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Open Access Publications from the University of California

“Treasures of the Island of the Blue Dolphins”: Educational Tools and Outreach Techniques to Inspire the Next Generation of Marine Scientists


This project uses Scott O’Dell’s international best-selling novel “Island of the Blue Dolphins” as the central theme of an educational outreach program comprised of several integrated components. O’Dell’s story is a fictional account of an Indian girl who witnesses the decimation of her island–dwelling tribe before being left alone to fend for herself. She has only marine resources to provide for her food, shelter, tools and clothing. At first, she’s willing to kill without regard, but later chooses to take only what is needed to survive and seeks alternatives to slaying animals that become her “friends.” This is a remarkable lesson in conservation and this multi-platform program is designed to inspire students of all ages and backgrounds to pursue educations and careers focused on the preservation of marine-based cultural and natural resources. This campaign also inspires young women to pursue careers in science, policy, art and more with several intended messages of female empowerment. The components of this integrated, multi-platform program consist of: (1) A Mobile Classroom/Museum (2) An “Eco-Expedition” Truck (3) Educational and Inspirational Posters (4) A Classroom Lesson Plan (5) A Documentary Film “Short” (6) An Interactive Website (Under Construction).

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