Education is one of the strategic pillars of the Blue Planet Foundation, which is now taking Michael Patrick O’Neill’s school programs and non-fiction marine life books to a higher level, expanding into new areas and reaching more people than ever before.
During the last 15 years, Michael has presented to more than 500,000 kids in over 600 schools in the United States. His assemblies, writing workshops and seven non-fiction marine-life books are designed to encourage children of all ages and backgrounds to become involved in reading, writing, science and conservation.
With sponsorship from partners, The Blue Planet Foundation funds these educational programs, removing the financial burden from cash-strapped schools and making them available to all, especially those serving underprivileged children.
We are also giving away books—lots of books. For every book purchased, The Blue Planet Foundation will donate one to a child whose family cannot afford to buy a copy. Our goal is ambitious: Give one million books away to children by 2025. We want to plant the seed and inspire one million emerging explorers, who will blossom to help protect a fragile planet, regardless of where they live.
Praise for Michael Patrick O’Neill’s school presentations and books over the years.
“I need to let you know that we heard so many great compliments about your presentation. Many said it was the best we have ever had. So, Thank you!”
Ms. Deb Disher, Librarian, Holdingford Elementary School, Holdingford, MN
“We all want to thank YOU for a wonderful day here at Holy Spirit. Your presentations were very engaging for all age groups, including the adults! We all now have the inspiration to be underwater photographers…what a great gift you have to be able to truly enjoy what you do for a living! Please let me know when you have new publications out or have important information on your conservation efforts. Have a great day and enjoy the beach!”
Ms. Jennifer Garnica, Librarian, Holy Spirit School, Columbus, OH
“Thank you Michael for your great presentations. Each one was age appropriate, engaging and inspiring. A review from some of our more discerning students was “awesome”. I also want to thank you for your professionalism and enthusiasm. We are all lucky that you care enough to share your message with young people.”
Ms. Tabitha Rasmussen, the PTO representative, Craneville Elementary, Dalton, MA
“Thank you so much for visiting Arrowhead Elementary. We all enjoyed your presentations! The kids will be talking about your visit for a very long time. As a librarian, you made the author visit so easy. You were great to work with. I wish you continued success and have given your name to librarians in my former district.”
Mrs. Betty Dangel, Media Specialist, Arrowhead Elementary, Powell, OH
“We loved having you…The kids are still talking about the visit.”
Ms. Sarah Aloise, Librarian, Ocean Breeze Elementary, Melbourne, FL
“Hello Michael, I’m glad that you made it home safely and hope that you have recovered from your long week in Ohio. I shared your thanks with the school, and they wished you to know how much they enjoyed the visit also. Many teachers said it was the best author visit they’ve ever attended at school. We truly appreciate your work to design the slideshow and your talk to make it so engaging. The students told me on Friday that it was awesome. We can tell that you love what you do by how incredible the photography was and the amazing shots of those hard-to-photograph animals. I will make sure to pass your info on to my Librarian friends in other districts. Your work makes a big difference in the world. We wish you continued success! Thank you!”
Ms. Heather Savage, Media Specialist, Tyler Run Elementary, Powell, OH
“We cannot thank you enough for your amazing underwater photography presentation to all of our k-6 students. Your knowledge and incorporation of the writing process educated and intrigued our children. It was a pleasure having you at Gemini, and we look forward to reading your books. Kind regards.”
Mrs. Jennifer Julian, Assistant Principal, Gemini Elementary, Melbourne, FL
“Thanks for a wonderful visit to Richboro Elementary. We had so much positive feedback. A great time was had by all! Thanks again!”
Mrs. Jill Dorfman, Media Specialist, Richboro Elementary, Richboro, PA
“Again, thanks for a great couple of days. More positive feedback is filtering in all the time – some of the kids said it was the best author visit “ever”! Hope you’re getting back in the water right away, and starting on yet another book. I’m looking forward to ordering your new one for next year.”
Ms. Anita Cosslett, Media Specialist, Avona Elementary School, Easton, PA
“Again, I want to thank you for an awesome day. The students and faculty loved your presentation. I was raving to everyone about how impressed I was with the Writer’s Workshop that you presented to our 4th graders. Have a wonderful holiday season!”
Ms. Phyllis Kay, M.Ed., Reading/Curriculum Specialist, Country Isles Elementary, Weston, FL
“WOW!!! I don’t know what else to say. Your presentations were fabulous!!!! From the moment we met, I knew that I had picked a great, personable presenter for my school. I cannot begin to thank you enough for your sincere kindness and flexibility. You made my day so easy. Thank you for being so wonderful to work with!
Many teachers spoke to me after school yesterday and at our faculty meeting this morning about you. They were very impressed with your work, especially your photographs, and your presentation skills. Many were blown away that you volunteered to hand deliver the books to the students who purchased them. Several students thanked me today for that as well. Mrs. Brown, the principal, was also very impressed and said that we should definitely have you come back again.
So with all that being said, thank you again from the bottom of my heart for positively impacting so many lives yesterday. I promise that you haven’t heard the last from me. I will keep in touch and I want to know when I can purchase a signed copy of your new book-I always have to add to my collection.
I wish you all best and have a safe flight back to Florida!
All my best”
Mrs. Stacey Polgar, 4th Grade Teacher, Williams Township Elementary School, Easton, PA
“Northeast Middle School was fortunate to have Michael Patrick O’Neill visit their students. To prepare for Michael’s visit, the entire school got involved. Michael’s books are so colorful and informative and lend themselves to learning experiences in many different content areas. The science teachers used Michael’s books to teach their students about the different fish found in the ocean, the world culture classes mapped all the different places that Michael visited, and the reading teachers made alphabet books that included the different fish and sea life in Michael’s books. To tie the whole learning experience together, the art teachers involved students from every grade level and created a mystical aquarium that spanned the first floor of our building. They used Michael’s books to as an inspiration for students to create their own under-the-sea creatures. When Michael entered the building it was like he was entering the pages of his books. Michael’s work is educational and awe-inspiring and appealed to teachers of many disciplines.
After all the preparation, both students and teachers were excited to meet Michael in person. He did not disappoint us with his visit. He was a dynamic speaker who captivated our 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students.
It was clear that he knew his target audience and he related very well to the middle school audience. He brought hands-on diving equipment that the students could see and touch. His slide show was mesmerizing and the interesting pictures from far-away places held the attention of the students. One of the best parts of the day was when Michael met with a small group of students for an informal session. They enjoyed being able to ask him questions and in this setting. He was very accommodating to all of their requests for autographs and related well to our students.
I would definitely recommend having Michael Patrick O’Neill visit your school. Not only was his presentation wonderful, but his books lend themselves to many positive learning experiences.”
Ms. Mary Rohrenbeck, Reading Specialist, Northeast Middle School, Bethlehem, PA
“The feedback I’ve received in response to your visit has been just TERRIFIC. I’ve heard nothing but superlatives regarding both the assemblies and the writers’ workshops and at this point have lost count of the number of emails and comments I’ve gotten from parents telling me that their kids “couldn’t stop talking” about your presentation and/or that their kids expressed that yours “was the best assembly we’ve ever had.” So, we can’t thank YOU enough for coming to our school. Your slide presentation, particularly for our older students, was really informative and I thought your ability to adjust your presentations for older and younger students was just pitch perfect.
And on a personal note, I want to let you know how fortunate I feel to have found the Batfish Books website. As I mentioned when you were here, there’s definitely an element of risk/uncertainty in bringing in any new assembly, and I always have a sense that I’m putting my own reputation on the line when I do so on behalf of our PTO, so I just want to thank you for the quality of your work. Your photography, accompanied by the content and context you provided, was both educational AND inspirational. So again, Michael, thank YOU for visiting us at Sea Girt Elementary and for sharing your work with us.”
Cathy Brennan, PTA, Sea Girt Elementary, Sea Girt, NJ
“Thanks so much for your stellar author visit to Cold Spring Elementary School. By and far, you are one of the most enjoyable and easy going individuals I have ever had the pleasure of working with. The staff and students were thoroughly engaged during your presentation. I appreciated the way that you had a variety of presentations depending on the age of the audience.
Your photographs are breathtaking and the students were fascinated by all the facts you shared from personal experience. The quality of your books down to the last detail are also appreciated along with the ease of ordering. I could keep on going but I think you catch my wave!
Trudi Rosencrans, Library Media Specialist, Cold Spring Elementary, Doylestown, PA
“Michael Patrick O’Neill visited our elementary school a month ago and the students are still talking about his presentation and checking out his books. His photographs were enthralling and the students (and staff) were fascinated with his presentation. Mr. O’Neill was great to work with – organized and easygoing. This was a great author visit, with a fascinating subject, and I would highly recommend him.”
Cathy Moore, Librarian, Gayman Elementary School
“Thanks so much for a spectacular Oct. 2! I have heard such rave reviews about you and how you had kids right in the palm of your hand! My youngest son at Inman Elementary was lucky enough to hear and see you and was sharing about you Friday and all through the weekend. The library media specialist shared with me that you gave permission to a student at the school to “skype” in. I think you should know that it was just like being there! The images from your powerpoint and your voice came through clearly. She was so excited!! Not only that, the rest of our schools and hosts from ESSDACK were so pleased and felt blessed to be a part of such an opportunity! Thanks again—I am so glad you gave some of our kids in Kansas a view from your eyes of what they can see in faraway places!”
Jodi Case, Early Childhood Specialist, ESSDACK, Hutchinson, KS
“We enjoyed so much your visit with us at OP Earle. It was everything I hoped. The children are still talking about it. Thank you so much for
sharing your talent.
Debbie Belue, Library Media Specialist, OP Earle Elementary School, Landrum, SC
“It was a rare and true pleasure having you share your experiences and talents with our students and teachers. I wish you all the best and look forward to reading your future books.”
Michal Nelson, Media Specialist, Centennial Elementary School, Dade City, FL
“It was pure joy to have you at my school! The new books are beautiful, and I’m so glad your business is booming. The students can’t stop talking about your visit. The books are flying off the shelves. Thank you again for everything.”
Mary Vathy, Media Specialist, Denham Oaks Elementary School, Lutz, FL
“We would like to thank you very much for making our Seventeenth Annual Authors Day so successful. Our children thoroughly enjoyed your visit! It was wonderful to have you as a guest in our school. Thank you for taking time to prepare such a special presentation for our students. Your photography is breathtaking! Thank you for agreeing to spend some quality time with a select group of our fifth graders. I am sure you could sense their interest as you spoke with them. Many thanks to you for a job well done!”
Grace Ostermann, Carol Haber-Cohen, Somers Intermediate School, Somers, NY
“I have waited far too long to thank you for a wonderful visit with our students at The Vanguard School. Many of the staff still speak of your visit. Some offered that your presentation was the “best ever” for our students. The students themselves continue to comment “Remember when Mr. O’Neill…?” or “Remember that picture of …Mr. O’Neill showed us?” My reading students now enjoy putting together two different puzzles based on your books.You made a lasting impression by going out of your way to acknowledge and praise our special needs students. They are accustomed to teachers telling them they have good ideas, but hearing it from a guest speaker (especially one so respected) has considerably more impact! You presented to Lower, Middle and High School groups at their own levels and respected the students’ curiosity and interests, and encouraged everyone to think about their actions and their environment in new ways, and left all in attendance wishing the assemblies had lasted longer…I trust this finds you in good health and spirits and I look forward to your return to our campus. Thank you for everything.”
Mary Klein, Teacher, Vanguard School, Paoli, PA
“On behalf of the teachers and students of Marlowe Elementary School, I’d like to thank you for coming April 20, 2009 for your author visit. Both children and teachers have been complementing you all week on your awesome presentation! It was both informative and entertaining. I can’t keep your books on the shelves. All our students want to check them out! Thanks again for coming to our school. I will tell my fellow media specialists about your superb program!”
Cherie Cockerham, Media Specialist, James Marlowe Elementary
“Thank you so much for the wonderful presentations you shared with the students and staff of Deer Park Elementary.The children were very excited before your actual visit and even more so once you arrived and shared your amazing books and photography skills. In fact, they are still talking about you, and we can’t keep our 17 copies of MPO books on the shelf – which is a good thing since obviously that’s the goal of a library (to circulate books!). Again, thank you for making the day so enjoyable and for being so accommodating with all of the details of your visit. Hope to talk to you soon!”
Kristi Theurer, Media Specialist, Deer Park Elementary