NEWPORT, Ore. - The Ocean Conservation and Education Alliance Northwest (OCEAN), a partnership of Oregon Sea Grant and several other coastal groups, will receive a 2009 Coastal America Partnership Award for its efforts to restore and protect the coastal environment.

This Presidential award represents the highest national recognition for multi-agency, multi-stakeholder collaborations that pool resources from many sources to accomplish coastal restoration, preservation, protection and education projects.

The award was announced by the Coastal America Partnership (, a collaborative partnership of federal agencies, state and local governments, and private organizations. The partners work together to protect, preserve, and restore our nation's coasts, accomplishing tasks that no one group could accomplish alone.

OCEAN is receiving the award for "efforts to bring together a network of innovative engage students and inspire ocean science literacy," according to Coastal America director Virginia K. Tippie.

The OCEAN partnership came about three years ago as a result of discussions among the Sea Grant Education program at Oregon State University's Hatfield Marine Science Center, the Lincoln County School District and the Oregon Coast Aquarium. The initial goal was to forge a partnership to help make local students among the most "ocean literate" in the country.

Since then, the partnership has grown to include more than a dozen local, state, federal and university agencies and organizations, and the network is expanding to encompass the entire Pacific Northwest.

The network's goals are to unite organizations with strong marine science education programs to focus on ocean science literacy both in K-12 schools and among the public at large. The partnership aims to nurture children's inherent scientific curiosity by employing the multi-disciplinary allure of the ocean to help teach science, technology, math, and engineering concepts, and to create professional development opportunities to support teachers and marine science professionals in furthering that goal.

The award will be presented at a public ceremony to be announced.

Oregon Sea Grant, founded in 1968 and based at Oregon State University, supports research, education, and public outreach to help people understand, responsibly use, and conserve ocean and coastal resources.

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Nancee Hunter, HMSC Visitor Center, 541-867-0357