Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation

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Key Takeaways

  • In 2021, HCF partnered with the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation to help secure funding and support the data analysis of their microplastics sampling program. The goal is to publish the findings, incorporate them into their educational programs, and work with the generators of the local waste streams to help stop pollution at the source.
  • The Blue Ocean Society is a nonprofit that specializes in research and education around marine environments. The organization hosts a number of conservation programs, including whale watches, beach cleanups, school programs, and the Blue Ocean Discovery Center, a hands-on educational center in Hampton Beach, NH.
  • For the past eight years, Blue Ocean Society has engaged community members in data collection for a microplastics sampling program. The organization had been seeking support for the analysis of this data.
  • This project is conducted in partnership with New Hampshire Sea Grant. Blue Ocean Society also receives support from NOAA's Office for Coastal Management under the Coastal Zone Management Act in conjunction with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Coastal Program.

The Challenge

Blue Ocean Society’s programs create a balance between education and research, as they empower volunteers to gather data as they take part in beach cleanups. For the last eight years, Blue Ocean Society has been using these “citizen scientists” for a microplastics sampling program along local beaches. The goal is to understand the “root cause” of plastic pollution flows to beaches in the Northeast.

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Photos provided by Blue Ocean Society

Our Approach

Over the last eight years, Blue Ocean Society has amassed a vast collection of data to be analyzed, published, and shared with its network, yet limited resources given its vast portfolio of projects. In 2021, Blue Ocean Society partnered with HCF to take the first steps in its data analysis. HCF is helping to secure funding for Blue Ocean Society’s data analysis and bringing on a dedicated statistician to analyze the data. The goal of the project is to create a peer-reviewed scientific study, and to use the findings to identify local waste streams in the area. With the power of their data behind them, this can help Blue Ocean Society to not only incorporate their own findings into their educational programs, but also to work with the generators of that waste to identify ways to stop the flow at its source.

While this is more of a “regional” approach, we believe that if this “pilot test” of engaging a local community focused organization works, it can then be used as a model for scaling. The long-term goal is to engage consumers in their communities by having conversations with top regional plastic polluters to collaboratively drive behavior change around plastics, and to protect sensitive beach habitats.


Coming soon.

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Photos provided by Blue Ocean Society

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