Blue Whales Project Request for Proposals from Public Libraries!

BLUE WHALES Project Request for Library Proposals

Using the Spectacular Blue Whale to Spark Scientific Exploration and Local Exploration of the Natural World.

Do yooouuuuuuu speeeaaakkkk whhhhaaalllleeeee?? Application due April 21st!

Dory from "Finding Nemo" attempting to speak whale as a whale comes behind her and Marlin in the distance


Few species in the animal kingdom inspire awe and wonder like the blue whale—the largest species to ever roam the planet. Its incredible size, specialized behaviors and elusiveness make it a curiosity for scientists and schoolchildren alike. Marine biologists have spent decades trying to understand its lifestyle, and conservationists have committed their lives to bringing it back from the brink of extinction.

The work these experts do is exceptional in its own right, shedding new light on this magnificent species, the oceans, and the way biology works. But their efforts are also a window into the life of every field scientist, and an opportunity to help non-scientists—and children in particular—become explorers and protectors of the natural world wherever they live. The same techniques used by whale scientists at sea can be replicated in our own backyards, sparking interest in science, appreciation of nature, and the thrill of discovery.

With so much awe and education to offer, the blue whale is now the centerpiece of a rich STEM library initiative brought to you by HHMI Tangled Bank Studios (Backyard Wilderness, My Garden of a Thousand Bees) and the STAR Library Network, in partnership with the California Science Center, SK Films, and the new Giant Screen film BLUE WHALES: Return of the Giants.

We invite you to dive into our robust suite of materials to create engaging and educational local events that give your local communities the opportunity to learn about blue whales, and to become local science explorers themselves.


Selected libraries will receive:

  • A $1000 honorarium to help cover costs of your events.
  • A life size (25’ x 10’) blue whale tail floor mat (ideal for an entrance or a reading room)
  • A Blue Whale Project pop-up banner
  • A 3-module suite of activities that explore unique features of the blue whale (size, communication and feeding bahavior).*
  • A robust nature stewardship activity book that provides indoor and outdoor activities that promote understanding of local ecosystems and spark scientific discovery.*
  • Virtual field trip videos that showcase the lives of blue whale scientists.*
  • Clips from the giant screen film
  • Brand new AR (Augmented Reality) experience that lets users explore the true scale of the blue whale wherever they are
  • A Whale Beats interactive that lets users create music out of marine sounds*
  • Professional development webinars
  • Promotional toolkit (digital and printable) to advertise events

*English and Spanish resources available. 


Except for the honorarium, the whale tail and the pop-up banner, all materials are available for free to all libraries. To qualify for the honorarium, banner and tail, libraries must submit a creative and competitive proposal highlighting your plans and committing to:

  • Hosting at least 4 events related to the blue whales initiative (this can and should include programs about your own unique native and endemic wildlife!)
  • Partnering with at least one other local organization (nature center, aquarium, museum, girls scouts, school, etc.) to host a program or develop a library display.
  • Identifying at least one underserved demographic in your community to specifically promote project activities to.
  • Curating and promoting a science and/or nature book display at your library.
  • Participating in an evaluation survey to help us better understand the impact of our efforts and the tools you need to create successful events for your communities.

To apply, please follow this link to the brief application. All forms are due by April 21st, 2023. We look forward to your applications and to working with you on a fun and impactful outreach initiative!

The Blue Whales giant screen film and outreach initiative are funded, in part, by a grant from the National Science Foundation.


  • Your application will be submitted through the Survey Monkey platform (link).
  • The following pages contain the questions that you will encounter on the application form. We recommend that you type these in a word document ahead of time and enter all at once into the application form.
  • We have also included in a separate document the rubric with which your application will be reviewed, as well as an application FAQ. Please review these documents closely. Our intention is to provide you with all the tools necessary to write a compelling proposal.
  • A pre-application webinar will be held on April 13th, 2023 to answer questions and discuss more details of the project. Please register HERE. You will also be able to join day of.

To view the full application information and questions, please click HERE

To view the Application FAQ click HERE

To view the Application Scoring Rubric (free hints!) click HERE

The pre-application webinar recording will be posted HERE when it is complete, as will the SLIDES.

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  1. Question: What is the time frame for conducting the 4 programs? Right now, our schools are in the “testing” phase and they won’t commit to anything for the rest of the school year. They would be willing to commit if we start in the next school year but I don’t know that I can do 4 programs between September and December. Please advise. Thank you!

    1. I completed an application but I haven’t heard anything. Do you know what the timeline is, or when decisions will be made and individuals will be contacted? I never received a confirmation, after I submitted our proposal sometime mid April but I am hoping that it was received.

  2. Since I just found out about this opportunity, it won’t be possible for us to come up with a good application narrative. However, we’d love to make use of the components that are not part of the grant (whale tail, honorarium, banner). When do you expect those to be available to request?