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The Vital Need for Ocean Literacy

Do you remember as a child the first time you saw the big blue ocean? Were
you curious? Did you wonder where waves came from? Did you run from them as they chased you up the beach? Or were you the brave one and just dove in headfirst?

Your first experience with the ocean was the beginning of your ocean literacy education. So why is being an ocean literate person important? We believe the ocean sustains all life on earth and the more we understand it, the greater our chances for survival. Yet 95% of the ocean is still unexplored today.

With the national ocean literacy curriculum created by a consortium of educators, scientists and policy makers in 2010, we will become America’s first experiential ocean literacy center open to the general public.

We educate a new generation of ocean literate children to develop full understanding about the ocean’s influence on them and their influence on the ocean. We teach them to understand the seven essential principals and 44 fundamental concepts about the how the world ocean functions.

Together we can create the ocean literate citizens of tomorrow through rewarding, enriching, and experiential programs that excite, inspire, and educate people.

The cornerstone of our educational mission will be conducted at the ExplorOcean Vessel located on a future, over-the-water classroom on the bay. The vessel will take children on field trips for “hands-on” ocean learning experiences. With a top quality curriculum developed by Dr. Wendy Marshall, our Director of Education, students receive unmatched ocean literacy programming founded in science, technology, engineering and math for K-12 education.

So far, we have established collaborative partnerships with Cal-Tech, OCC, UCI, USC, The Orange County Department of Education, the Office of Naval Research and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to name a few. This allows us to introduce our K-12 visitors to these institutions of higher learning at an early age. By inspiring youth to learn about the sea, we are showing them new opportunities and careers centered on the ocean.

Together, we can educate the next generation of ocean literate explorers as they unlock the secrets of the mysterious waters covering our blue planet.

Catalyst for Community Revitalization

For over 100 years, the aging Balboa Village Fun Zone has been a popular area in Newport Beach, occupying several city blocks and now attracting several million tourists a year. In 2005, we realized the economic potential of the “Fun Zone” site. With donor support, the board purchased nearly two acres, including the present building, boardwalk, and waterfront marina as a permanent home for the 25-year-old nonprofit.

Realizing that performing the necessary due diligence was an essential element to the success of this undertaking, ExplorOcean then hired AECOM, an S&P 500 economic consulting company, to conduct a Market and Financial Analysis. They reviewed the overall concept design, and forecasted the attendance of an ocean-themed, science- and adventure-based cultural institution.

The results were stunning!

AECOM estimated ExplorOcean would attract more than 350,000 annual visitors and achieve at least 70% earned revenue from ticket sales, waterfront activities, and boardwalk attractions. This is more than twice the attendance and earned revenue numbers of the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana and the Ocean Institute in Dana Point.

AECOM then further cited the strength of ExplorOcean’s physical location and the strong ocean-themed concept. In particular they noted that Orange County is underserved by cultural attractions, and ExplorOcean would be a major cultural destination for both residents and tourists to the area.

Fortunately, the City of Newport Beach is also committed to investing in public improvements surrounding its cultural institutions. In particular, City officials have passed significant 2012 legislation to revitalize the entire Balboa Village area with new landscaping, lighting, and facades, and will address new parking demands created by ExplorOcean. Most recently, the Mayor initiated a fund from a percentage of developer fees to support Capital Campaigns and public art in Newport Beach. The City has already invested over $15 million in the Balboa Village area alone.

We invite you to support our plans to revitalize the Balboa Village, the oldest neighborhood in Newport Beach. ExplorOcean will restore the heart and soul of this historic area and provide our children with vivid new memories and learning tools to enjoy throughout life.