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From classroom presentations to hands-on field trips, our education programs offer a range of opportunities for students to learn about water, ecology, and environmental stewardship. Through engaging activities and dynamic lessons, students gain a comprehensive understanding of how their actions can impact the environment and what they can do to make positive changes.

Our program has grown exponentially in recent years. In this past school year alone, we visited 34 schools all across Orange County to conduct a total of 99 lessons and assemblies.

Beyond the classroom, we led students on 76 field trips throughout last school year, exploring places like Upper Newport Bay, Pacific Marine Mammal Center, Silverado Creek, and San Onofre State Park, to name a few.

Our education team manages three main programs that all have unique learning goals. Our largest program, W.H.A.L.E.S. (Watershed Heroes – Actions Linking Education to Stewardship), teaches high school and middle school students how to explore, understand, and protect their watersheds. Learning opportunities include performing water quality tests of local waterways, conducting Marine Life Inventories at the Back Bay Science Center, and exploring tide pools.

For elementary students, we offer two different programs that both stress the importance of keeping our coasts free of pollution. Kids Care is a two-part program for 3rd to 5th-grade students that includes an assembly on marine debris and a beach cleanup field trip.

Our other elementary-age program is the iconic, annual call-to-action for our oceans known as Kids Ocean Day! Through a series of assemblies, a massive beach cleanup, and an aerial art display, elementary students experiencing barriers to coastal access are equipped with tools to incite positive change in their communities.

For this year’s Kids Ocean Day, we brought 1,215 students to Huntington State Beach to form the message “Give Us A Chance.” For about 10% of these students, this event was their first time ever at the beach.

Between our three education programs, we were able to engage 3,504 Orange County students during the last school year!

All these programs are offered to Orange County students at little to no cost to their schools. Thanks to grants and the support of our community, we can typically cover 100% of transportation costs, substitute teacher fees, supplies, entrance fees, and all other associated expenses.

As we prepare for another busy school year, your support can help us connect more Orange County students to their watersheds. Here’s how your donation can help our education programs:

  • $10 covers a single student’s admission to outdoor educational spaces like the Pacific Marine Mammal Center and Bolsa Chica Wetlands
  • $50 covers the field trip costs of one student for activities such as tide pooling in Laguna Beach, hiking in the Santa Ana mountains, and ecological research at the Back Bay Science Center in Upper Newport Bay
  • $100 provides an in-class lesson for one class or an interactive assembly for one grade
  • $250 pays a substitute teacher to supervise the non-participating students on field trip days
  • $500 funds a school bus of up to 50 students to explore their watershed

Studies have shown that children with experiences in nature are more likely to advocate for nature as an adult. With your support, we can continue shaping Orange County’s next generation of environmental leaders. Please consider donating to our education program using the button below.

Please select “Education” when asked what program you’d like your donation to support.