Back in September, San Diego Coastkeeper partnered with the National Geographic Society to put on a community workshop about current ocean issues in Southern California. As a follow-up to that event, Coastkeeper facilitated a National Geographic grant program to support projects that carried the messages of the workshop to the public.
Two Coastkeeper staff members, Catie Fyfe of Birch Aquarium and Al Barret, Coastkeeper all-star volunteer, collected and reviewed proposals for many different projects throughout Southern California relating to ocean recreation and conservation. We selected five awardees whose projects relate to the workshop and also align with Coastkeeper’s mission to protect and restore fishable, swimmable, drinkable waters. This was not an easy task – I’m used to being the one applying for funds!
Grant Awardees are:
- WiLDCOAST – Education and outreach for marine protected areas (MPAs) to 200 K-12 students in the communities around south San Diego Bay.
- Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation – Educational field trips for 1,050 3rd grade students as part of the “Watersheds and Wetlands” component of The Environmental Stewardship school program.
- Santa Barbara Channelkeeper – Facilitating understanding, awareness and compliance with the provisions of new southern California MPAs through Spanish translations of existing outreach maps and materials.
- Tyler Stern and Lindsay Bonito – Implementing a La Jolla kayak industry training session for recreation professionals in the La Jolla Shores area in order to create awareness and comprehensive understanding of facts regarding the La Jolla Ecological reserve.
- USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies – Taking 20 select participants to the Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island to learn about MPAs, scuba diving, indicator species and the impact of human activity on the coastal habitat, and developing educational materials to expand outreach to the broader public.
Coastkeeper held a reception on Monday to honor awardees, which included a talk by Shannon Switzer, a National Geographic Young Explorer who uses photography to promote ocean awareness and conservation. We were honored to host Shannon and grant awardees in celebration of their hard work to protect our ocean. Keep up the good work!