Learning and Exploring La Jolla’s Marine Protected Areas

Ourdoor Outreach students learn about tide pools, tagging and estimating sealife populations at Scripps Institiute of Oceanography.

For the effective conservation of our coastline and our marine protected areas (MPAs), community engagement is key. And it is essential that people love these special areas for that needed public support.

To help youth in San Diego County get to know and hopefully fall in love with our local MPAs, WILDCOAST partnered with Outdoor Outreach to take five students from El Cajon Valley High School to Scripps Institution of Oceanography. There the students interacted with marine species that inhabit the Matlahuayl and San Diego-Scripps MPAs and learned how to make population estimate of various marine wildlife.

Marwa, one of the students, said, “I love enjoying the ocean but also learning about it”. Tamara, another student said, “I am so glad I got the chance to learn about marine species and actually see them!”

We would like to thank SIO scientist Brice Semmens and Rachel Labbe Bellas, Outdoor Outreach and the students of El Cajon Valley High School.

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Interactive Research in the Otay Valley Regional Park

WILDCOAST is partnering with High Tech High Chula Vista, which sits within the Otay River Watershed, to carry out research on human use impact in the Otay Valley Regional Park (OVRP).  Forty-seven students from Nick Ehler’s class are gathering data on water quality in the ponds through out the park and mapping out areas of interest to build an interactive map that WILDCOAST and other organizations can use to carry out conservation objectives.


These areas of interest may be waste dump sites, potential restoration sites or homeless encampments that could be of use or concern when carrying out activities in the park.  As a very urban river parkway, the OVRP has been plagued with problems such as waste dumping and invasive species.  The beauty of the situation is that the OVRP was historically used for agriculture, gravel mining and dumping but through community and government conservation initiatives, we now have a wonderful urban river parkway that provides important habitat as well as open space for South San Diego county residents.

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