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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

70 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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

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!

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.

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.

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

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.

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

Client Served

Rating: 5

What a wonderful experience for kids, my daughter loved it and learned so much!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Marine Science Institute is doing a fantastic job of getting young kids excited about science in general, and marine science in particular. I love it and my son loves it! We've gone to numerous events and camps they've put on and look forward to doing more.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

LOVE MSI! My kids had the best time at summer camp & can't wait to go back! They come home and teach us so much about our local wetlands, have such a great excitement and love for our environment, and best of all, are happy & exhausted! It's their favorite camp!

1 Hayley U.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I worked at MSI for 9 years. It is an amazing organization. At my new job I am bringing my students here so they can learn and experience marine life. MSI gives so many schools, families, communities the opportunity to learn about the nature in their own backyard.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My children have attended summer camp at MSI for the last 3 years and loved it. They came home everyday full of stories about what they saw and learned, and they were able to apply the knowledge directly when we visited the nearby Monterey Bay Aquarium. Great job Felicia and team! We can't wait to come back next summer!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Marine Science Institute comes out to our school every year for their Inland Voyage program. My students always are engaged while they are here presenting their lessons. The reach students who would not normally be able to see live marine organisms. It is a wonderful program!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My fifth grade students took the voyage last year out on the Bay and it was extremely beneficial to their learning. My students ranged from never having been on the Bay to some that go out monthly, but very few actually knew about the life in the Bay. The students walked away with language they continued to use in the classroom and a deeper understanding of our ecosystem. This was absolutely a phenomenal trip and we will be doing it again this year.

Maggie47

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our school LOVES Marine Science institute. One of the great things about them is that when we bring our groups, all special education students, they learn so much!! The hands on experiences really help our students absorb information.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been taking my 2nd/3rd grade students to MSI for almost 25 years, as part of our study of the Ecology of San Francisco Bay. It is one of the highlights of our year. It is an engaging, hands-on experience, with well-trained, enthusiastic, knowledgeable instructors who enjoy working with kids. The children often attend the summer camps and/or return for visits with their families.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My 33 5th graders had an extraordinary learning experience on their Discovery Voyage. They learned, and retained, so much from every station, and their conversations were in-depth. For both me and the children, this trip is our absolute favorite. Former students mention the amazing time they had and their specific memories when they come back and visit me.

Thank you for providing a high-quality learning opportunity for the children. You are unparalleled!

Best regards,
Pam Smith
5th Grade
Walnut Grove Elementary
Pleasanton USD