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SeaWorld fosters marine education through outreach, partnerships, community programs

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The mission of SeaWorld's Education Department is simple and clear: "Every day, we help people of all ages get excited about animals."

As a matter of fact, SeaWorld has provided nearly 8 million children with behind-the-scenes, up-close animal experiences since the early 1980s.

In addition to in-park experiences, SeaWorld shares marine-life education with the community through outreach, partnerships and many other programs designed to inspire an appreciation and respect for some of the ocean's most fascinating animals.

SeaWorld trainer Gary Faucher holds an American alligator up to a captivated audience at a library appearance.

Here is a look at just some of SeaWorld's commitments to education in the community:

Sponsored by SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Fujifilm, the Environmental Excellence Awards recognize the outstanding efforts of students and teachers who work at the grassroots level to protect and preserve the environment. In the last 10 years, $1.4 million has been awarded to more than 125 schools in 40 U.S. states/territories. One of the winners in 2006 was High Tech High, a San Diego school that partnered with Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute in a project called "Integrated Urban Ecology Study of San Diego Bay."

Each year, thousands of students and their teachers take advantage of instructional field trips, a fun and inexpensive way for school groups to learn while enjoying SeaWorld. Students from preschool through college visit the park for an educational animal presentation and self-guided investigation of SeaWorld's animal habitats. A teacher's guide including animal information and vocabulary is provided prior to the visit. SeaWorld's IFT Programs support the National Science Education Standards and California Science and Literacy Framework.

At a school appearance, SeaWorld trainer Anita Jackson and students hold a boa constrictor.

SeaWorld and Busch Gardens regularly participate in the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) National Conference on Science. Through interactive, live animal presentations, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens help excite, inspire and help teachers to bring conservation education "to life" in their classrooms. The NSTA is the largest organization in the world committed to promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning.

Celebrating 25 years in May 2007, SeaWorld's Partnerships in Education Program provides support for local partner schools in a variety of ways, including curriculum, complimentary field trips to SeaWorld and performance-based ticket incentives for students and faculty. SeaWorld also enhances science education at the schools by sending mentors and guest speakers into the classrooms.

Once a year, SeaWorld hosts Salute to Teachers, an open house for teachers all over San Diego County to come to the park and learn more about SeaWorld's education programs.

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