Christine Hoekenga

Christine joined the NMNH Department of Education and Outreach in the Fall of 2009 after having served as a Museum Specialist in the Office of the Sant Chair for Marine Science. She holds a dual bachelor’s degree in media studies and environmental science from Willamette University and a master’s degree in science communication from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Christine has experience working as an environmental journalist, a freelance science writer, and a conservation organizer and advocate for nonprofits. Despite growing up in land-locked Nevada, Christine is also an avid SCUBA diver with experience conducting marine research in the field and the lab.

Learning from a Sea of Teachers

Each year, thousands of local teachers join us for Smithsonian Teachers’ Night. Credit: Smithsonian Institution On Friday, the OP Team had another great opportunity to talk face-to-face with some of the people that the Ocean...

Resolve to Protect the Ocean

A diver cares for the reef by cleaning up discarded fishing gear and garbage. Credit: Amos Nachoum 2005/Marine Photobank Happy New Year! We’ve officially hit mid-January, but there is still plenty of time to make those...

One Cubic Foot of Reef

Photographer David Liittschwager took a 12-inch metal frame to Moorea, French Polynesia, and four other disparate environments to see how much life he could find in one cubic foot. Read more about the project and ocean...

Finding Little Gems in the Sea

A collage of the wildlife found in one cubic foot on the reef near Moorea, French Polynesia. Credit: © David Liittschwager/National Geographic This month, our friends at National Geographic are featuring Smithsonian's own...

Climate Change on the Brain

A screenshot from the NOAA Climate Portal prototype. Credit: NOAA We’re only two months into 2010, and climate change is shaping up to be one of the year’s big buzz topics. Our friends at NOAA have released a prototype of...

NOAA Climate Portal

A screenshot from the NOAA Climate Portal prototype shows the Global Climate Dashboard. The portal offers news, teaching materials, data sets, and other resources related to climate change.

Teach Us

A student participates in shoreline survey in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. Credit: Kathleen Reaugh/Marine Photobank Welcome Teachers! Thank you for visiting the Ocean Portal. We hope the “OP” will be a valuable...

Cameraman with Sea Nettles

A cameraman navigates a smack of sea nettles ( Chrysaora fuscescens ) in Monterey Bay. A group of jellies is known as a "smack."

The Ocean Hits the Big Screen

It may be called Earth Day, but April 22nd is a perfect day to remind ourselves that we actually live on a planet dominated by water. In fact, with 71% of the earth’s surface covered by water, we might just as well call it Planet Ocean. This year, we’ll have a chance to explore the other three quarters of our planet on the big screen with Disney Nature’s release of Oceans , opening on Earth Day in theaters around Canada and the U.S.

On Earth Day, Think Blue.

Earth Day is a fitting occasion to celebrate the Big Blue. While our planet may be called “Earth,” 71% of its surface is actually covered by water. This vast ocean makes our planet habitable—for us and all life. It produces half the oxygen we breathe. It moderates climate, absorbs carbon from the atmosphere, furnishes food and jobs to millions of people, and provides countless other services to humankind. The ocean does so much for us. On Earth Day, surely we can return the favor. Whatever you’re planning to do today, there are actions you can take to protect the ocean.

Gulf Coast oil spill

Satellite view of the Gulf Coast oil spill off of Louisiana, April 29, 2010.

Into the Blue: Join Us for Science & Scuba Symposium

A scientific diver collects data on an underwater slate. Credit: Mike Lang/Smithsonian Institution Jacques Cousteau once said, “When you dive, you begin to feel like an angel." It’s true. When a diver dons a tank and slips...