SNAP at the Study Loop


Braille Institute students helped CCA design innovative new citizen science programs for the new Berns Environmental Study Loop.

For a group of students from the Braille Institute of Orange County, an afternoon at Crystal
Cove successfully offered a crash course in acoustics, birding and sensory awareness. In
late July, the students embarked on an exploratory hike through the recently restored lower
Moro Canyon as part of CCA’s SNAP! (Science & Nature at the Park) Program that connects K-12 students and public audiences with current research conducted at Crystal Cove. The students were here helping CCA develop a new suite of activities for the new Berns Environmental Study Loop, opening in 2014. Their efforts will ensure future visitors can learn how to identify by their calls and help Crystal Cove State Park managers better understand how birds are repopulating Moro Canyon.

Braille Institute students were taught to identify more than a dozen birds by their calls or songs—an education that CCA hopes will inspire them to continue training on their own and one day return to Crystal Cove to teach others to identify birds by ear. Another important achievement at the study loop was the students’ successful navigation of the trail, which at a half-mile long is ADA-compliant but features a range of surfaces from gravel to dirt.

The unique program with the Braille Institute combines the use of the Berns Environmental Study Loop with mobility and sensory awareness training and,ultimately, enables visually impaired students to independently visit and enjoy Crystal Cove State Park.

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