**This blog entry orginally appeared on the website oceanspaces.org.**/p>

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife and California State Parks have teamed up to teach California students about the state’s network of marine protected areas (MPAs) through California State Park’s PORTS (Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students) program. Using live video-conferencing and on-line interactive lessons, thousands of students are now learning about California’s MPAs.The lessons showcase the important role that individual MPAs, and the MPA network as a whole, play in safeguarding California’s marine resources. PORTS is a free distance learning program that helps schools meet academic content standards in the context of California State Parks. 

With the MPA PORTS project, students are now learning about MPAs as well as state parks. The project focuses on three MPAs: Crystal Cove State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA), Ano Nuevo SMCA, and Pyramid Point SMCA. In the pilot year (2014/15) of the project, 13,600 students in 27 California counties learned about MPAs and the diverse habitats they protect. 

Beginning this fall, the MPA PORTS project will debut an online MPA curriculum to be used in tandem with the live video conferences. The project will also expand to a fourth MPA: Point Lobos State Marine Reserve. In 2015/16, over 15,000 students will receive MPA PORTS video-conferences. 

Click here to see a five minute video-introduction to the MPA PORTS project, which features some footage collected as part of the South Coast MPA Baseline Program. To learn more about MPA PORTS, contact the project coordinators:  marnin.robbins@wildlife.ca.gov or brad.krey@parks.ca.gov.

 

Reprinted courtesy MPA Management News: https://cdfwmarine.wordpress.com/2015/08/27/mpa-ports-project/.