A Living Laboratory
A Living LaboratoryFROM CITIZEN SCIENCE AND STEM PROGRAMS TO UNIVERSITY-LEVEL RESEARCH,
CCA AND UC IRVINE COME TOGETHER TO IMPROVE LOCAL EDUCATION.
Working with UC Irvine transforms Crystal Cove into a living laboratory, giving park visitors and students access to the work of local scientists who study a range of projects from invasive plants to how water moves through watersheds to viruses in the surf zone, and wind patterns and ecosystems. Because of the proximity of UC Irvine and CCA—Crystal Cove is essentially the university’s backyard—the university sees many opportunities to address the area’s health and protection.
It also brings accentuated benefits such as growth in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) literacy through citizen science programs developed jointly by the two groups, meaning an enhanced experience for students and public visitors. UC Irvine researchers frequently use the Park and Marine Research Facility (Cottage #22), as well as participate in programs like CCA’s Marine Protected Area cruises that get K-12 students involved in compiling actual research data.
“[Being at Crystal Cove is] a chance to take young people out of the classroom and put them in touch with science, biology and nature,” UC Irvine Chancellor Michael Drake told Laguna Beach Magazine in a July/August 2013 article. “It really shows them that science is fun, science is exciting, science is relevant.”