Port of San Diego Boosts Education Program at Living Coast Discovery Center

CHULA VISTA, Ca.—Students in the Chula Vista Elementary School District will have greater access to the Living Coast Discovery Center, thanks to the Unified Port of San Diego.

The Port’s “Environmental Projects Benefitting the San Diego Bay Program” awarded $37,250 to the District over a three-year period to assist in providing transportation for students to the center’s Coastal Education Program.  Transportation costs are the largest obstacle that teachers have to overcome when they want to take their students on a study trip.

“I feel honored to have this program chosen for this vital funding,” said Karen Quiros, a CVESD science resource teacher who runs the District’s program at the center. “The experience the students get by participating in a Coastal Education Program is invaluable. Many students are bursting with excitement as they start telling me about their previous experience at the Living Coast as soon as they get off the bus. The hands-on, investigational learning makes them more knowledgeable about the living world around them and inspires them to care and become active participants in the protection of it.”

Previously in 2009, the Port’s Environmental Department awarded $23,250 over a three year period from January 2010- June 2013.  This funding made it possible for 5,400 students and over 1,000 adults from 220 different classes to attend the District’s Coastal Education Program at the Center. The CVESD Science Resource Teacher that runs the Coastal Education Program applied again for the Environmental Project funding in 2013 and was awarded it this past November. 

The Coastal Education Program comprises 17 hands-on Kindergarten-Grade 8, standards-based programs that enhance the learning of students in the content areas of life science, physical science, environmental science, social studies and earth science. There are several programs per grade level for the teachers to choose from and all are aligned with the CA State, Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards. Each year over 5,000 students from CVESD attend a Coastal Education Program.

Students from Chula Vista Learning Community Charter (CVLCC) school recently participated in a “Beautify the Bay Program” at the Living Coast Discovery Center.

Students from Chula Vista Learning Community Charter (CVLCC) recently participated in a “Beautify the Bay Program” at the Living Coast Discovery Center.

Students participate in a variety of inquiry-based science learning during the programs. They touch and observe crabs, crayfish, stingrays, tortoises and snakes, and they have up-close encounters with hawks, owls, eagles, fish, seahorses, sea jellies and sea turtles.  They hike on the trails with binoculars to discover evidence of animals and view the local beach, mudflat and upland habitats. They collect plankton and water to test in the lab and view under the microscope. Some students plant native plants to restore the upland habitat so that species of plants and animals can return to the Sweetwater Marsh community.

Since the funding was awarded in November 2013, 713 students from 24 different classes have been able to participate in a Coastal Education Program with the Port’s funding. Teachers attend an Open House where they enter a lottery to “win” free transportation. When their names are drawn from a hat, they cheer like they have won the real lottery because they know how special the opportunity they are going to be able to provide for their students is. Each year, for the next three years, 80 free round trips will be provided to CVESD students with the funding from the Port’s Environmental Department. 

About the Chula Vista Elementary School District

The Chula Vista Elementary School District is the largest K-6 grade district in the state, serving 29,300 students at 45 schools. Since 1987, CVESD has funded a full-time science resource teacher who is co-located at the Living Coast Discovery Center. This enables CVESD to provide a K-8 coastal education program fully integrated into the elementary education science curriculum through hands-on experiences supported by classroom lessons.

About the Living Coast Discovery Center

CVESD,Port,LCDC logosThe Living Coast Discovery Center is a natural treasure on San Diego Bay. Its nonprofit zoo and aquarium is uniquely situated on the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, offering visitors an ideal setting in which to explore the amazing animals and plants that call our coastal region home. With a diverse collection of animal ambassadors and hands-on, interactive exhibits, the Living Coast inspires curiosity and exploration of the living earth in guests of all ages. A new seasonal exhibit “Splash of Color”, beginning in April, celebrates the art and science of nature, inviting guests to discover animals and their fascinating use of color that help them camouflage and communicate in the wild world that surrounds us all.  Plan a day visit. Attend a day camp. Make a field trip. Volunteer your time. Discover what inspires you! The Living Coast Discovery Center, where wonder comes naturally on San Diego Bay at Chula Vista.  http://www.thelivingcoast.org

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