Birch Aquarium at ScrippsSince the institution's beginnings, Scripps has supported programs to increase the public's understanding of the oceans and to interpret scientific endeavors.
The mission of the Birch Aquarium at Scripps is to provide ocean science education, to interpret Scripps research, and to promote ocean conservation. The aquarium provides education through creative exhibits, programs, and activities designed to help people use critical thinking, and to make science relevant to their daily lives. Scripps research is interpreted through an emphasis on the interdisciplinary nature of earth studies.
The Birch Aquarium promotes conservation through education and research in the hope that with an increased understanding of the ocean, people will respect and protect the marine environment. The aquarium is developing new methods to educate teachers and students about environmental science. Teachers rely on science institutions such as Scripps for leadership and assistance in meeting mandated national and state science standards. Throughout the year, teachers who attend aquarium programs are shown how to integrate Scripps's cutting-edge research on the oceans and Earth into their classroom curricula.
One major focus of the aquarium's new education initiative, Exploring the Science of Our Oceans and Earth, is to introduce K-12 teachers and students to new developments in scientific research at Scripps. The Planet Earth Express, a specially equipped van, takes environmental education programs and live marine animals to schools. Forecasting the Future: Exploring the Evidence for Global Climate Change, written by aquarium educators and Scripps scientists, was published by the National Science Teachers Association as an innovative ocean science curriculum for K-12 classes.