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MSI Celebrates 50 Years of Environmental Education

Marine Science Institute celebrates 50 years of environmental education!

Since 1970, MSI has shared the wonder and ecological significance of the San Francisco Bay with students and community members.

MSI was founded around a time where citizens and scientists alike were concerned about issues of water resources and the declining health of the San Francisco Bay. Robert and Carolyn Rutherford founded the Marine Ecological Institute in hopes to cultivate a responsibility for the natural environment through meaningful educational experiences out on the water.

Education Programs

Getting students outside, out of their classrooms and on the water to experience the San Francisco Bay for themselves continues to be the institute's primary activity, educating 1,360,000 people since 1970. In 1989, the Marine Ecological Institute became the Marine Science Institute to mark the organization's emergence as a leader in marine science education, and soon after, expanded education programs on land and launched programs delivered directly to students' classrooms. Education programs continue to be robust, driving active learning through the use of observation, critical thinking, and problem solving skills. From past to present, science educators understand the impact of engaging learners with nature, and is the first step towards building a future of environmentally literate citizens. Our youth will become the stewards of these outdoor spaces that we can no longer afford to take for granted. MSI continues this important work, inspiring generations of diverse audiences and students that call the Bay area their home.

Fish Data Internship Program

In 1971, the Institute began monitoring fish populations' physical and biological trends of the South San Francisco Bay, and in 1976, completed a 3-year study on the effects of pollution on estuary plant and animal life in the San Francisco Delta. MSI continues to monitor fish populations during our Discovery Voyages through the Fish Data Intern Program, inviting interns to come aboard our ship to identify, count, and measure fish caught during the education program. As a result of these efforts, comprehensive data is available to local and federal agencies to determine factors contributing to fluctuations in fish populations.

In 2018, 170 sharks were caught, tagged, and released. The largest fish caught in 2018 was a white sturgeon, measuring 6 feet in length!

What's next for Marine Science Institute?

The future vision for MSI is to build a 30,862-square foot building with a publicly accessible aquarium with increased teaching space, a community room that can be rented out for events, a boathouse, and housing for employees. The designs for the expansion were created by EHDD Architects, the same designers for other state-of-the-art educational facilities like Monterey Bay Aquarium and Exploratorium. The next step is to convince landowner, Abbott Laboratories to support this project. Marine Science Institute continues to thrive thanks to support from our community, we hope to secure a land deal to start fundraising for the new facility. To read more about these plans, check out this article from The Daily Journal.

Marine Science Institute exists as a result of the passion and dedication from our generous donors, employees, volunteers, teachers, students, and Bay area community. We hope to reconnect with our supporters, past and present, to celebrate our 50 years of work in environmental education.

Have you worked or volunteered at MSI?

Join the MSI Alumni Group on Facebook to share your stories with us!

Are you a teacher that has experienced MSI programs with your students? Email to share your testimonial!

Stay tuned for more updates and events to celebrate with us!


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