Crystal Cove Alliance’s unique STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education programs use authentic Citizen Science to immerse students and the public in the science of park management.
For the past six years, Crystal Cove Alliance has functioned as a laboratory for innovative education programs. In that time, CCA’s SNAP! (Science and Nature at the Park) programs have grown to impact over 50,000 visitors every year through facilitated programs, exhibits, and online resources and social media campaigns.
One standout program, the Marine Protected Area Citizen Science Cruise, involves junior high and high school students in important monitoring in Crystal Cove’s Marine Conservation Area. Run in partnership with our partners at Newport Landing Whale Watching, the data that students collect during the program will be used by Crystal Cove resource managers to inform the MPA adaptive review process
The MPA Citizen Science Cruise has been nationally recognized; in 2014, it was featured in a statewide environmental conference and became the focus of an episode in a PBS television series. In 2017, CCA anticipates that the MPA Citizen Science Cruise program will grow to include over 2,500 students from over 60 classrooms, including a large majority drawn from Title 1 schools.
In 2014, CCA also helped to open the Michael and Tricia Berns Environmental Study Loop, a half-mile hiking trail with eight Citizen Science field stations. This innovative facility immerses visitors in the science of restoration through both school programs and public hikes and campfires.
All of CCA’s Citizen Science educational programs connect directly to real research being conducted in Crystal Cove State Park. CCA has worked to develop partnerships with research scientists, such as those at University of California, Irvine’s Center for Environmental Biology.
These links enable K-12 students and other Park visitors who participate in Citizen Science programs to directly contribute to the conservation of Crystal Cove State Park.
To find out more about Crystal Cove Alliance’s Citizen Science education programs, please visit: