Crystal Cove Conservancy’s STEM education programs immerse learners in real environmental research at Crystal Cove State Park. With our on-site educational programs canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we have launched new distance learning programs for school, after-school, and homeschool groups! 

Our free virtual STEM education programs engage science learners of all ages in exploring Crystal Cove’s diverse ecosystems.  As you help Crystal Cove Conservancy, Crystal Cove State Park, and UC Irvine monitor our underwater ecosystem or study the best way to restore Moro Canyon, you’ll learn about how we can use science ideas to protect our wild places.

Each program includes curriculum for guided or self-directed lessons, which is all available for free below, as well as opportunities for free virtual video field trips direct from the park.

We also offer free online workshops for educators to prepare you to deliver the program to your students!

Elementary School STEM Programs

  • Virtual Project Crystal (5th Grade): Young scientists learn about the water cycle and plant ecology as they partner with Dr. Kimball from UC Irvine to investigate the best type of mulch to use in order to help native seedlings grow.  This program also includes options for video field trips.
  • Explore at Home Investigations (2-5 Grade):  These short standalone investigations invite students and their families to use a science journal as they explore in and around their home!  Materials are provided in English and Spanish.

Middle & High School STEM Programs

  • Virtual Project Crystal Code (Middle School): How can we use technology to protect our wild spaces?  Virtual Project Crystal Code builds on ideas from Project Crystal as participants use coding and build sensors to investigate how mulch decomposes. This program also includes options for video field trips.
  • Virtual MPA Science Exploration (Middle & High School): Help us monitor the Crystal Cove State Marine Conservation Area and determine how the ecosystem there is changing!
  • Virtual Coastal Dynamics (Middle & High School): Step into the shoes of an environmental engineer as you help us understand how Crystal Cove’s beaches are changing and what we can do to protect them!
  • Environmental Challenges (Middle & High School): In each of these standalone activities, students analyze real-world data from a monitoring project in Crystal Cove State Park. Different challenges address NGSS Science & Engineering practices, including designing a model, using computational thinking, and testing and evaluating a solution.

If you are a teacher or other educator and would like to find out more about incorporating our free virtual programs into your classroom, please fill out our survey here or contact Holly Fletcher, Education Manager, by emailing

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