Crystal Cove Alliance’s unique STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education programs use authentic field science and monitoring to immerse students and the public in the practice of conservation and managing open spaces.
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. The data that students collect will be used by Crystal Cove resource managers to inform the five-year MPA adaptive review process, which is due to take place in 2017.
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 the 2015-2016 school year, CCA anticipates that the MPA Citizen Science Cruise program will grow to include 2,500 students from 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 field science stations. This innovative facility immerses visitors in the science of conservation through the Coastal Field Science school program for 5th and 7th grades, family events such as Field Science Saturdays, and ongoing public hikes and campfires.
All of CCA’s STEM educational programs connect directly to real research and monitoring being conducted in Crystal Cove State Park. CCA has worked to develop partnerships with local 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 immersive field science programs to directly contribute to the conservation of Crystal Cove State Park.
To find out more about educational programs and opportunities with Crystal Cove Alliance, please visit: