Crystal Cove Conservancy’s Marine Protected Area Science Cruises Awarded Coastal Quest Grant

We are excited to announce that in May 2020, Crystal Cove Conservancy was named by the Ocean Protection Council and Coastal Quest as one of the grant recipients for the Marine Protected Area (MPA) Outreach and Education Small Grants Program! This grant program, which provides support to organizations serving underserved communities with the goal of increasing ocean stewardship, engagement, compliance, and leadership, will support the expansion of our Marine Protected Area (MPA) Science Cruise.

Since its launch in 2012, Crystal Cove Conservancy’s MPA Science Cruise has gained national acclaim for the way it brings together multiple organizations to create a one-of-a-kind STEM learning experience. The educational program, which is run in partnership with UC Irvine scientists, Crystal Cove State Park resource managers, and fishermen from Newport Landing Sportfishing, bridges the classroom and the real world as underserved students learn about the challenges facing our local marine environment and then head to sea aboard a fishing vessel to monitor the health of Crystal Cove’s State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA). Every year, over 2,600 students take part in surveying plankton, measuring water quality, and using underwater cameras to study changes to the local fish population. Back in the classroom, they work in teams to analyze their data and share their findings back with Crystal Cove State Park.

The MPA Outreach and Education Small Grants Program funding, provided by the Ocean Protection Council and Coastal Quest, is critical to helping us expand our reach to a greater population of students representing the diverse population of Orange County during this challenging time. Their investment will help us adapt the MPA Science Cruise for distance learning during the 2020-2021 school year and will support us in working with participating students and our partners at Newport Landing Sportfishing to develop and refine social media messaging focused on our local SMCA. It will also fund us to leverage our existing partnership and curriculum as a model, creating tools that will make it easier for other environmental nonprofits to start up similar MPA education programs in underserved areas of the state.

Thank you to Coastal Quest, the Ocean Protection Council, and California MPAs!

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