Crystal Cove Conservancy’s mission has three interrelated components which work together to leverage all the assets of the park to move our initiatives forward.
A commitment to preservation is core to The Conservancy’s mission. To date, twenty-nine of the original forty-six historic cottages in Crystal Cove’s Historic District have been restored to the period of historical significance, the 1935-1955 era in every detail with some cottages boasting original furnishings and fixtures donated by former Covites. These cottages serve as affordable overnight beach rentals, guest services, education and interpretive centers, food service and park operations. Today the Historic District is alive with California’s historic beach culture.
The first phase of restoration completed 22 of the Cove’s 46 historic cottages and was complete in June 2006 with a price tag of $15.3 million. When the cottages and the Park and Marine Research Facility in Cottage #22 opened to the public on June 26, 2006, former Covites, State Parks, and community members alike celebrated the unlikely preservation of the land and marveled at the remarkable way the cottages had been lovingly restored to the mid-century in every detail. Since then, seven more cottages and supporting infrastructures have been restored at a cost of $6.7 million. This included 2 more overnight rentals, the Education Commons, The Beaches Film & Media Center in Cottage #13, and the historic garages, adding more education and interpretive elements to the overnight rental program and further deepening our commitment to fulfilling the mission of preserving this magical place.
To date, The Conservancy has worked with California State Parks and many supporters, funders and government agencies to raise $22 million dollars to preserve 29 of the 46 historic cottages and all necessary infrastructure through this unique public-private partnership.
Crystal Cove State Park Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the last intact example of early vernacular architecture. It received the 2007 Governer’s Award for Historic Preservation and is now one of California’s newest Historical Landmarks.
The Conservancy supports Crystal Cove State Park’s broader conservation efforts by working collaboratively to help fund and execute the park’s conservation goals, helping to protect Crystal Cove’s 2,400 acres of pristine coastal habitat, 3.2 miles of undeveloped beach and tidepools, and 1,100 acres in the offshore Marine Conservation Area.
Our approach to conservation is to work in partnership with universities, other nonprofits, funders, and government agencies to raise funds to support habitat restoration work, engage the public and school groups in citizen science monitoring, and to leverage relationship with university scientists to develop replicable projects that protect important habitats and landscapes in the park. The Conservancy has helped create the collaborative inter-agency Backcountry Council, helped establish the Crystal Cove State Marine Conservation Area and its ongoing monitoring for a five-year adaptive review period, assisted with the development and funding of an invasives removal program, and helped leverage funds for other important conservation projects.
The Conservancy’s unique STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education programs use community research projects to immerse students and the public in becoming good stewards of our environment. The Conservancy is uniquely positioned as a frontline laboratory for climate change, sea level rise and coastal erosion, creating an outdoor classroom for students to explore the effects of our changing climate in real world conditions.
Not only does Crystal Cove offer a one-of-a-kind outdoor classroom and a field science research lab, but The Conservancy holds as one of its top priorities to make this unique experience available to the most under-resourced schools and most underserved students. By providing scholarship funding to cover busing costs and costs for substitute teachers, and NGSS-aligned lesson plans that bracket the field trip experience, The Conservancy makes its programming available to those who need it most.
The Conservancy’s education programs leverage all of the park’s resources to educate and inspire learning opportunities including on-the-water programs in the Marine Protected Area which measure water quality, monitor fish populations and check the health of the kelp forest; backcountry programs at the Michael & Tricia Berns Environmental Study Loop; beach and tidepool programs which immerse students in studying changes to delicate coastal habitats and the creatures which depend on them; and flexibly-scheduled space in the Park and Marine Research Facility to support natural and cultural research initiatives as well as coastal dynamics, marine ecosystems and tidepool ecology.