CCA Live!CCA PARTICIPATED IN AN ALL-DAY CONFERENCE AT UCI’S BECKMAN CENTER FOCUSED ON CALIFORNIA’S MARINE PROTECTED AREAS.
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are an essential part of Crystal Cove Alliance’s work in theareas of conservation and education. On May 28, at the Beckman Center at UCI, the university hosted a conference to discuss the present status and future challenges of the Marine Life Protected Act of 1999. CCA was on hand to present its innovative approaches in educating the next generation of stewards of the California coast through the Marine Protected Area Citizen Science Cruise.
The Marine Protected Area Cruise, developed in partnership with Newport Landing Sportfishing, is an important part of the organization’s mission to involve students and teachers in the science of conservation. Through this program, an estimated 1,500 students from Southern California’s five counties have headed out on the water this year to investigate kelp forests, fish ecology, water quality and more, while at the same time collecting valuable data for scientists studying local MPAs. The cruise uses exciting and emerging technology to both engage the youth community and train them in the importance of protecting the coast.
The conference marked the debut of a brand-new working relationship between CCA and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Caltech engineers and educators developed an iPad app that allows users to collaborate live in real time by posting messages, data and video to a community interface. Caltech and CCA staff came together to bring this innovative technology to CCA’s Marine Protected Area cruise, allowing students to upload data during their trip in order to share it with land-based scientists and resource managers through the iPad community.
In fact, as CCA President Harry Helling gave his presentation at the conference, a group of junior high school students from Anaheim were on the water off the coast of the Park using digital fish cameras, plankton nets and Van Dorn bottles to collect data. They shared their findings, thoughts and questions withscientists at the conference through the iPad platform, allowing the two groups to trade ideas back and forth via comments and videos.
“You can’t talk about MPAs without also talking about future generations,” Harry explains. “As we further develop programs and determine how best to serve the community, CCA is working with Caltech to expand students’ use of technology in entering data that can be shared with other students and resource managers.”
Part of the “Towards a Sustainable 21st Century” series presented by UCI’s Newkirk Center for Science and Society, the conference also featured speakers from the California Natural Resources Agency, the Ocean Science Trust, and Caltech’s biology and biological engineering divisions.