Ocean Guardian School

picture of children and teacher holding bags of trash

Ocean Guardian School grant applications for 2018-2019 are no longer being accepted. The new application form for 2019-2020 will be available on the website by April 1, 2019.

Before downloading an application form, please be sure to read the "GRANT APPLICATION GUIDELINES" below as well as the Program Guidelines and Requirements.


2018 Application Form  
Example Application -5Rs Pathway
Example Application - Restoration Pathway

Please note: The PDF application form requires Adobe Acrobat. Download a free version of Adobe Acrobat . In order to fill out and save the form, you must download the PDF document to your desktop first, then open it with Adobe Acrobat, as opposed to opening the form via your browser window.  

IMPORTANT UPDATE for CALIFORNIA PROPOSALS in the 5R PATHWAY: To those California schools that are proposing a school-based waste reduction project focusing on single-use plastic items, please note the following: An additional $500 (for a total of $4,500) may be requested for a proposed project that includes goals to reduce single use plastic items above and beyond the cafeteria/classroom activities. The proposal must communicate plans to reduce single use plastic items in at least 2 or more of the following school-based areas: PTA/parent sponsored meetings, class parties, school sporting practices and/or events, staff meetings/staff rooms, etc.


The Ocean Guardian School program funds projects focused on a current issue(s) affecting local watersheds and/or the ocean while promoting best environmental practices. Through a school- or community-based project, schools work to make a difference in the health and protection of their local watersheds, ocean and/or special ocean areas like national marine sanctuaries.

Any school (preK-12) located in the following CALIFORNIA counties: Mendocino, Humboldt, Del Norte, Marin, San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Sonoma, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura. Any school (preK-12) located in the following OREGON counties: Clatsop, Tillamook, Lincoln, Lane, Douglas, Coos and Curry. Any School (preK-12) located in the following WASHINGTON counties: Clallam, Jefferson, Grays Harbor and Pacific. Any school (preK-12) located in the following TEXAS counties: Galveston and Harris.

Grant amounts range from $1,000-$4,000 per school depending on the level of the project and funding year. A school may re-apply for funding for the same project for up to five (5) successive years. Funding amounts are: $4,000 for Years 1-3, $2,500 for Year 4, and $1,000 for Year 5. If you do not need funding, but you would like to apply to become an Ocean Guardian School, you must still complete and submit an application by May 1st.


Years 1-3

Up to $4,000/year

Year 4

Up to $2,500

Year 5

Up to $1,000


  • Schools must submit a new application for each successive year of funding and/or participation in the grant program. Continuing projects in years 4 and 5 must demonstrate how the project is being integrated within the school, with the goal of the project becoming a sustainable part of the school activities/culture/policies.  To that end, it is reasonable to request zero funding in your 4th or 5th year.
  • For current grant recipients who are applying for new funding for a continued project, please include a progress report of your current project with your new application. This information should include the following:
    • Brief outline of your current  project’s budget report to date (what funds you have spent to-date, what funds will be spent by the end of the school year);
    • Brief outline of your current project’s accomplishments to date (e.g., outreach activities, measurable data, etc.)
  • A school may apply to the Ocean Guardian School program without request for funding.  In this case, the school must submit an application by the official deadline and fulfill all program requirements to be evaluated for official Ocean Guardian School recognition.


Step 1: Download and save the application form to your computer.

Step 2: Complete (and save) the application form.

Step 3: Print 2 copies (double-sided preferred) of your completed application form. Remember to keep an extra copy for your files. Mail both copies to the appropriate address below:

NOAA's Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary
Attn: Ocean Guardian School Program
115 East Railroad Avenue, Suite #301
Port Angeles, WA 98362

TEXAS Schools
NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office
Attn: Amy Clark (Ocean Guardian School Program)
1021 Balch Boulevard, Suite 1003
Stennis Space Center, MS 39529

ALL OTHER Schools:
NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
Attn: Ocean Guardian School Program
99 Pacific Street, Building 455-A
Monterey, CA 93940


ALL grant applications are due by 5 pm Pacific Time on May 1 (for projects to begin at the start of the following academic year). Funding decisions will be made by early June. A proposed project period must run for the full academic year.

Applications must be postmarked or provided to a delivery service by 5:00 pm Pacific Time on May 1. Use of a delivery service must be documented with a receipt. NO fax applications will be accepted.


  1. A specific school- or community-based project that addresses a current issue(s) affecting local watersheds and/or the ocean.
  2. The number of classes and grades directly involved in the project.
  3. How the project will make a difference in the school and/or local community.
  4. The outreach plan for communicating the project to both the school and local community.

Before completing the application form, please review the program guidelines and requirements.

NOTE: A school is not an Ocean Guardian School until the end of the project year after all program requirements have been completed. If all the program requirements have been successfully fulfilled, a school will be officially recognized as a NOAA Ocean Guardian School, and will receive the official Ocean Guardian School banner. A school will receive a different banner for each year they are recognized as an Ocean Guardian School.

For more information, contact Naomi Pollack