Stewardship Through Community Service

One of the primary purposes of O’Neill Sea Odyssey is to foster awareness of environmental stewardship and personal responsibility among program participants. This is done by delivering an interactive curriculum that emphasizes the connections between land and sea, and as it is a free program, each participating group is required to complete a community service project to earn their trip.

Community service is very important to us at OSO, and we are proud of the work our students have accomplished over the years. To-date, more than 3,000 service projects have been completed, often benefiting our wonderful local non-profit organizations. Some of the more common projects include:

  • School recycling programs
  • Lunch waste composting programs
  • Beach/Creek clean ups
  • Native plant restoration
  • Pollution awareness programs
  • Letter writing campaigns for environmental causes
  • Gardens for the homeless
  • Storm drain stenciling
  • School campus beautification
  • Community environmental awareness projects

Earlier this month, Bret Harrison’s 5th grade class from King City Arts Magnate participated in the OSO program and for their service project they worked with the City to custom-make and install permanent storm drain warning emblems to remind citizens that runoff eventually drains to the Pacific Ocean.


"OSO and their high-interest curriculum enables us to connect our King City kids, who live an hour upstream of Monterey Bay, to the issues surrounding watershed stewardship and conservation. When we see students at age 10 or 11 connecting their behavior in King City to the health and sustainability of our Ocean ecosystem, it’s a wonderful feeling...and the OSO experience helps us make this very real for them."

Bret Harrison, Science Teacher

King City Arts Magnate, 5th Grade



Aside from achieving their annual service goals, Mr. Harrison also works with his students to develop conservation practices in the classroom.  In a recent project, they collected, disassembled and re-purposed materials to create art...sculptures in this case.


Alanis, Jack & Amber

Two of his students were motivated to create a life-sized sculpture of Jack O'Neill out of re-purposed materials.


We are grateful for these two O’Neill Sea Odyssey Ocean Stewards who chose to honor our founding father and no doubt Jack O’Neill is equally honored and flattered.

Your program is wonderful and by far the best off-site connection we made this year! Looking forward to next year!
— Bret Harrison
Adam Steckley
Special Guest Today
Senator Bill Monning

Senator Bill Monning


O'Neill Sea Odyssey's 6th grade students from Walter Colton Middle School were accompanied by a special guest today aboard the Team O'Neill catamaran. Joining the class for an afternoon of hands-on education on Monterey Bay was Senator Bill Monning and his Chief of Staff, Jodi Fujii. The students were excited and what a treat it was for all of us to have one of our state legislators and long-time OSO supporters on deck.

Following the on-board safety instructions, OSO Executive Director, Dan Haifley, introduced Senator Monning who received a welcome greeting from the students and then proceeded to inform them that his home-base is in Monterey, where they are from. He spoke about how this particular class is helping OSO move toward the 100,000th student mark, and after a show of hands by the students for who this was their first time on a catamaran on the ocean, Senator Monning mentioned that through the O’Neill Sea Odyssey lessons, they were going to learn how to preserve the Monterey Bay and our environment.

This program is so learn about the dynamics of ocean ecology and connection to the land.
— Bill Monning, California State Senator

Senator Bill Monning was elected in November of 2012 to represent the 17th Senate District, which includes all of San Luis Obispo and Santa Cruz Counties, and portions of Monterey and Santa Clara Counties. Currently, Senator Monning is the Senate Majority Leader, as well as the chair of the Senate Committee on Legislative Ethics.

Thank you, Senator Monning, for taking the time to join our students today. We hope you enjoyed their company as much as they did yours.

Adam Steckley
Community Media Support

During week one of our campaign, we were grateful to receive positive feedback and support from not only our donors but also our local media.  OSO Executive Director, Dan Haifley, was invited to join Rosemary Chalmers on her May 1st talk show, Good Morning Monterey Bay, to discuss the Sea Odyssey program and announce our 100,000th Student Campaign.  In case you missed it, you can link to the audio replay below as well as read about the launch on the Santa Cruz Waves and Hilltromper websites.  Keep an eye out, too, for more exciting news in the upcoming issue of the GoodTimes.



Adam Steckley
Campaign LAUNCH!

Today is an exciting day, indeed. We've been anticipating Day 1 of our 100,000th Student Campaign for several months now and today, we're officially launching our new campaign website. Over the next 14 months, we'll be bringing you stories and highlights from, and about, our students, our supporters, and our shared impact. 

Not only are we kicking off our campaign today, but May 1 is also the day every year that 4th-6th grade teachers begin to apply for next school years O'Neill Sea Odyssey program through our on-line application (beginning at 10:00am). Only time will tell, but one of our teachers will ultimately be participating with OSO's 100,000th student in May or June of 2018.

As of today, though, O'Neill Sea Odyssey has served 92,765 students and in honor of them, we would like to introduce a few to you. Last week, we had the pleasure of hosting Mr. Curry's 5th grade class from Vinci Park Elementary School aboard the catamaran. Featured here from the program are Aidan, Justin, and Jasmine who sat down with our Media Intern, Olivia, to answer a few questions about their experience.

She asked them:

1. What did you learn today?

2. What was your favorite part about today?

3. How do you think the ocean is important to the environment and for people?

4. What do you want to learn more about? What are you still curious about?

We are so impressed by these three and grateful to them for taking the time to share their insight. They truly are O'Neill Sea Odyssey Ocean Stewards.

Adam Steckley

Just two days until we launch our big CAMPAIGN.  We're all very excited about this milestone and the next 14 months leading up to it, and anticipating many possibilities with this new direction of connecting with our amazing supporters.  Stay tuned and please keep in touch!

Adam Steckley