Santa Monica High Marine Biology
Benjamin Kay, marine scientist and Marine Biology teacher at Santa Monica High School and Santa Monica College, dedicates his life to teaching his students about aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and the anthropogenic impacts that threaten their fragile existence. Benjamin’s courses integrate rigorous curricula with inquiry-based methods, hands-on labs, field trips, expert guest speakers, and frequent civic engagement opportunities. As coach of the multi-award winning environmental science teen action group, Team Marine (www.teammarine.org), and lead advisor of the Solar Boat team, Heal the Bay Surfrider Club, Teach & Test Ocean Water Quality Monitoring Program, and Gas-to-Electric Vehicle Project, Benjamin engages youth in real research, service learning, and educational outreach activities focused on environmental sustainability. Simultaneously, students cultivate both internal and community awareness about effective solutions to modern-day challenges, such as the global plastic pollution, climate, and ocean acidification crises, and have participated in a wide array of projects including beach clean ups, protection of coastal wetlands, and testifying before and lobbying all levels of government to support clean and healthy waterways.
Benjamin is the previous winner of the 2011 Wyland Foundation Grand Prize Earth Month Teacher Hero Award and the 2011 California Green Schools Teacher Leadership Award and was recently interviewed on KNBC and KCAL/KCBS.
Native to LA, Benjamin earned his B.S. in Aquatic Biology from UCSB and then spent four years conducting marine research on the Great Barrier Reef through the University of Queensland, Centre for Marine Studies, Brisbane, Australia, where he earned his M.S. in Marine Biology. In addition to teaching, he develops curricula in Marine Biology and Environmental Sustainability (see COSEE-West website and www.curriculumhub.com), gives speeches on plastic pollution, climate change, service learning, and outreach, and channels his energy into his favorite hobbies: soccer, fishing, surfing, and diving.