As a voice for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, we engage the public through outreach and education programs that increase awareness of the most pressing issues facing the sanctuary.

School Programs

At the heart of our educational mission, the Foundation actively cultivates a new generation of ocean stewards through elementary school programs. Our focus is on igniting curiosity and fostering understanding in young minds, with a special emphasis on reaching underserved children in inland communities such as Watsonville and Salinas. Despite their proximity to the coast, many of these communities have students who have never had the opportunity to experience the ocean. Our dedicated efforts involve providing funding to educators who bring the marvels of the ocean directly into the classroom, creating a vibrant and engaging learning environment. We support field trips to the Sanctuary Exploration Center (SEC) in Santa Cruz, where students immerse themselves in hands-on experiences. They are getting out of the classrooms and into the sand to learn about the harmful impacts of marine debris. At the sanctuary’s edge kids gain a firsthand understanding of the intricacies of ocean ecosystems. Post-visit, our educators revisit classrooms to reinforce and seamlessly integrate the field experiences with the curriculum. Through these initiatives, we go beyond merely teaching about the ocean; we strive to instill a lifelong connection to and stewardship of our marine world, nurturing a passion for the oceans that will last a lifetime.

Sanctuary Exploration Center Exhibits

The Sanctuary Exploration Center  (SEC) in Santa Cruz educates up to 150,000 visitors annually. Renowned for its state-of-the-art exhibits and displays, the Center is continuously evolving to provide an enriching experience. Our Foundation supports efforts to update and expand these interactive exhibits that educate everyone from adults to children in engaging and meaningful ways. The SEC focuses on addressing pressing marine issues, spotlighting the dynamic changes in ocean conditions, and offering actionable ways for visitors to contribute to the preservation of the sanctuary.


Our Foundation recognizes the importance of nurturing the next generation of leaders in marine conservation. We provide stipends for college internships which offer invaluable, hands on experience in sanctuary conservation and science, welcoming a diverse group of young adults into the world of marine stewardship. Through these opportunities, we’re cultivating a skilled and passionate community committed to the future of our oceans.