CCA’s New Coastal Field Science Program Launches at the Berns Environmental Study Loop!
What does it take to conserve a place like Crystal Cove State Park? This spring, over 500 local students will find out as they take part in Crystal Cove Alliance’s new Coastal Field Science school program!
Based out of the Michael & Tricia Berns Environmental Study Loop, the new field trip immerses fifth grade, seventh grade, and high school students in real restoration science at Crystal Cove’s Moro Canyon. Student research teams use university-grade scientific equipment to collect data for research projects like comparing the effectiveness of different restoration techniques by measuring how much water is available for native plants.
The data that students collect during the program are added to ongoing online data sets, which students can graph and analyze back in their classrooms. At the end of the season, the data will be shared with UCI Center for Environmental Biology researchers and Crystal Cove State Park natural resource managers, who can use it to make recommendations and decisions about how to best conserve and protect Crystal Cove.
The Coastal Field Science program is being developed in partnership with faculty and staff from UCI’s Center for Environmental Biology, who helped design several of the research projects, as well as UCI’s School of Education, who are evaluating learning outcomes and helping to develop and test classroom lesson plans with local K-12 teachers.
As well as involving hundreds of students in authentic science, the Coastal Field Science program also inspires young researchers by allowing them to actively contribute to the conservation of Crystal Cove State Park.
“My favorite part is how we’re helping the environment,” says Anthony, a fifth grade student who visited the Berns Environmental Study Loop with John S. Malcolm Elementary School in late April. “Crystal Cove is a beautiful place, but if the invasive plants take over, we won’t have any native plants left.”