Crystal Cove State Park has a New PORTS Interpreter

Crystal Cove State Park proudly welcomes Francesca Henderson as the new PORTS (Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students) Interpreter. Francesca joins a small but extraordinary interpretive team following the promotion of Jennifer Langer, who is now the PORTS Program Coordinator for the South Coast District.

Living along the Southern California coast for much of her life, Francesca cultivated a passion for marine science from a very young age, culminating with her degree from UC San Diego in Environmental Systems, with a concentration in Ecology, Behavior & Evolution. It was during a 4 year stint as a beach lifeguard for the city of San Diego that she discovered her true calling.

“It [life guarding] was my first experience with kids and teaching them about safety and the marine ecosystem,” she says. “The transition from the hard sciences to communicating with the public made me want to do more education and outreach.

Using videoconferencing tools and a mobile “edu-gator” (an off-road ATV designed to bring the classroom into the natural environment), Francesca is poised to connect over 7,500 students from all over the country to Crystal Cove’s unique ecosystem.

“There is a big story to tell here,” she says. “To have a watershed, the backcountry, a coastal environment and a Marine Protected Area all in one park is pretty amazing.”

When asked what she is most excited for with this new opportunity, it’s simple—working with the students.

“Every day it will be something different, you don’t know what they’re going to say or ask next,” she says. “This is exactly where I want to be.”

For more information on the Park’s Tide Pool Ecology PORTS program or to schedule your class, please visit the Crystal Cove State Park PORTS page.

Top image: Francesca with the PORTS edu-gator!


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