Back to School at Crystal Cove State Park
It’s that time of year again! With local schools now in full swing, Crystal Cove Alliance’s K-12 educational programs will become a common sight in the Park again this month, immersing students in the practice of conservation and inspiring them to become the environmental stewards of tomorrow.
CCA’s school programs are expected to continue their incredible growth from recent years, thanks to a huge demand from teachers hungry for authentic science experiences. Last year, over 60% of the students who participated in CCA’s education programs came from underserved areas with under-resourced schools; for many, their visit to Crystal Cove was their first opportunity to experience California’s coast.
The Marine Protected Area Citizen Science Cruise, run in partnership with Newport Landing Sportfishing, has become CCA’s flagship program. During the three-hour cruise, high school and junior high students step into the role of citizen scientists as they use underwater fish cameras and other scientific equipment to collect data for ongoing monitoring projects to survey the health of Crystal Cove’s Marine Conservation Area.
This year, students taking part in the MPA Citizen Science Cruise will collectively spend over 70 days on the water, adding significantly to the Park’s growing data set.
In 2016, CCA collaborated with researchers at the University of California, Irvine to launch a new restoration citizen science program based out of the Michael & Tricia Berns Environmental Study Loop in Moro Canyon. During this program, fifth grade students collect data for a conservation research project comparing how different site treatments make more water available for native plants. During the 2016-2017 school year, the Education team will continue to scale up the fifth grade program to make it available to more classes, as well as working with teachers to develop curriculum for a new Berns Environmental Study Loop program aimed at middle school students.
CCA’s Sustain Our Students program, which gives back to donors by matching them to classrooms, was able to make many of these programs possible last year by supporting bus and boat scholarships. In return for their gift, donors at various levels received thank you cards, photos, and invitations to join the students that they were supporting on their program to see their inspirational experience first-hand.
The next round of Sustain Our Student pledges took place during CCA’s annual Soiree on October 1. Interested donors can also join the program throughout the year by visiting our website.