Crystal Cove Conservancy’s 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. Some programs also include opportunities to take part in field trips to Crystal Cove.

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

Elementary School STEM Programs

  • Project Crystal (5th grade): Young scientists learn about plant ecology and food webs as they partner with a UC Irvine researcher to investigate how best to help native plants grow.  This program also includes options for in-person or video field trips.
  • Explore at Home Investigations (2-5th 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.
  • Trouble with Trash (K-2nd grade): Young scientist and engineers investigate the seen and unseen impacts of trash pollution within our communities and beaches as they partner with UC Irvine researchers to learn how to protect our beaches and ecosystems. This program contains an in-person field trip.

Middle & High School STEM Programs

  • Project Crystal Code (Middle School): How can we use technology to protect our wild spaces?  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 in-person and video field trips.
  • MPA Science Exploration (Middle & High School): Help us monitor the Crystal Cove State Marine Conservation Area and determine how the ecosystem there is changing! This program also includes the option for an in-person boat cruise with our partners at Newport Landing Sportfishing.
  • 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 the Conservancy by emailing

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