Supplement your classroom or program with an educational Mermaid presentation and challenge. 

The Mermaid Challenge educates young people about the impact plastic pollution has on the health of our ocean and specifically the coastal waters. Our program challenges young people to make a change in their home, at school, or within their community for a set period of time (typically 1 month) that helps reduce plastic pollution. We challenge them to get creative in their expression of their solutions through art, film, poetry, etc. Completed projects are rewarded with ocean kayak adventures sponsored by Channel Islands Outfitters.

The Mermaid Challenge changed my goals in life. I am now seriously considering a degree in Marine Biology rather than Psychology.
— Student, UCSB

Mermaid Challenge Objectives

  • Assessments are given before and after to evaluate students’ understanding of the marine ecosystem and coastal issues. The results are entered into the electronic database to track and analyze our impact.
  • Projects are graded on a rubric; assessing all major aspects of the project, impact on the community and adherence to the science standards.
  • Mermaids conduct interviews with students and teachers to evaluate the experience and make changes based on that feedback.


Mermaids present a Slideshow that outlines the problem of plastic pollution in the oceans of the world. The presentation includes a PSA and powerpoint that highlights the abusive impact of single-use plastic on the environment. Save the Mermaids uses fantasy to help play on children’s natural inkling towards the use of their imagination and creativity. It sheds light on the disaster known as the “Great Pacific Trash Gyre.”  The presentation includes interactive facts about ocean currents and how plastic trash can travel from streams in California and be carried out to these masses of trash in the middle of the ocean. The presentation also explains the difference between biodegradable and non-biodegradable items, like plastic that photo-degrades into smaller pieces and which then are mistaken as food by marine species.

Mermaids include simple interesting facts that inspire and connect students’ own lives to the plastic usage in the world. We show ways each youth can cut down their daily waste by bringing their own reusable lunch containers, bags, and bottles.


    Each Student is given the responsibility to complete the following for the challenge:

  • Perform a beach clean-up with Save the Mermaids.

  • Practice Environmental Awareness

  • Create a “Make a Difference” project about plastic pollution.

  • Share their projects in a formal presentation to Save the Mermaids, as well as via creative media and communication in their local and online communities (film, photo, slideshow, etc.)

Project requirements:

  • Students share what they learn; students are free to express this information in any creative medium they choose. Examples: Write a 1 page explaining what you did, bring a photo, poster, show a film, sculpture, or read a poem.

  • Explain specific project in a 1-2 minute presentation to Save the Mermaids on final day per student or group.

Take the Challenge

After the presentation each student is asked if they would like to take The Mermaid Challenge. The challenge instigates group projects that have a positive impact on the ocean environment; these projects are created to make a difference in three areas: (1) School (ie. asking for sports programs to eliminate single-use cups, proposing ways the cafeteria can become more eco-friendly, spreading awareness about ocean health with art projects and social media), (2) Community (ie. organizing local clean-ups, encouraging local businesses to follow sustainable practices, displaying informative art projects), (3) Personal Life (ie. using reusable bottles, packing tupperware instead of plastic bags, encouraging family to adopt more sustainable practices). The challenge also includes one action item where students have to meet with Save the Mermaids and perform a beach cleanup or river cleanup in the Santa Barbara area.

We encourage students to express what they learn in any form they choose. We have received reports, art projects, film, photos, independent community cleanup initiatives, and even poetry!

The Reward

After the completion of the challenge, Save the Mermaids brings classrooms out onto the ocean in the Santa Barbara harbor to reward the students for their thoughtful work and by giving them a real experience in the ocean environment. This typically solidifies their appreciation for the complex marine ecosystem and their new found commitment to ocean health.

Depending on funding received for the Challenge itself Mermaids will bring the students to the Channel Islands.