WILDCOAST engaged 150 students, including members of the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation and the Pauma and La Jolla Bands of Lisueño Indians, through its Floating Laboratory Project.
The project provides students from underserved and tribal communities an opportunity to conduct citizen science research aboard a commercial fishing vessel within two of San Diego County’s marine protected areas (MPAs). The students collected data on water quality, fish density and diversity, plankton density and diversity and human use.
"This year WILDCOAST is engaging students from San Diego County tribes and other underserved communities as stewards of the region's marine protected areas,” Said WILDCOAST Conservation Director Zachary Plopper. “Through WILDCOAST's Floating Laboratory and Explore the Coast projects, the students are learning firsthand in the field about MPAs and marine ecology and are being trained as citizen scientists to collect data used for MPA management."
This project has continued into 2017, engaging more and more students through 20 project cycles, which also include classroom presentations regarding MPAs, conservation and marine ecology. This project greatly increases WILDCOAST’s youth engagement and education capacity and builds support for the conservation of San Diego County’s critical MPAs.