Cory Pukini, Conservation Coordinator, WILDCOAST
As part of WILDCOAST’s work to strengthen the conservation and management of California’s more than half of a million acres of marine protected areas, or MPAs, in March 2019, they unveiled a unique and innovative MPA learning and engagement tool. Marine protected areas are areas in or near the ocean made to protect or conserve marine life and habitat while maintaining recreational access for people.
In partnership with the San Diego County MPA Collaborative and with the collaboration of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, local tribes, fishing groups, and teachers, WILDCOAST created the first MPA Outreach Toolkit for San Diego County.
The toolkit contains lesson plans and activities specific to MPAs and ocean conservation along with printed materials and educator resources that have been aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards. Each MPA toolkit is designed for all ages (K-12 and beyond) and includes both classroom and field activities.
The toolkit includes San Diego County MPA Wildlife and Recreation guides that are based on the guides WILDCOAST developed for Cabo Pulmo, Huatulco, and Isla Espiritu Santo National Parks in Mexico. The user-friendly guides offer a unique look at San Diego County and southern California MPAs with colorful maps and icons, information on recreational activities and regulations, best practices for those visiting MPAs, language about indigenous culture, locally-sourced photos, and beautifully illustrated images of local wildlife that benefit from MPAs.
Through long-term community education and engagement efforts, WILDCOAST aims to recruit the next generation of ocean stewards while strengthening compliance in MPAs so that future generations can enjoy all that California’s coast and ocean have to offer.
A series of workshops are being held to distribute the toolkits and train educators in their use. For printed copies of the MPA guides or to attend one of WILDCOAST’s MPA Outreach Toolkit workshops please contact WILDCOAST Conservation Coordinator Cory Pukini.