December 21, 2021 • News Announcements, Program Updates
As 2021 comes to a close, we want to thank you for supporting Oceanic Society and our mission to improve ocean health.
In spite of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our work, we have proudly continued our work to connect people to the ocean and build a movement dedicated to solving the key ocean problems of our time, with many noteworthy accomplishments. This has required more ingenuity, flexibility, and persistence than ever before, but also the opportunity to reflect on how we pursue our mission and to develop new ways to contribute to ocean conservation.
Thanks to the generosity of one of our long-time supporters, your donations will be matched 1:1 through December 31, 2021. Please consider making an end of year gift to support our ocean conservation programs!
Here’s a look at some of our accomplishments in 2021.
We led two sponsored cruises for San Francisco students who might not otherwise have the opportunity, with five more scheduled for 2022. © Chris Biertuempfel
Our Critter Scholars Program provides life-changing ocean experiences to underserved student groups in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Launched in 2017, Oceanic Society’s Critters Scholars Program aims to give life-changing ocean experiences to underserved students and communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. The program was established in honor of Captain Roger Thomas, and borrows one of his famous catch phrases, ‘critters’, which he used to describe all the fantastic ocean wildlife we see on our trips.
Through the program we provide free-of-charge boat trips to student groups who otherwise would not have the means to participate in such an activity, and we produce educational videos tied to those experiences that seamlessly integrate with educators’ curricula in new and engaging ways. After pivoting to a fully virtual program in 2020 and early 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were thrilled to be able to lead two Critter Scholars Program cruises in October and November 2021 for 53 students and educators from two San Francisco high schools. We have five more cruises planned and funded for 2022, and are seeking additional funding to expand this program.
Our 2021 State of the World’s Sea Turtles report included a global feature on olive ridley turtles with contributions from dozens of partners worldwide. © Arghya Adhikary
We support and strengthen local sea turtle conservation programs worldwide, because sea turtles are powerful flagships for ocean conservation.
Our State of the World’s Sea Turtles Program is a global effort to study and protect sea turtles and their habitats, and to leverage the amazing charisma of sea turtles to drive ocean conservation action. In 2021 we published the 16th volume of the award-winning State of the World’s Sea Turtles (SWOT) Report, which is distributed free-of-charge to research and conservation programs worldwide. For the report, we produced a special feature on the olive ridley sea turtles of the world including comprehensive global maps of olive ridley nesting and of satellite telemetry data. For these maps, we compiled nesting data from more than 774 nesting sites and 283 satellite tags from 125 different sources. We also published a range of digital articles about sea turtle conservation topics, and reached more than 53,000 people online, and we helped develop a new framework for defining Important Marine Turtle Areas globally.
And we gave 18 small grants to high-priority sea turtle research and conservation projects in Papua New Guinea, Mexico, Sudan, Indonesia, Fiji, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Chile, and Ecuador.
We organized 12 events for our Blue Habits community, including 5 beach cleanups that gathered ~450 lbs of trash.
We’re developing tools and techniques that use cutting edge behavioral science to go beyond simply ‘raising awareness’ to motivate and sustain ocean-friendly behaviors.
In 2021, our Blue Habits program engaged thousands of people worldwide in daily actions that support healthy oceans ranging from fighting plastic pollution to making sustainable seafood choices and reducing carbon footprint. With the world still largely “virtual,” we continued to develop and support our online Blue Habits community around everyday behaviors that improve ocean health, including the creation of 16 new interactive tools, monthly newsletters, a Facebook group, and a range of online resources. Digital resources and guides created by the Blue Habits program reached more than 222,000 people in 2021, and our online community now exceeds 14,700 members.
We continued to deliver our science-based Blue Habits programming aboard our whale watch tours, reaching 195 travelers in 2021, and we secured one tour operator partner that will begin implementing our methods on their whale watch cruises in 2022. We also resumed in-person community events by mid-year, hosting a total of 12 such events that included 5 beach cleanups at which participants collected more than 450 pounds of trash. These events serve to build a supportive community that reinforces our individual and collective ocean friendly living goals over the long term.
The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to hamper our travel programs, but we are proud to have safely re-opened our San Francisco whale watching tours as of Fall 2020. © Chris Biertuempfel
We lead global nature travel programs and California whale watching tours that support ocean conservation through our unique non-profit model.
In spite of the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused a downturn in travel demand and kept many of our normal destinations closed, we are proud to have safely re-opened our San Francisco whale watching tours as of Fall 2020, albeit at a lower capacity, and to have led international expeditions to the Galapagos Islands and Mexico. We served 526 travelers in 2020-2021, and our expeditions and whale watching tours generated $51,080 for ocean conservation work by Oceanic Society and our partners worldwide. To put these numbers in perspective, in our last non-COVID year (2018-2019) our travel programs served 2,969 travelers and generated $589,312 for ocean conservation.
Each of our travel offerings aims to positively impact the natural areas and human communities we visit while also delivering transformative nature experiences for our travelers that deepen their connections to nature and promote the adoption of ocean-friendly “Blue Habits.” Any profits we earn are invested directly into our ocean research and conservation programs worldwide.
We are grateful to all of our supporters, travelers, and community members for contributing to our success this year—thank you all!
You can help us keep our ocean conservation programs going strong in 2022 with an end of year donation! Thanks to the generosity of one of our long-time supporters, your donations will be matched 1:1 through December 31, 2021.