Although the park remains closed, we are grateful for the opportunity to continue to work and connect with our community. Much of the Conservancy staff continues to work remotely– developing the vital education programs schools rely on, managing the ongoing conservation and habitat restoration projects throughout the park, and coordinating the continued restoration of the 17 remaining historic cottages of the North Beach Restoration Project.
Our education team has moved quickly to adapt our programs to digital platforms for distance learning. Our ecological restoration program for fifth grade students, Project Crystal, has been fully converted to a digital format, allowing teachers to run the program remotely for their students while they shelter at home. The program consists of over 20 hours of rigorous, engaging science lessons. You can explore the entire curriculum here.
Since March, more than 60 teachers from 40 schools have signed up to participate in this distance learning curriculum, impacting more than 3,000 students – nearly three-quarters from our most underserved Title 1 schools. Teachers tell us that this kind of applied, real-world science education has been the highlight of their students’ weeks– many of whom are otherwise struggling to continue to learn from home.
We continue to work with our State Parks partners to monitor and evaluate the ongoing conservation and ecological restoration projects in the park. These include tracking the park’s butterfly population to assess the success of habitat restoration in the backcountry, collecting data for an experiment to determine which type of mulch is most effective for those projects, and measuring sand deposition and erosion near the North Beach cottages.
While most of the park is quiet as people shelter at home, the construction on the North Beach project to restore the final 17 historic cottages continues uninterrupted. The current portion of the project is focused on installing the infrastructure that will support the restored cottages and is on track to finish this summer. In recent weeks, the crew has completed the debris and retaining walls behind the cottages and finished installing underground utilities. Now they’re focused on constructing the boardwalk that will run the full 650-foot length of the project, providing improved cottage and beach access.
The support of our donors, members and friends ensures our ongoing effort to provide opportunities for young people to continue to learn science at home while building bonds with protected lands like Crystal Cove State Park. Like many organizations, the Conservancy has been hit hard by the current crisis. Your support means more than ever to the students we serve, the science teachers we partner with and the beaches, bluffs and backcountry trails we protect.
Please consider making a gift today to support this important work.
We look forward to gathering again at the park soon. In the meantime, stay well, and please reach out if you have any questions. We’d love to hear from you.
With gratitude and high hopes.
President & CEO