Marine Protected Area Citizen Science Cruises Take to the Sea

MD in textIf you visit Crystal Cove this month, keep an eye out on the ocean. Crystal Cove Alliance’s flagship education program, the Marine Protected Area (MPA) Citizen Science Cruise, is taking to the water in earnest this month, inviting hundreds of junior high and high school students to help scientists and resource managers monitor Crystal Cove’s underwater park.

The MPA Citizen Science Cruise program is run in partnership with Newport Landing Sportfishing in Newport Harbor. Since its inception in 2012, the program has grown quickly and is now serving more students than ever before, with 60 programs already booked for the 2015-2016 school year. Many of the participating students come from Title 1 schools, whose participation is underwritten by generous donors who contributed to CCA’s new Sustain Our Students scholarship program at last year’s Moonlight Gala.

Dolores Dang-Wright, an AP Environmental Science teacher at Dana Hills High School, is joining CCA on the water for her fourth year. She believes that the MPA Citizen Science Cruise inspires many of her students to get involved in local conservation.

“Some of them [students] get interested in not only the topics on board, but in science and learning how else they can help. Some of them have gone on to volunteer with Crystal Cove Alliance after going on the cruises,” she says. “It opens up their minds to more things that are going on out there, and more awareness of what’s protected and what’s not in their local area.”

Some CCA members will get a chance to see the MPA Citizen Science Cruise for themselves when they join us for the third annual Members’ Cruise on February 20th. The Members’ Cruise is open to all members at the Cove Steward level and above.

Visit the Sustain Our Students scholarship program homepage to learn more about becoming an S.O.S. supporter! For more information on the Members’ Cruise, contact Laura Morgan at

Top image: San Clemente High School students about to embark on the MPA Citizen Science Cruise
In-text image: Whale fluke sighting during last year’s Members’ Cruise



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