In the summer and fall of 2016, WILDCOAST is carrying out an exciting project to engage San Diego County students in the conservation of the region’s marine protected areas, or MPAs. MPAs are areas off the coast of California dedicated to the protection of marine habitat and wildlife. Like parks on land, these “underwater parks” have been established so that ocean ecosystems may recover. Using Wildcoast’s Floating Laboratory, students from the Sycuan Teen Center, La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians, San Ysidro Girl Scout Troop 5912 and Imperial Beach Junior Lifeguards will be conducting real scientific research on the water to help guide MPA management decisions and enhance the ability to protect coastal and marine resources.
“It has been great to see the students get excited to apply what they are learning in science classes to the real world and at the same time be part of the monitoring and conservation of their MPA,” said Diane Castaneda, WILDCOAST’s Communications Coordinator. “Citizen Science projects like this not only help out researchers collecting data, but it builds the capacity of young people to become active marine stewards.”
Wildcoast is an international organization that works to conserve coastal and marine ecosystems and wildlife. Their MPA brochure offers a detailed map of local MPAs, as well as information on fishing regulations, marine life, and recreation opportunities, such as kayaking, snorkeling, fishing and tidepooling, available within MPAs.
For more pictures of the students in action, visit the Wildcoast blog.