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

Students from Branson School
use a quadrat to estimate abundances
of rocky intertidal organisms

As the newest member to the LiMPETS San Francisco Bay Area team, I’ve had an amazing time taking students out to explore the California coast. LiMPETS (Long-term Monitoring Program and Experiential Training for Students) introduces students (6th grade – college) to the biologically-rich coastal habitats of California’s National Marine Sanctuaries – our underwater national parks. The program not only teaches students about intertidal organisms and their ecological interactions, but also instructs and includes them in real scientific monitoring. Students – through LiMPETS – contribute to California’s collective knowledge of coastal biology. This is empowering for students; they invest – physically and mentally – in this research experience, because they know their work is more than just a day at the beach.

San Lorenzo high school student presents
LiMPETS research at a scientific conference

Along with implementing this program in over 100 schools and to over 5,500 students, our team initiated multiple projects to improve the LiMPETS experience for teachers and students. This year, LiMPETS refined its educational tools by incorporating more engaging presentations in the classroom, developing online tools to help students practice scientific protocols, and creating a new science communication curriculum. I’m very excited about this new aspect of LiMPETS – it gives teachers the resources they need to systematically instruct students in poster-making for scientific conferences and implementing student blogging. This past year, I have seen students analyze LiMPETS data (data they collected!) and – through communicating their findings – gain scientific literacy, confidence, and motivation to thrive in science long after the LiMPETS experience has ended.

Check out the LiMPETS website to see the achievements of the first group of LiMPETS students to participated in our science communication program.