About Us 

Students with octopus

 

The Ocean Awareness and Literacy ACT works to improve regional coordination 

and awareness of key ocean literacy issues such as promoting ocean science content in K-12 education and improving ocean awareness for the general public and policy-makers. Reflecting a broad spectrum of marine science, education and policy, members of our ACT represent state and federal agencies, tribal interests, informal and formal science education organizations, academia, and state departments of education.  Our mission is to guide informal and formal educators, the public and decision-makers in understanding the challenges of maintaining a healthy ocean, and work towards offering resources to help motivate them to take individual action for ocean stewardship. By providing guidance on state, federal and tribal environmental education efforts, and showcasing examples of best practices in ocean literacy, we hope to nurture and support existing programs and introduce new resources where needed. 

The Ocean Literacy and Awareness ACT members represent many of the stakeholder groups and continue to provide valuable information and insight toward this effort. The members represent state, federal, tribal, formal and informal education agencies and, in turn, are collectively well connected to a variety of relevant groups and people.  Members of the ACT have experience with curriculum development, teacher professional development, exhibit development, education programming, cultural sensitivities, learning research, and much more. 

Photo courtesy of Edna Patrick
What links California, Oregon and Washington?

 

The three states share a contiguous coastline that is subject to similar stresses and used in many of the same ways, including for recreation, commercial and recreational fishing, and commercial shipping.  The California Current Large Marine Ecosystem (California Current) is a geographic unifying feature for the West Coast of North America, extending from Baja California to Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Three major estuaries – San Francisco Bay, Columbia River, and Puget Sound – are part of this ecosystem.  

 

Understanding the complexity and significance of the California Current is one way to foster ocean literacy in a regionally relevant context. This vast ocean and coastal ecosystem is essential to the West Coast’s economic and environmental health, and is an area where marine productivity as well as pollution, urban development, overexploitation, and habitat alteration all converge.  In addition, global warming, marine debris, and invasive species have no boundaries and all are common stressors to the West Coast. The beauty of this overarching theme is that it presents opportunities to illustrate similarities and differences among the coasts of California, Oregon and Washington.  Presenting target audiences with such a perspective allows them to see the local, regional and coast-wide implications of their actions, and to apply this knowledge in formal and informal settings that further ocean literacy.