Price Philanthropies Ocean Science Education Fund

Bringing Ocean Science to San Diego's Students

From the moment Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography opened its doors, hands-on science education has been an important part of how we serve our community. 

In February 2015, Price Philanthropies, led by Robert and Allison Price, joined supporters of Birch Aquarium’s education programs by creating the Price Philanthropies Ocean Science Education Fund, dedicated to providing hands-on ocean science education to up to 14,000 underserved students annually in our community. To fully and permanently sustain education programs, Birch Aquarium must build an endowment of at least $8.3 million. Thanks to a generous gift of $6 million from Price Philanthropies combined with other generous donations, we are well on our way.

With these new resources, Birch Aquarium at Scripps will

  • Launch a new sixth grade “Beach Science” program, bringing students from underserved communities to the beach to learn—some of whom have lived in San Diego their whole lives and have never been to the beach.

  • Fund a Price Postdoctoral Fellow, a Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientist who will assure a constant scientific presence in the curriculum.
  • Increase access to ocean science education by delivering our Aquarium Express Outreach programs directly to the schools in our community that need it the most. 

Birch Aquarium education programs engage students through direct experience with marine life and immersion in scientific problem solving. The wonder and curiosity inspired by these activities resonate far beyond the scope of each lesson or module.  

About the new Beach Science Program

In fall 2015, Birch Aquarium started to deliver, multi-day science program to sixth grade students in underserved communities. This incredible learning experience includes a full day of science investigation at the beach, steps away from the renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography. This new program will be unlike any other science education program in our region. 

About the new Price Postdoctoral Fellow

As part of the Beach Science program, Birch Aquarium will sponsor a UC San Diego college-level course in which Scripps Oceanography undergraduate and graduate students are trained in pedagogy – the science and art of education and communication. Course participants will work with science educators to engage sixth grade students in scientific exploration and discovery.  

Scripps Oceanography students will be role models for the sixth grade students, teaching assistants for the programs, and resources for school educators. The Price Postdoctoral Fellow will coordinate the graduate student program, co-teach the college course, mentor and supervise the university students in their teaching activities, and work with Birch Aquarium educators and leadership to build relationships with teachers and administrators across San Diego school districts. 

About the Aquarium Express Outreach Program

Birch Aquarium’s Outreach Education Programs deliver programs to schools throughout San Diego County. The program serves schools in areas of the county that may not be able to travel to Birch Aquarium due to the distance or expense involved. The Price Philanthropies Ocean Science Education Fund will provide annual funding for up to 420 ocean science education programs at underserved schools in our community.

Requirements

The Aquarium Express Outreaches are classroom-based, 60-minute or 75-minute labs (depending on grade level) that come to your school. We allow a maximum of 25 students for Grades K-2 and 36 students for Grades 3-12 per lab and a minimum of 20 students. You must book a minimum of 3 labs per day to take advantage of these fully funded programs.

Schools qualifying for fully funded outreaches through the Price Philanthropies Ocean Science Education Fund must meet the following criteria:

  • School site is within San Diego County
  • School site is within 70 miles driving distance of Birch Aquarium at Scripps
  • School has Title 1 status
  • Minimum of 70% of school's students receive free and reduced lunch
  • Grade levels K-12

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To contribute to this endowment or to learn more, please contact Michele Bart at mbart@ucsd.edu or 858-534- 2999. 

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