The close of 2014 is on the horizon and those of us on staff at the Marine Science Institute are reflecting on all the organization has accomplished this year. Thanks to our donors we can report on some very encouraging statistics for January-October 2014:
• MSI has provided 968 programs for Bay Area schools in San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Solano, Napa, Sonoma and Marin counties.
• We have served 33,571 students through our programs.
• There have been over 8,000 volunteer hours logged by devoted MSI supporters.
• More than 8,650 students have participated in a bay exploration Discovery Voyage aboard MSI’s 90-foot research vessel, the R/V Robert G. Brownlee.
As we look forward to the rest of the school year, we hope that you will join us in helping to reach more Bay Area students with our hands-on programs. Of the 563 Bay Area schools we have served so far this year, 30% to 91% of students in more than half of those schools are enrolled in Federal Reduced Priced Meal programs, an indicator of student poverty. Donor contributions are what enable MSI to provide sponsorships to underserved schools so that students can access hands-on, interdisciplinary science programs taught by our highly qualified instructors.
Through feedback from teachers and MSI instructors we learned that while many underprivileged K-12 students reside 50 miles or less from the California coast, an alarming number have never seen the Pacific Ocean and
are unaware of the abundant marine life beneath the surface of the San Francisco Bay. An MSI program may well be their first direct encounter with the natural world. Children in our programs have been surprised to learn what a storm drain is and where the water that funnels into it actually goes. MSI often provides students their first insights into the consequences of littering, and the connection between their actions and the impact on marine life and water quality in the Bay.
Science offers a laboratory of common experience for development of language, logic, and problem-solving skills in the classroom and beyond. This is frequently not the case in financially struggling schools where many teachers feel unprepared to teach science. Schools lack resources for professional development, materials and equipment required to offer the high-quality science programs so important to the future of students. That’s where the Marine Science Institute and your donations come in.
Our mission is to provide marine science activities to promote science learning among students in a way that gives them and their teachers access to programs, supplies and state-of-the-art equipment that schools cannot afford. MSI programs engage students in hands-on exploratory activities that build foundational scientific skills and knowledge. MSI programs and online resources enable teachers to meet Next Generation Science Standards for life, earth and physical sciences. We even take programs to schools that cannot afford the cost or time to transport students to our facility, or local wetlands and beaches.
We invite you to keep in mind this holiday season the significant
and tangible impact your donation will make for students.
This article is featured in our BayLines Winter Edition 2014-2015.