Over its 21-year history, O’Neill Sea Odyssey (OSO), a non-profit organization serving Central California 4 th -6 th grade students, has provided over 90,000 lasting marine science experiences. In its effort to help create the next generation of ocean stewards, OSO is working toward another milestone: in May or June of 2018, OSO will welcome its 100,000 th student and today, May 1, begins a 14-month campaign in celebration of this achievement.
The program includes three learning stations aboard the Team O’Neill catamaran and follow up lessons in our shore-side education center. Students participate in navigation, marine biology and marine ecology lessons aligned with Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards. Students learn about navigational technology as well as old-fashioned, line of sight triangulation, they catch and identify their own plankton sample, and learn about the ecosystems in the Monterey Bay.
Students better understand their connection to the ocean environment and learn solutions to care for it through environmentally responsible behaviors. A 2013 study of the long-term impact of the program found that 75% of high school students who participated in OSO 5-7 years earlier, retained knowledge of material taught by OSO.
Last year, 5,200 students from 202 classrooms participated in OSO programs with transportation underwritten for nearly 40%. O’Neill Sea Odyssey has produced an online “virtual program” for classes that can’t get to OSO but can benefit from OSO lessons. O’Neill Sea Odyssey and the Pepper College Readiness Network have partnered to provide classroom curriculum to schools nation-wide.
After serving their first student in 1996, whose class participated thanks to the vision of OSO founder Jack O’Neill’s belief that “The Ocean is alive, and we have to take care of it,” OSO continues to successfully educate youth over two decades later. For more information, go to www.oso100k.org, and on social media: Twitter @oneillseaodysse, Facebook and Instagram O’Neill Sea Odyssey.