May 1: Applications open
May 31: Applications close
June 30: Grantees notified
Supporting youth-led grassroots projects to address ocean health—anywhere in the world.
The 2021 application deadline has passed.
Eligible Microgrant projects must adhere to these criteria:
May 1: Applications open
May 31: Applications close
June 30: Grantees notified
FORMER EDUCATION LEAD, NOAA OCEAN EXPLORATION AND RESEARCH
Paula is a marine biologist and Founder of Global Ocean Visions. She spent 18 years directing the Education Program for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations Office of Ocean Exploration and Research.
Paula Keener spent 18 years as the Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) Ocean Exploration’s Education Program. A marine biologist, she conducted extensive larval and adult fish research off the Southeastern coast of the U.S. and was a research team member in the Smithsonian Institution’s Western Atlantic Mangrove Program off Belize, Central America. Keener served as a member of The President’s Panel on Ocean Exploration and as a member of the National Academies Committee on Exploration of the Seas. She served as a member of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History’s Ocean Hall Statement of Purpose Team, the National Science and Technology Council Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Human Capacity in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Working Group, the 2006 National Conference on Ocean Literacy (CoOL) Working Group, and was Conference Program Committee CoChair for Education for the Marine Technology Society (MTS) Oceans 2005 Conference in Washington, DC and the 2011 Oceans Conference in Kona, HI. She is a Past-President of the National Marine Educators Association and the South Carolina Marine Educators Association and a founding member and Past-President of the South Carolina Marine Educators’ Association. She serves as a writer and editor for scientific and technical papers, publications targeted to the general public, and served as a scientific editor for Our Ocean World radio scripts which were distributed to 150 radio stations in the United States, the National Public Radio Network satellite network, 200-plus stations of Voice of America, and the Armed Forces Network.
Ph.D. Student, UCSB EEMB Hofmann lab
Xochitl Clare is a Ph.D. student in the Ecology, Environment, and Marine Biology Department at UCSB. She received her B.S. in Marine Biology as well as her B.A. in Theater Arts at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Xochitl is interested in eco-physiology in relation to environmental change and ocean acidification. She is also passionate about multi-media science communication and education.
Indrani Pal, PhD
Water Scientist and Educator, Columbia University Earth Institute and the City University of New York
Indrani teaches Water Sustainability and Climate at Columbia University. She has also taught Basic Statistics; MATLAB; R; Fundamentals of Sustainability and Climate Change; Water Management, Global Food Security, Global Oceans, and Local Climates, among others.
She is also the Founder and Leader of HydroDetectus.
PhD Candidate, Fisheries Ecology, Rutgers University
Abigail is a graduate student and NSF Graduate Research Fellow at the Center for Fisheries and Ocean Sustainability at Rutgers University.
She uses quantitative and qualitative methods to understand fisheries as dynamic social-ecological systems. Her work ranges from a remote trout fishery in northern Mongolia to New Jersey's recreational bottomfish fisheries.
Gazi Bay, Kenya
Mikoko Pamoja is a community-led project to protect and restore mangroves through the sale of carbon credits. Their project tests the Riley Encasement Technique, an innovative replanting method, in a bid to rehabilitate mangroves in the denuded high energy intertidal areas of Gazi bay.
CarbonEthics is a startup, not-profit organization running Project Tumbuh to directly sequester carbon through the conservation and restoration of coastal habitats (mangroves, seagrass, and coral) while also enhancing the livelihood of local communities. SOA is supporting them to conduct stakeholder mappings and assess carbon stock potential as well as gain formal government accreditation.
CarbonEthics aims to educate individuals and institutions about how to reduce and offset their carbon footprints. In less than 1 year since forming, CarbonEthics had offset >670 tons of CO2e through Blue Carbon Ecosystem Conservation with 6,230 of marine & estuarine mangrove trees planted, 1,325 seagrass seeds, 610 seaweed seeds and 247 coral polyps. Through this conservation, CarbonEthics had given direct economic contribution to 17 farmers partners and indirect socioeconomic contribution to coastal communities in Thousand Islands Marine National Park, Indonesia.
Go Zero Waste
Go Zero Waste is an App (iOS and Android) that shows plastic-free alternatives for everyday items and then shows where to buy it in your area. The app challenges users to start a zero-waste lifestyle with new sustainable habits and rewarding them with a gamification feature.
Mymizu (“mizu” is water in Japanese) provides a free water refill platform that connects people to 200,000+ locations globally where they can refill their water bottle, instead of buying bottled water. SOA is supporting them in developing materials for volunteers to carry out their own workshops across Japan, scaling their impact.
A large part of Mymizu's mission is education on the oceans & the plastic problem; they carry out workshops and awareness-raising activities at schools, universities & events (70+ times in the past 7 months to 5000+ people), as well as create digital content (e.g. infographics/videos) to engage people on social channels.
With SOA funds, they have developed fun, educational materials for Mymizu volunteers and community members to carry out their own workshops across Japan, enabling them to reach significantly more people through localized and volunteer-led workshops (both online and/or in-person).
Thresher Shark Champions
The Thresher Shark Champion Program trains local youths with leadership, communication, and conservation knowledge to undertake conservation initiatives that will stimulate behavior change of local communities who are targeting thresher sharks and support the transition to alternative livelihood solutions.
Thresher Shark Project Indonesia focuses on the conservation of Thresher Shark in Alor, East Tenggara Indonesia. The 3 main focuses of this project are (1) identifying critical habitat and migration patterns through satellite tagging and citizen science; (2) creating sustainable alternative livelihoods for the local shark fishing communities; and (3) conducting outreach, education to students, local youth communities, and other stakeholders. The project proposed with SOA microgrant is to specifically conduct the “Thresher Shark Champion Program”.
Watch the thresher Shark Project documentary.
Leaders: Putri Martosudarmo, Rafid Shidqi, Dewi Ratna Sari, Gisela Emanuela Nappoe, Primiaty Natalia, Ahmad Hilmy Mubarak,
Washington, D.C., USA
Saltwater Classroom is a nonprofit that runs weeklong workshops focused on ocean science and conservation for young students. Through SOA support, Saltwater Classroom has pivoted their in-person programming to the virtual world, creating a unique opportunity for students across the world to connect with one another and learn from ocean experts. In November, Saltwater Classroom ran a three week virtual workshop that featured live sessions, encouraged hands-on activities, and fostered creative inquiry amongst its participants.
Awareness into Action Programme
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Stop Trashing It is a network of youth helping people shift awareness into action when it comes to living lighter on the planet. They aim to ease these habit changes and encourage self-accountability through three action areas: Act Now Workshop Series, Digital Communications Program, and Action Campaigns.
This fall they teamed up with the Veith House Urban Garden to deliver a fermentation workshop where they learned how to make Kimchi using in-season produce grown locally (available on YouTube). Fermenting and pickling foods is a great way to make produce last longer at the end of growing season.
More info on the action area:
(1) Act Now Workshop Series: Hosting skill-building workshops and impact-driven events working with local partners.
(2) Digital Communications Program: Creating clear and engaging social media content to inspire action.
(3) Action Campaigns: Encouraging individual actions through pledges and challenges, and engaging political action by advocating for regulatory changes based on novel research.
Reproductive Ecology of Manta Rays
Nusa Penida Island, Indonesia
This project collects data on Manta Rays in The Nusa Penida Marine Protected Area (MPA), and couples this information with individual sightings data to understand their population demographics and dynamics. The information garnered from this study will provide data on manta ray life-history parameters and lend insights into whether sites repeatedly used by smaller individuals can be considered nurseries for this species, which is an understudied aspect of manta ray ecology. Information from this study will inform tourism management within the MPA.
Virtual Diving Project
Virtual Diving is an environmental education project inspired by Google Cardboard. Through virtual reality glasses made of recycled cardboard, students take a virtual tour in different marine ecosystems using the Google app "Expeditions". The Virtual Diving team knows that most people never have and probably never will have the opportunity to dive in their entire lives. They also know that this is a big problem for the oceans, because it is impossible to preserve what you do not know.
Microplastic Collection & Analysis
Nerja and Almuñécar, Spain/ Cork, Ireland
This project carries out clean up activities and monitoring of litter and microplastics in the Sanguino River and streams near a protected coastline located in Maro-Cerro Gordo Cliffs Natural Area (Nerja and Almuñécar, Spain). Previous monitoring work by the organization associated with this grant (Hombre y Territorio) has identified heavily polluted sites due to intensive agriculture.
Primary activities include cleanup and litter characterization, analysis of water samples for microplastics by infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), training citizen scientists to maintain fieldwork, and communicating project impact with local policymakers and stakeholders.
Gambia Ocean Heroes
12 tonnes of trash along River Gambia (Barra to Kartong) were collected, as well as activities to sensitize community members (especially those who travel on the river ferry) about the effects of riverine and marine pollution through radio programs and surveys. Gambia Ocean Heroes is a service-learning project under the GREAT Institute created in 2018. Apart from clean up activities, the GOH supports local communities and organizations to take the lead in efforts towards promoting ocean health and reducing plastic pollution. Since 2018, GOH has collected 350 tonnes of trash along The Gambia’s coastline and is excited to expand this effort to rivers.
River Clean Up Operations (RECOVER)
River Clean-Up Operation (RECOVER) is a collaborative community service project conducted by SOA Brunei, YSEALI and Save Kampong Ayer to gather solid wastes found along the Brunei River in Kampong Ayer (Water Village). This project aims to provide immediate short-term relief to solid waste discarded in the environment by engaging volunteers and the local Kampong Ayer community through the collective effort of a mass river clean-up. To date, RECOVER has engaged 186 volunteers and successfully collected 270 bags of waste.
Guimaras Island, Philippines
A-B-Seas is a two-day experiential learning camp for children and teens to nurture interest in marine life and inspire pro-environmental behavior. This program introduces participants to basic concepts in marine ecology, conservation, and leadership, with special attention to the different roles and responsibilities humans have. Each lesson is accompanied with an activity or task, represented by a marine species. Each camp ends with an assignment for attendees to pursue in their own social circles (e.g., convince their parents to use reusable bags for groceries, write a letter to their principal about waste segregation in their school, etc.).
A-B-Seas was created in response to the concern of MPA (Marine Protected Areas) managers that most people involved in MPA management and coastal conservation belong to older age groups.
Project MariKnows is a project that aims to empower Maritime professionals and students (Marine Engineering and Marine Transportation) in the Philippines as leaders in marine conservation by hosting a two-day seminar-workshop and creating an institutionalized Learning Kit. The Philippines is the 2nd largest producer of seafarers around the world, so it is essential that they understand the most pressing issues of their industry including ballasting, marine litter, noise pollution, eliminating carbon emissions in the shipping sector, and oil spills.
See Our Seas Docuseries
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
The Sea Our Seas Docuseries is a joint project between Ecovybz Environmental Creatives and 4 Change TT where six short documentaries will be created that highlight the oceans, marine resources, and problems and challenges facing effective ocean management in Trinidad and Tobago. The topics addressed include: fisheries, pollution, coral reefs, ghost gear, the Blue Economy, and climate change. This docuseries will educate on ocean resources and ocean problems, showcase solutions and mobilize actions, present stories from different stakeholders involved in ocean management, and aid in sharing information with schools and other interested bodies.
EpoXonomy: Curating The Science of Taxonomy through the Art of Epoxy Resins
The science of taxonomy and the art of biological specimen collections go hand in hand to illustrate and catalogue the importance of life on Earth, particularly where marine biodiversity loss is increasing at alarming rates. This project aims to: 1) Curate selective marine organisms and illustrated graphics to debunk misconceptions of taxonomy through the art of epoxy resin, 2) prepare information for resin specimens and blocks via QR codes, with video links from experts related to themes of acidification, aquatic invasives, destruction of habitat and pollution, 3) create awareness through advertising and create an educational toolkit and exhibition.
The project is expected to help youths engage the fundamental science of taxonomy with conservation and ecology in line with the themes of SOA and SDG 14, and aid experts by working towards establishing conservation priorities of our Malaysian marine biological heritage.
WindKart Beach Clean-Up
Fort-Mahon Plage, France
WindKart Beach Clean-up conducts regular beach cleanups using their own specific 'windkarts' that are suited to the wide, windy beach. They also sort the waste they collect and obtain data which will both inform sensitization projects and demonstrate the high amount of pollution generated by fishermen and mussel farmers who use and discard plastic gear. The team is engaging with corporates to have employees participate as part of CSR policies and in the future, they aim to offer consulting services to those companies so that they can reduce their impact.
Sawfish Project Indonesia
Sawfish Project Indonesia is an interdisciplinary project that seeks to provide data about sawfish to local and national governments to implement legal protections for them. The project will conduct scientific research using Environmental DNA (E-DNA) and fisheries surveys to investigate the problem of sawfish bycatch, which is one of the major factors leading to the decline of sawfish populations in Merauke, Indonesia. Sawfish Project Indonesia ultimately aims to enhance the capacity of indigenous people in Merauke to continue the important work of sawfish conservation locally. This project will perform an incubator workshop to teach the youth of Merauke about sawfish conservation.
Let the Sea Turtle Live
Southwest Region, Cameroon
A project in partnership with the Cameroon Ministry of Environment, Nature, and Sustainable Development to raise awareness among fishermen to improve fishing practices with the aim of conserving the endangered sea turtles. Over 3,000 fishermen in 4 fishing communities took part, including 30 fishermen association leaders who agreed to serve as ambassadors for the project and to continue to spread awareness in their community. Volunteers from the University of Buea played key roles in door-to-door sensitization, which contributed to an estimated 75% increase in awareness amongst the fishing community on the ecological importance of sea turtles.
Journalism to Combat Marine Debris
The ocean plays a critical role as a climate regulator by absorbing about 30% of human emissions of carbon dioxide, but increasing levels of plastic waste threatens this key ecosystem function. This project seeks to leverage data and storytelling tools to spotlight the challenge of marine pollution and its dangers to society. The project also deploys a digital campaign involving use of short videos and infographics to educate residents across West Africa on the dangers of marine pollution, and improve practices of waste management.
Kiabu Reef Restoration
25 year old Dennis and his team work with managers of the Anambas Islands Marine Tourism Park, a new management area made up of five small islands, to develop their regional marine management plan to: 1. Re-establish fish habitat and help to restore fish populations by providing artificial reefs of 40 coral spiders; 2. Increase the percentage of coral cover by transplanting 500 corals at restoration sites, and 3. Become a model of community-based conservation activities on small islands in Anambas.