Ocean Explorers Summer Camp. Last year she attended as well, but as a entering first grader. She thoroughly enjoys herself, comes home telling us interesting facts about ocean life, and loves the counselors and staff. I couldn't be happier with this camp. There are two field trips to the beach and tide pools and a trip aboard their boat. It's fantastic!

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I recently participated in a Discovery Voyage aboard the Marine Science Institute's boat in San Francisco Bay. I was truly impressed by the quality of the program. The staff do an excellent job of keeping the kids engaged and getting them excited about science and the environment. The program gets the kids to actively participate in collecting the samples and analyzing them. They have four science stations aboard the boat -- one each for plankton, large fish, sediment, and water quality. The children end up learning a ton without even realizing it.

11

Client Served

Rating: 5

Camp is awesome. *This review was collected during a boat trip and entered by GreatNonprofits staff on behalf of the reviewer

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

I think I learned a lot about other types of animals and what lives in the ocean that I didn't know was there. I really like being on the boat. *This review was collected during a boat trip and entered by GreatNonprofits staff on behalf of the reviewer

11

Client Served

Rating: 5

I learned stuff about fish and megalodons and sharks and plankton. One more thing that's really cool about Marine Science Institute is the Free Willy whale. One thing that I think they could improve is letting us in the water. *This review was collected during a boat trip and entered by GreatNonprofits staff on behalf of the reviewer

11

Client Served

Rating: 5

Camp is awesome and Josh [the counselor] is awesome. *This review was collected during a boat trip and entered by GreatNonprofits staff on behalf of the reviewer

11

Client Served

Rating: 5

I really liked it. I would do it again. *This review was collected during a boat trip and entered by GreatNonprofits staff on behalf of the reviewer

8

Client Served

Rating: 4

It was definitely fun, and I learned a lot, and seeing all the things that we found, like catching fish. It was really interesting. *This review was collected during a boat trip and entered by GreatNonprofits staff on behalf of the reviewer

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

It's definitely better than a lot of camps I've been to. You have more opportunity than other places or thing you could do for free at home. My camp counselors at another camp treated everybody like toddlers but there they are age appropriate. *This review was collected during a boat trip and entered by GreatNonprofits staff on behalf of the reviewer

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

It was the best camp ever. *This review was collected during a boat trip and entered by GreatNonprofits staff on behalf of the reviewer

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

We learned a lot but it was disguised as fun and games--inside that, there was a lot of learning. Not like being in class, really, really fun! Just fun learning. *This review was collected during a boat trip and entered by GreatNonprofits staff on behalf of the reviewer

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

It was the best camp that I have ever been to--and the best one I will ever go to. *This review was collected during a boat trip and entered by GreatNonprofits staff on behalf of the reviewer

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

I had a lot of fun. Totally awesome. *This review was collected during a boat trip and entered by GreatNonprofits staff on behalf of the reviewer

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've been learning a lot about marine mammals. I liked going to the marine mammal center for a field trip. *This review was collected during a boat trip and entered by GreatNonprofits staff on behalf of the reviewer

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

I learned that mostly if you get a fish or a shark tail to head it may hurt it. And if a scale came off it would be hard for the fish to swim. *This review was collected during a boat trip and entered by GreatNonprofits staff on behalf of the reviewer

7

Client Served

Rating: 4

I think the Marine Science Institute was pretty interesting. There's a lot of things I've learned like that there's only one spotted seal on the coast of California and that a dolphin is a mammal. *This review was collected during a boat trip and entered by GreatNonprofits staff on behalf of the reviewer

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

The activities are really fun and very creative and kids learn a lot from them. *This review was collected during a boat trip and entered by GreatNonprofits staff on behalf of the reviewer

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It has been lots of fun on the boat today. I got to teach the kids a lot which was really cool. *This review was collected during a boat trip and entered by GreatNonprofits staff on behalf of the reviewer

9

Volunteer

Rating: 4

The boat trip was was fun, but we should have done more fish things. *This review was collected during a boat trip and entered by GreatNonprofits staff on behalf of the reviewer

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been going to camp here every year since i was five, a total of 12 years now and I enjoyed myself every time. I worked my way up to volunteer and now counselor in training. I enjoy pretty much anything that keeps me involved, but mostly I enjoy working with the kids. *This review was collected during a boat trip and entered by GreatNonprofits staff on behalf of the reviewer

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The voyage today has been great. The science the kids are learning is so sophisticated that I'm learning all sorts of things, like how the bay has changed over time. At the same time this is not a school; it's another fun day. *This review was collected during a boat trip and entered by GreatNonprofits staff on behalf of the reviewer