Pinniped Pollution Project

The Pinniped Pollution Project (PPP) is a free program, for 4th and 5th grade classrooms from title one schools in Orange County. Content focuses on ocean pollution in the watershed and its effects on marine mammals and our environment.  The program and bussing is complimentary due to grants and donations from generous benefactors which allow us to teach between 3500 and 4000 children each year.

After touring the center to learn about the process of rescuing, rehabilitating and release of seals and sea lions, students learn how some of our everyday habits can result in animals needing treatment at our hospital. These stories are used to demonstrate the current pollution problems generated on land which run off into coastal waters, illuminating the impact our individual and collective daily habits.

Children enjoy two hands-on activities meant to inspire ocean conservation. Students interact with a watershed model to learn how trash from their neighborhoods finds its’ way to the ocean, causing potential danger to all marine life. Children also discover how single use plastics are impacting marine life and alternatives that may be chosen or advocated for which can help keep the environment healthy.

The program is free for accepted schools. Bussing costs of up to $300 are reimbursed through the program. Schools need to provide and pay for transportation upfront and then submit an invoice to: Invoices should be submitted directly after the field trip date. Invoices submitted more than three months after the field trip date will not be reimbursed.

The program runs from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm, Monday – Friday.

In order to provide data on the effectiveness of this program, students will complete a brief post-test at the end of the program.

Our 2019-2020 PPP Field Trip schedule is currently full

We are no longer accepting applications at this time. We encourage teachers to register for the program’s waitlist. If an opening becomes available we will reach out to classrooms on the waitlist to schedule a program.


The body of the program consists of three sections:

  1. Pollution sources

  2. Effects of pollutants on marine life

  3. How reducing packaging can reduce the amount of trash in the ocean

 At the conclusion of the program students will:

  1. Understand the role PMMC plays in our environmental community.

  2. Describe how pollution can harm sea life.

  3. Explain what they can do to eliminate marine pollution.

Students will be administered a post-test to gauge comprehension of pollution sources, effects, and solutions before they leave the center.

The Pinniped Pollution Project meets these Common Core State and Next Generation Science standards:

Supports Common Core State Standard: ELA-Literacy.W.4&5-1.a.b.d.

Disciplinary Core Ideas:

LS1.C: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms

LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience

ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems

ETS2: Links among Engineering, Technology, Science, and Society

Science and Engineering Practices:

Asking Questions and defining problems

Developing and using models

Crosscutting Concepts: 

Cause and Effect, Mechanism and explanation

Performance Expectations:  Students who demonstrate understanding will create strategies for minimizing amounts of non-point source pollution in their neighborhood. They will create and present persuasive photo presentations on the topic of plastic pollution.


School should submit an invoice to PMMC for busing reimbursement, up to $300. Please submit invoice to:

What People Are Saying About PPP

100% of evaluation respondents agreed that this program did an excellent job at teaching students about human impact on the watershed and ways we can reduce that impact.

This was such a great, informative program! Students were very engaged and enjoyed learning about the rescue, rehabilitation, and release program which exists near where they live. They were also able to understand how their actions make a direct impact on the environment. They can’t wait to work together and make a difference.
— Anonymous, 4/24/2019
The Pinniped Pollution Project is an excellent hands-on experience for students in Orange County. To see the impact of pollution on our local marine wildlife is very impactful for the students and I know we will continue to talk about our experience for the rest of the year. Thank you!
— Anonymous, 10/12/2018
This is my 10th year taking students to the PMMC. It really has made a difference. I ran into a parent of one of my former students. She told me that every time they go to the beach or the park, her daughter makes everyone fill a bag full of trash before they leave. Warms my heart.
— Anonymous, 11/2/2018
This field trip is amazing. It gives the students a up close visual of the effects of trash in our oceans. Fabulous staff, very informative, highly engaging lessons.
— Anonymous, 4/16/2019
This is a powerful program that presents the students with a big problem and then walks it back to simple acts that they can do. They felt ready for action!
— Anonymous, 2/20/2019