World Ocean Day for Schools

How we created 100,000 young ocean advocates in less than six weeks.

Campaign Activation
Content Strategy

Registrations from over 4,100 UK schools and over 100,00 students. Facebook reach of 500,000. Emails with an average open rate of 53%. 700 hours of content viewed and a 5.5/6 rating from teachers.

“This Way was an invaluable member of the team in launching World Ocean Day for schools to enormous success. Charlotte was able to integrate and flow into the team, and also provide her expertise with minimal input. This is all a testament to her ability to understand the goals of the project, listen to the rest of the team and apply her skills with excellence.”

Stephen King, Wild Labs – World Ocean Day founder.

World Ocean Day for Schools is an annual event to celebrate all things blue and raise ocean literacy in a new generation. The theme for 2020, the initiative’s second year, focused on the connection between ocean health and human health, using this topic as a lens to explore all of the issues impacting the ocean: water pollution and the food chain through to the mental benefits of being in, on, under or near bodies of water.

The project is a joint effort between the We Are Ocean Collective which includes Wild Labs, The National Marine Aquarium, the Marine Conservation Society, WWF and the Ocean Conservation Trust.

Geared towards school children aged between reception and year eight, the first step was to rethink the format. The previous year, resources were sent to teachers who delivered ocean-themed lessons in school. But in light of Covid-19, UK schools were either closed or for key-workers only. So we needed new ways to get the message out to the same audience, without overburdening teachers, students or parents. 

The solution?

A digitally-led festival about ocean conservation.

Switching to digital meant we could design a platform that could be adapted for use in both the classroom and at home. The festival concept enabled us to create a framework for the day but gave enough leeway for viewers to ‘choose their own adventure’. Our ambition was to provide not only a fantastic experience for children but also time and energy relief for parents and teachers who might be finding distanced learning tough going.

The three stages of World Ocean Day for Schools online festival:


The learning zone provided insight into the impact of the ocean on our lives and health, as well as a close-up look at inhabitants of the deep, and the actions we need to take to protect the big blue.


Using the power of art and play, we invited children, parents and teachers to get creative and learn about the ocean in new, fun ways.


We used music and film to voice new narratives and perspectives, and to engage viewers through imagination and wonder.

“Thank you for a wonderfully informative and fun packed  day. Due to your imagination, knowledge and hard work, this has been one of the most wonderful home schooling days to date.”

A happy parent’s feedback from the post-event survey.

In all, we commissioned, sourced and curated 35 educational videos, lessons and downloadable activities. The full programme featured a variety of on and offline actions in a format where viewers could pick and mix content to suit their day or follow along in real-time.

The materials included a live rockpool ramble broadcast from the National Marine Aquarium, which was streamed on Facebook Live and YouTube; a breath workshop where students learned to breathe like a dolphin; an ocean manifesto writing workshop; live Q&As with scientists who’d been to the arctic circle, and a music montage from artists around the world singing about their ocean connection.

Also available were downloadable resources on plastic pollution, art lessons where students could create their own cuttlefish, and an interactive lesson on shark conservation.

The goal was to get our message about ocean conservation across to as many primary school children, teachers, and parents as possible by producing varied and engaging ‘sticky’ content.

We developed a content strategy to help us engage audiences leading up to the event and a multichannel marketing strategy for organic communication which included graphics, videos and co-branded partner content for use on contributors own channels. We weighted our paid advertising 60% towards parents and utilised the audience and network of the collective to increase awareness and boost signups.

The results

“The website was packed with different activities and were easily accessible. Videos were fantastic and I loved that you also had yoga too!”

Feedback from a teacher when asked what worked well.

Click here to visit the 2020 festival and to check out World Ocean Day for Schools website.