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Environmental Education & Community Outreach

  • Support for numerous diverse environmental education programs
  • Over 500,000 students reached
  • Numerous volunteer efforts
  • Fellowships and Internships
Environment clean up event on the Port of San Diego Tidelands

An Environmental Champion for the San Diego Bay and surrounding tidelands 

The Port engages in several pro-active education and outreach efforts including support of numerous environmental education programs, annual restoration and cleanup events, and community outreach and awareness campaigns that address environmental pollution and natural resources connected with San Diego Bay and its watershed. 

Environmental Education Program

The Port’s award-winning Environmental Education Program (EEP) was developed as a proactive way to educate students, teachers and community members about pollution prevention, environmental championship, healthy ecosystems, and natural resources connected with the San Diego Bay. Through annual funding, the EEP supports local organizations that provide innovative environmental education curriculum to schools and communities within the San Diego Bay watershed. The EEP also supports education and outreach requirements established by the Municipal Stormwater Permit as outlined in the Port’s Jurisdictional Runoff Management Program (JRMP).

Since 2003, the EEP has provided environmental education to approximately 500,000 students in schools throughout the San Diego Bay watershed, regularly reaching students attending Title I schools. Organizations supported under the EEP have provided a diverse range of educational content through field activities, classroom exercises, laboratory experiments, informative field trips, and engaging online curriculum. Through participation in EEP programs, students and the general public have learned about the value and diversity of natural resources connected to their watersheds, the importance of pollution prevention and watershed protection, and how to be environmental stewards moving forward. 

The Port is currently supporting the following programs under the EEP:

Chula Vista Elementary School District Coastal Education Program

Through its partnership with the Living Coast Discovery Center (LCDC), the Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD) Coastal Education Program provides standards-based lessons and curriculum focusing on environmental protection and conservation themes, including pollution prevention, stormwater management, watershed protection, habitat restoration, and endangered and sensitive species connected to San Diego Bay. Working closely with LCDC, CVESD provided access and transportation for this program.

I Love A Clean San Diego - Connecting Kids and Communities to Conservation 

Through its Connecting Kids and Communities to Conservation program, I Love a Clean San Diego (ILACSD) provides environmental protection and pollution prevention education to  students throughout the San Diego Bay watershed. ILACSD used interactive presentations to discuss the importance of water and watersheds, key pollutants, and their effects, and how students can become environmental stewards to prevent pollution in local waterways.

Living Coast Discovery Center - Watershed Discovery: Connecting and Protecting San Diego Bay 

The Living Coast Discovery Center (LCDC) Watershed Discovery: Connecting and Protecting San Diego Bay program uses its unique location within the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge to provide environmental conservation and environmental stewardship education to local youth. The program consists of three components: a field trip that utilizes docent-led tours and educator-led lab activities to address conservation, watershed protection, pollution prevention, native plants and animals, and responsible outdoor recreation; public education utilizing instructor-led hands-on activities and interpretive signage designed to educate the general public on pollutant prevention and watershed protection related to San Diego Bay; and habitat restoration and clean-up that engages volunteers and the general public. . 

Maritime Museum of San Diego - Ecology and Economy of the Bay 

The Maritime Museum of San Diego Ecology and Economy of the Bay program is structured to address the role of San Diego Bay in the regional economy, and the fragility of San Diego Bay’s natural resources in association with development over time. Students board the Museum’s steam ferryboat Berkeley and take a trip around the bay aboard the Museum’s boat Pilot. Student lessons include marine science experiments to learn about the bay’s history, its flora and fauna, pollution prevention, sediment and water quality, and the way humans have impacted San Diego Bay.  

National School District - Watershed Protection Series 

The National School District Watershed Protection Series provides  students with watershed protection and pollution prevention education. This program incorporates hands-on pollution identification and investigations, awareness of watershed management and impacts from urbanization, student-led development of prevention strategies and best management practices, and trash cleanup efforts. 

Ocean Discovery Institute - Student Initiative Program 

Through its Elementary School Program, and using its Living Lab facility, Ocean Discovery Institute provides students with engaging environmental lessons. This program includes classroom, laboratory and field-based studies addressing coastal ecosystems, watershed management, and natural resources conservation within San Diego Bay and introduces students to a wide range of science professions. 

Outdoor Outreach – YES: Youth Environmental Stewardship Project 

Through its YES: Youth Environmental Stewardship Project, Outdoor Outreach utilizes recreational learning and hands-on environmental education and stewardship to educate, train and mobilize students. The program incorporates environmental lessons on watershed dynamics, pollution prevention, and local ecology with recreational activities including hiking, biking, and kayaking, as well as participation in local trash clean ups and restoration events. Outdoor Outreach also utilizes a virtual platform to continue educational efforts. 

Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego – Watershed Connection 

The Resource Conservation District (RCD) of Greater San Diego Watershed Connection program focuses on water pollution issues including non-point source pollutants such as petroleum products, detergents, fertilizers, and pet waste, and introduces students and educators to appropriate best management practices. RCD provides youth with lessons on how common pollutants are typically generated, how these pollutants travel from streets to waterways, and how to best manage and prevent further impacts to the watershed.  

San Diego Audubon Society  – Outdoor Explore! 

The San Diego Audubon Society Outdoor Explore program provides after-school outdoor environmental education to students through physical activity, exploration, and exposure to natural spaces in their community. Focusing on the Otay River watershed, this program combines naturalist-led lessons with student-led self-exploration to provide students with an understanding of the function of floodplains and human impacts on habitat and water quality specific to San Diego Bay. The program provides San Diego youth with outdoor lessons within and around the bay.    

San Diego Coastkeeper – Science to Stewardship in the San Diego Bay Watershed 

Through its Science to Stewardship in the San Diego Bay Watershed program, San Diego Coastkeeper provides students with standards-aligned environmental science curriculum focusing on watershed dynamics, water and climate science, conservation and stewardship, and San Diego Bay ecology. The program incorporates hands-on outdoor lessons, field trips and classroom lessons. 

The Ocean Foundation - Ocean Connectors

The Ocean Foundation Ocean Connectors program continues to provide hands-on environmental education to National City youth through field trips, in-class lectures, and land and water-based eco-tours. Focusing on National City students, the program provides instruction on the ecosystems of San Diego Bay and cultivates an understanding of coastal environments, the connection between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and the health, cultural and economical, value of San Diego Bay. As a component of the program, students use a “knowledge exchange” with student peers in Mexico to further their understanding of natural resources, recording and presenting information collected and learned from program participation.  

Zoological Society of San Diego - Exploring Conservation Science 

Through the Exploring Conservation Science program, the Zoological Society of San Diego provides  students with opportunities to engage and interact with conservation scientists and complete hands-on lessons to understand natural resources and wildlife conservation. Participating students visit the state-of-the-art Conservation Education Lab and Outdoor Learning Lab at the Zoological Society Safari Park to complete field and lab-based explorations and connect their lessons to San Diego Bay.  

Volunteer & Restoration Efforts

The Port supports numerous site-specific and bay-wide volunteer restoration and cleanup efforts. Please visit the Port calendar to see what events are currently planned for the year. Regular efforts include the following annual events: 

  • Coastal Cleanup Day 
  • Operation Clean Sweep 
  • Staff Day of Service 
  • Power SCUBA 

Ocean Planning

The Port is actively engaged in Ocean Planning efforts.

 Visit Ocean Planning for more

Sea Grant Fellowships & Internships

The Port currently acts as a host agency for the California Sea Grant State Fellowship Program, which offers recent marine science and environmental policy graduate students the opportunity to work within a public agency. Fellows at the Port work closely with Environmental Conservation and Aquaculture & Blue Tech staff to acquire "on the job" experience both in the office and in the field providing valuable scientific and technical expertise to assist in advancing Port projects.

More information on Sea Grant


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