Program Overview

O’Neill Sea Odyssey (OSO) was founded in 1996 by wetsuit innovator and surfer Jack O’Neill. A living classroom was created on board the 65-foot Team O’Neill catamaran sailing the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary where 4th – 6th grade students receive hands-on lessons about the marine habitat and the importance of the relationship between the living sea and the environment. The program is conducted on board the catamaran with follow-up lessons at the shore-side Jack O’Neill and Harry Hind Education Center at the Santa Cruz Harbor. It is free of charge, but students earn their way into the program by performing a project  to benefit their community.

OSO also provides online resources for teachers and students that can be used to create a sustained oceanography program with components both inside and outside the classroom.

The OSO curriculum includes three learning stations: Marine Biology, Marine Ecology and Navigation. At each station the students record data pertaining to the subject matter of the station.

Marine Biology:
The Marine Biology lesson includes the life cycles of plankton, their role in the food web and the unique chemical and physical balance that helps maintain life in the sea. Students participate in a plankton tow and the specimen is taken back to the education center for further examination. View data

Students will learn information about the Monterey Bay Sanctuary’s marine life and habitats by experiencing them first hand from the bow of the catamaran. Discussion includes the kelp forest, marine mammals, human influence on our marine habitat and ecosystems, threats to the bay, and ideas for conservation and preservation. A water sample is taken to learn about pH. Students record the number of otters viewed during the trip. View data

Hand held magnetic compasses, GPS, Radar and nautical charts are used to teach OSO students both modern and traditional forms of navigation. Students use hand-held compasses to take bearings on local landmarks and triangulate their position on a nautical chart. This information is recorded on a datasheet along with readings of wind speed, weather, depth and GPS coordinates. View data

You may download OSO’s curriculum booklet here.

OSO also serves special needs students through a program sponsored by the Adam Webster Memorial Fund.

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