Thanks again to the thousands of people worldwide who celebrated World Oceans Day with us on and around June 8th – you truly honored the theme of TOGETHER we have the power to protect the ocean!

In addition to over 600 events held by individuals, organizations, businesses, and government, the conversation online grew significantly. Compared to last year, the volume of social media chatter about World Oceans Day grew by 85% in 2013. New this year, people around the globe made Ocean Promises – hundreds of you made a promise — both at home and at World Oceans Day events in your communities — to help the ocean. Click here to see some of the promises!

For next year, we look forward to working more closely with you to encourage even more communities to celebrate the ocean and take action to protect it. We’re also constantly striving to improve our coordination of the event in all countries and all languages. If you’re interested in helping us translate and produce content that is culturally relevant please contact Alyssa Isakower, Coordinator for World Oceans Day.

Universiti Malaysia Terengganu
Universiti Malaysia Terengganu

Thanks also to World Oceans Day partners and supporters this year – especially the World Ocean Network for spreading the word and to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the educators at AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums who helped put together the AZA Educator Activity Kit, which was downloaded over 500 times! Big thanks to Jaime Stricker at Bramble Park Zoo, Magen Sier at Riverbanks Zoo, Melody Wood at San Antonio Zoo, Rhonda Beitman at Lion Country Safari, Teresa Randall at Oklahoma City Zoo, Caroline Jones at Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park, Ann Money at Oklahoma Aquarium, and Melanie Nelson at Shedd Aquarium.

We’re also extremely grateful for the support of Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, ARKive, One World One Ocean, and Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay. These organizations have donated time, amazing skills, and/or funds to support the continued growth of World Oceans Day.

Here are just a few of the great events held in celebration of World Oceans Day. There were many amazing events to choose from! The unique perspective that each community shares with the world on June 8th is truly inspirational Three is also a special section on zoos, aquariums and museums engaging their visitors for conservation action – we believe these organizations are on the cutting edge of bringing about real changes for ocean protection and conservation! Continue reading:
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Mauritius: ForeverBlue Diving

ForeverBlue Diving got their local hotel partners involved for a successful extensive beach cleanup. People got involved on multiple levels: they cleaned the beach, diving sites, and snorkeling sites. Participants and people on the beach also made promises to continue caring for the beach in the future.
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Dubai, UAE: Atlantis the Palmreading

bookmark_promiseAtlantis reached out to its guests with a variety of fun, educational, and action-oriented activities for kids. Guests heard educational talks on marine life, enjoyed Dr. Seuss themed stories, made bookmarks with a promise for the ocean, and learned how to make smart seafood choices.
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Canada, Nationwide

CTV morningMavis McRae might be in landlocked Manitoba, but she didn’t let that stop her from taking the ocean celebration and action to Canadian school kids across 5 different cities this year!

In honor of World Oceans Day, Mavis held “Ocean Conversations” – 24 presentations at 15 schools to students from kindergarten to Grade 12. Following The Ocean Project’s recommendations for age-appropriate environmental messaging, Mavis inspired younger kids with wondrous ocean and diving materials, and taught older kids how human actions affect marine wildlife.
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Costa Rica: Fundacion Keto


Fundacion Keto threw an event for their community that looks like it was fun, effective, and motivating! They helped clean up the coastal village of Bahia Ballena – a neighboring community of the Marino Ballena National Park – followed by people of all ages painting a wall hanging with marine promises about how to improve as a person for the ocean wellness.


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Pattaya, Thailand: Green Pattaya

Green Pattaya truly embodied the theme of “Together we have the power to protect the ocean” by getting many community organizations involved in a two-day cleanup of Cosy Beach. According to the organizers, one of Green Pattaya’s missions, beyond creating awareness of and action on green issues, is to involve Pattaya City Hall in solving the area’s environmental problems. It sounds like they did an amazing job with 80 participants, at least 7 different community organizations present, and two big trucks to haul and sort out the rubbish!


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Uliga Town, Marshall Islands: Jo-Jikum

Jo-Jikum – which means “your home” – celebrates World Oceans Day annually with a beach cleanup, and outdid themselves this year with two! They cleaned up sites on both the lagoon and ocean side of the islands and worked hard to collected 300 trash bags of rubbish. The organization is striving to change attitudes in the Marshall islands about ocean littering, and to share the story of the Marshall islands with the entire world.


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Sagay City, Philippines: Museo Sang bata Sa Negros

Museo Sang bata Sa Negros (“the Museum”) held many activities in the weeks leading up to and following World Oceans Day, in addition to a big coastal cleanup with 60 kids and parents helping out. The kids made promises for the ocean, released a sea turtle caught in a fisherman’s net, drew pictures of mangroves and talked about their importance, and presented a costumed dance about the ocean! Importantly – the kids learned about things they could do to help the ocean (leave shells and fishes where they found them, conserve and plant mangroves, keep litter out of the water) in their communities, and made a promise to help out with a monthly coastal clean up.
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Puerto Galera, Philippines

Over the course of the Green Fins Annual Coastal Clean-up week, 205 people participated in cleaning up ten beach and reef sites around Puerto Galera collecting a total of 953.5kg of trash! Green Fins member dive center staff and guests, local government officials, policemen, school children and more from the general public pooled together to achieve this great result.


The week culminated with a much needed clean-up at Hondura Beach, in Puerto Galera. Mostly used by local fishermen, it is rarely seen by tourists, and is subject to a large amount of trash from incoming tides. Green Fins volunteers organized the event to include educational games and prizes, with a timeline game for people to guess how long commonly found items take to break down.

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Hunucma, Mexico: Operacion Delfin Yucatan

Operacion Delfin Yucatan held a great event with hard work and lots of fun for over 100 attendees! They visited the museum of the sea and the harbor wetlands and we enjoyed an incredible documentary called OCEANS, collected 65 bags of rubbish from the beach, and held talks from five marine and environmental experts.

They say “We all came home exhausted, but with our heads held high for contributing to the conservation of wildlife by removing rubbish from the beaches so we are proud to be faster than ever, that IF we rush towards the Oceans!”

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Pakistan: National Centre for Maritime Policy Research

The National Centre for Maritime Policy Research (NCMPR) serves as a think tank for multidisciplinary study and analysis of maritime affairs – but they used World Oceans Day as an opportunity to “to get directly involved in protecting the ocean’s future through a new mindset with personal and community involvement.” They held an educational beach walk to teach participants about their local marine ecosystem and then made promises to help protect it. Then, they held a huge Family Carnival, with help from lots of local community organizations! The Carnival featured youth performances with a message of ocean protection, music, games and contests, and more.

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Cape Town, South Africa: Plastics SA

During World Environmental Week (6-8 June 2013) the first conference to look into the issue of marine debris on the African Continent and its oceans was held at the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) conference centre in Cape Town. Hosted by Plastics SA as co-signatory of the Honolulu Commitment with other international plastic associations and supported by UNEP, the Department of Environmental Affairs, 120 delegates from various academic institutions, government departments, conservation and animal welfare organizations, media, plastics industry members and concerned citizens formed the Summit. Attendees shared many lessons and strategies, set future goals, and established a groundbreaking new Network for African Countries on Marine Debris – administered by UNEP and technologically supported by Plastics SA and its partners.


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Nokomis, USA: PURE Sarasota

PURE Sarasota meshed creativity, entertainment, and a strong message for sustainability at their World Oceans Day event. They wanted “to reach out to a crowd that already loves the beach and the ocean and provide them with ideas on how they can support and protect the ocean they love.” At least 150 people came to watch the performances and afterwards were asked to make a promise for the ocean. PURE Sarasota also invited the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program and handed out their information along with action tips from Ocean Conservancy, and Montery Bay Aquarium’s sustainable seafood and sustainable sushi cards.

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ZAM Action Events

One of our major goals this year was to encourage zoo, aquarium, and museum partners to encourage their visitors to take conservation action for the ocean. With extremely dedicated staff leading their efforts, many institutions asked their visitors to act on a variety of ocean issues – with lots learned along the way. Check out our series of articles over at The Ocean Project blog on the successes and challenges so we can improve for next year. Until then, here are photos from just a few of these events.

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The Dallas World Aquarium – Dallas, TX

wendy2The aquarium held an event geared towards younger kids, with art activities, a story time, and Ocean Promises to help prevent marine debris and plastic pollution.


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The Georgia Aquarium – Atlanta, GA

The aquarium held a huge World Oceans Day event with 5,000 attendees. It looks like a seriously exciting affair with a scavenger hunt and an ocean-knowledge spoutin’ dinosaur (seriously). The aquarium also asked for Ocean Promises and experimented with video promises, but learned people were more hesitant to speak on camera. More on that in our coming blog.

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Utah’s Hogle Zoo – Salt Lake City, UT

Hogle Zoo hosted almost 8,000 attendees at their World Oceans Day event and did an amazing job of making ocean conservation the star of the celebration. They partnered with a local recycler and grocer to do a plastic bag/reusable bag swap, had Dr. Seuss themed activities and art, handed out sustainable seafood guides, and incorporated messaging on plastics recycling into their pinniped shows. They also asked for Ocean Promises and made some interesting discoveries (to be expanded on).

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Oklahoma City Zoo – Oklahoma City, OK

This year the zoo asked visitors to change their behavior inside and outside the zoo. They made efforts to stop littering at the zoo water exhibits, and explained how common and harmful marine litter is out in nature. They also handed out Seafood Watch sustainable seafood wallet cards and reported that it was well received by guests.

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Oregon Coast Aquarium – Newport, OR


The aquarium threw a super vibrant, diverse event this year. They held Dive Presentations, where SCUBA divers shared their experience and insights about sharks and rays, while diving inside the Aquarium’s shark tunnel; a live dissection of a halibut, and presented touchable marine mammal ‘biofacts.’ We thought their marine debris ‘coral reef’ (pictured) was especially cool and interesting, and they also had success engaging younger kids coloring in an Ocean Promise and hanging it on a Community Mural.


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Riverbanks Zoo – Columbia, SC

Riverbanks did a great job of connecting with their visitors for conservation at their World Oceans Day event, with almost 6,000 in attendance. They handed out booklets at the front entrance as guests arrived, which kids could take to be stamped at activity tables around the campus. These tables focused on issues such as watersheds, water conservation, picking up litter, and Seafood Watch’s sustainable seafood cards. Afterwards, the kids could turn in their booklets for a prize!

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Highlights from World Oceans Day 2013 Celebration

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