In the News


In the News


With Recent Rains, Ocean Institute Scientists Test Water Quality
By Lillian Boyd, Dana Point Times

With recent heavy rainfall in Dana Point, water quality scientists at Ocean Institute want citizens to ask themselves how pollution might impact our ocean water.


Day Tripping Down To Dana Point Harbor
By Greg Aragon

Dana Point Harbor features tall ships, a marine institute, whale watching and tide pools. – Photo by Greg Aragon / Beacon Media News

For Richard Henry Dana, it was the culmination of an epic and grueling two-year voyage from Boston to California. For me it was a day trip in a rental car. Either way you slice it, Dana Point Harbor makes a great getaway.


Top female scientists will mentor middle and high school students through research projects in marine ecology, oceanography, and conservation

DANA POINT (January 5, 2019)– Registration is now open for the Girls in Ocean Science Conferences presented by Ocean Institute in Dana Point. This one-day event will take place on separate occasions for middle and high school students. Middle school students will attend the conference on Saturday, February 16th and high school students will attend the conference on Saturday, March 16th. Each session will include hands-on workshops and a chance to conduct research in labs and at sea aboard the Ocean Institute’s research vessel, the Sea Explorer.


Ocean Institute’s VP of Education, Wendy Marshall, Named In Top 100 Orange County Influencers

By Todd Harmonson | Orange County Register

Orange County is loaded with influencers, from people who are determined to end homelessness to billionaire philanthropists and perhaps the best two-way baseball player since Babe Ruth. The Orange County Register again has selected the 100 Most Influential People in Orange County, and some of the choices will be exactly who you’d expect. Others, however, will surprise and maybe even delight.


Critical Mass Radio Show: President & CEO, Dan Pingaro
Richard Franzi

Since 1977, Ocean Institute has been educating the community in in- depth marine science, maritime history, and outdoor education programs. As a non-profit, they strive to maximize immersion, spark curiosity, and inspire a deep commitment to learning. President & CEO Dan Pingaro joined us to tell us more.


Ocean Institute Granted $1 Million for Shark Program
By Dana Point Times

Thanks to funding from the Sahm Family Foundation, the Ocean Institute will be rolling out a shark education program for visiting students. According to a press release, the institute will renovate an existing waterfront building to feature a Horn shark touch tank, a shark nursery, and interactive exhibits and artifacts pertaining to sharks. The Sahm Marine Education Center aims to promote science, technology, engineering and math principles through educational experiences for students, teachers, parents and the general public.


$1 million grant will fund creation of live shark exhibit at Ocean Institute
By Erika I. Ritchie, Orange County Register

DANA POINT — Horn sharks may not be as well known as great whites, but a living horn shark exhibit planned for the Ocean Institute will help provide greater understanding of both species — and of all sharks in general.

Wendy Marshall, who leads the Dana Point institute’s education programs, sees the exhibit — funded entirely through a $1 million donation from the Rancho Santa Fe-based Sahm Family Foundation — as an opportunity to flip the conversation about sharks from fear to curiosity.


Ocean Institute Launches Campaign to Re-energize The Spirit of Dana point
By Daniel Ritz; Dana Point Times

After receiving a California Cultural and Historical Endowment grant, the Ocean Institute recently launched a campaign to raise funds to match that grant in order for the Spirit of Dana Point to receive a new engine. Generally, grants such as these are offered to capital investment projects.


R/V Sea Explorer Capt. Mike Bursk: ‘Gray whales rival Flipper in crowd appeal’
By Erika I. Ritchie; Orange County Register

DANA POINT  — Marine biologist Mike Bursk spent 111 consecutive days living on the shores of the San Ignacio Lagoons in western Baja, Mexico, as a young researcher learning about gray whales.

Now, decades later as captain for the Ocean Institute’s R/V Sea Explorer, Bursk, 60, uses his expertise and research to teach Orange County students about whales and the ocean environment.


Ocean Institute’s Capt. Mike Bursk will talk about the migration of gray whales headed to Baja
By Erika I. Ritchie; Orange County Register

Capt. Mike Bursk of the Ocean Institute’s R/V Sea Explorer will speak about gray whales during a speaker series hosted by the American Cetacean Society- Orange County on Thursday, Jan. 25. Bursk has been the captain of the R/V Sea Explorer for more than 15 years.

Thousands of gray whales are on their annual migration right now. Local whale-watch charters begin tracking gray whales Nov. 1.


Register for the Girls in Ocean Sciences Conference at Dana Point’s Ocean Institute
By Erika I. Ritchie; Orange County Register

Registration is open now for middle school students who want take part in the upcoming Girls in Ocean Sciences Conference planned for Feb. 24 at the Ocean Institute.

The conference is meant to inspire young women to pursue degrees and careers in the sciences.


Tempo of the Tides: On the Ocean
by Julianne E. Steers, Marine Biologist and Director of Husbandry

As we welcome winter along the Southern California coast, we also welcome extraordinarily low tides. Anyone who has spent time along our beaches is certain to notice that the water level of the ocean does not stay the same all day long. The percussion of waves lapping upon the shore is consistent, though water levels change as the day passes. Water rises for several hours and then recedes. This rise and fall of the ocean is known as the tide. A tidal tempo is at the heart of the concert of the sea.


‘Lady Washington,’ ‘Hawaiian Chieftain’ to Spend Holiday Season at Ocean Institute
By Daniel Ritz; Editor, Dana Point Times

Two of the West Coast’s most prolific tall ships, the Hawaiian Chieftain and the Lady Washington, will be hosted at the Ocean Institute for a month-long series of educational tours and cannon battles.

The Hawaiian Chieftain will arrive in Dana Point on Tuesday, Dec. 26. Grays Harbor Historical Seaport acquired the Hawaiian Chieftain from these private owners and sailed her through the Panama Canal to return it to the Pacific.


OC GRIP Rewards 45 At-Risk Elementary School Students with Visit to Ocean Institute

The Orange County Gang Reduction Intervention Partnership (OC GRIP), Ocean Institute and their partners, rewarded 45 local at-risk elementary school students with a visit to the Ocean Institute in Dana Point as an incentive for positive behavior, perfect attendance and staying out of gangs. To earn this reward, the students met a challenge to have no unexcused absences, criminal activity or arrests, violence or weapons on campus, and gang-related clothing, writing or behavior.


Open Ocean Education Ocean Institute revitalizes whale watching program through education
By Daniel Ritz, Editor, Dana Point Times

Standing on the stern of the 71-foot-long R/V Sea Explorer, Captain Mike Bursk launches into what he calls his “whale talk” for whale watching patrons aboard before setting off to sea from the Ocean Institute’s dock.

Bursk explained that the grey whales commonly seen along the coast of Dana Point remain relatively close to shore as they travel between their northern feeding grounds in the Artic to their mating grounds in the southern Baja peninsula.


Dana Point Local Creates Ocean Awareness Run In Washington D.C.
By Daniel Ritz, Editor, Dana Point Times

Jack Anderson, an employee of the Ocean Institute in Dana Point and a college senior at the University of California-Irvine, has begun a multi-faceted fundraiser called the Ocean Awareness Run to take place on Saturday, Dec. 2 in Washington D.C.


Shiny New Shells: On the Ocean
By Julianne E. Steers; Marine Biologist and Director of Husbandry

As the summer progressed, an abundance of crimson tails and shells populated the shoreline.  Exactly like a teenager’s room full of clothes cast aside that were not fit for the first day of school. That right folks, it’s fall here in Southern California. New school year. New school clothes. Even our local, California spiny lobsters (Panulirus interruptus) get ready for picture day in the fall.  While we have been enjoying the surf and working on our tans these past few months, our native inhabitants just beneath the waves have been working on their shiny new shells too.


Let’s Keep People Excited About the Sky
By Nathan Taxel; California AEOE Fall 2017 Newsletter

On Monday August 21st, 2017, the United States experienced its first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse since 1918. This 90-minute event crossed 14 states from Oregon to South Carolina and captured the attention of the entire country. People travelled to the path of totality in unprecedented numbers and across the nation people joined together to view this spectacular event. The unprecedented level of interest and enthusiasm for the eclipse was fueled by heavy media coverage in the days and weeks leading up to it and for a moment the nation was focused on science!


PHOTOS: Ocean Institute Holds 33rd Annual Tall Ships Festival
Photos and Text by Kristina Pritchett

Mermaids, pirates and tall ships were the theme of the weekend when the Tall Ships Festival sailed into the Dana Point Harbor at the Ocean Institute.

The Ocean Institute’s 33rd annual festival featured a mermaid breakfast, pirate lessons, tall ship tours, reenactments, and of course, the mock cannon battles from Sept. 9-10.

The event kicked off with a Sails ‘N Ales party and the sunset parade of sails on Friday, Sept. 8.

Article Nathan Taxel

On the Ocean: The Upcoming Solar Eclipse
View from the Maddie James Seaside Learning Center

On Monday Aug. 21, 2017, the United States will experience its first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse since 1918.  This 90-minute event will cover 14 states from Oregon to South Carolina.

Article Brendan Cook

Oceanographic ROV Inspiring Students to Become Future Marine Scientists
Inspiring future marine biologists with hands-on experience piloting an oceanographic ROV at the Ocean Institute.

It’s important to inspire the young generation to become marine scientists; perhaps using an oceanographic ROV will do just that. The future of the environment is in their hands. The Ocean Institute in Dana Point, CA knows this and is taking the initiative to encourage students to ask questions and be involved in the many fields of marine studies.

Take a moment and learn how one organization is currently developing stewards of our oceans.

Article Orange County Register

Ocean Institute Earth Day

Click here for the full Orange County Register article about the Ocean Institute’s 2016 Earth Day Event.

Article Orange County Register

Gifts from El Niño

Click here for the full Orange County Register article about the “Gifts from El Niño.”

Article Orange County Register

Girls Rule at Ocean Science Conference

Click here for the full Orange County Register article about the Girls in Ocean Science Teen Conference.


Ocean Institute wins 5 Best of Dana Point Awards

2015 Dana Point Times – Best of Dana Point

Click here to see the issue:

Best Store to Buy Gifts for Kids – GOLD (page 18)

Best Store to Buy Gifts for Adults – SILVER (page 19)

Best Local Nonprofit Organization – SILVER (page 31)

Best Annual Event:  Tall Ships Festival – SILVER (page 32)

Best Wedding / Special Event Venue – GOLD (page 34)