OCMPAC - Education

Education is a vital component in preserving Orange County’s natural resources. By sustaining the intertidal habitat, OCMPAC strives to ensure that many generations to come can experience the dynamic nature of this “outdoor classroom.” Learning about the potential for negative human impact can also translate into a new appreciation and respect for the tidepool and offshore habitat. Whether you are an elementary school teacher, a college professor, a local resident, or a visitor interested in exploring new things, we want you to enjoy your tidepool experience while helping to keep the habitat healthy and vibrant.

K-12 School Programs

There are a number of programs available to instructors of K-12 school groups looking to augment classroom learning with field studies. These programs help reduce the negative impacts visitors can have on the habitat by educating students on how to gently explore this fragile ecosystem (“The Good Tidepooler Rules”). These programs are also available to homeschool groups and after-hour school programs.

Please contact the organizations below, for more information about available K-12 intertidal programs in Orange County Marine Protected Areas. If you are a college instructor learn how to bring your class to the intertidal habitat in the next section.

City of Laguna Beach

Location: Heisler Park

Restriction: Reservation Required

Contact: 

Click to Visit Website and Learn More

City of Newport Beach

Location: Big Corona

Restrictions: Reservation Required

Contact: (949) 644-3038

Click to Visit Website and Learn More

City of Dana Point

Location: Nature Interpretive Center

Restriction: Reservation Required

Contact:

Crystal Cove State Park

Location: Los Trancos

Restriction: Reservation Required

Contact: 

Crystal Cove Conservancy

Ocean Institute

University Programs

College instructors may need to apply for a permit prior to conducting field studies within Orange County Marine Protected Areas.

If you intend to bring your class for observation only (which includes the use of research methods such as transects, quadrats, timed counts, size measurements, and species identification) you may be required to apply for a Category Two Educator Use form with the local managing agency.

If you intend to conduct research involving manipulation of the environment, including collection or handling of macrophytes, animals, shells, rocks, water OR you intend to manipulate the natural biota or substrate as part of your research, then you must first apply for a Scientific Collection Permit from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. You may also be required to notify local area managers prior to conducting your research using a Category One Research Use form.

Contact the agency below to find out more about the permits required to bring your college class or conduct research within Orange County’s Marine Protected Areas:

City of Laguna Beach

Marine Protection Office

(949) 464-6665

City of Laguna Beach Website

City of Dana Point

Crystal Cove State Park

Crystal Cove Conservancy

Ocean Institute

OC Tidepool Docent Programs

Intertidal Interpretive Programs in Orange County

Several agencies and organizations throughout Orange County offer intertidal interpretive programs to increase public awareness, whereby trained educators, both paid and volunteer (ie. docents), associated with the Crystal Cove State Park, City of Dana Point, City of Laguna Beach, City of Newport Beach, The Dana Point Ocean Institute and The Laguna Ocean Foundation are on-site at some of the more highly visited tide pool locations, during low tide periods, to educate the public on environmentally safe tide pooling practices.

Educators also provide for streamlined communication to enforcement personnel when illegal activities are observed. In marine protected areas, interpretative programs help alleviate human impacts by keeping visitors informed about conservation efforts (Jhaveri and Smith, 2019).

In addition, education-based programs provide visitors with a wide range of marine conservation knowledge and motivate individuals engaged in said programs to appreciate marine life, shift their attitudes and behaviors to be more environmentally responsible, and produce some long-term marine conservation intentions. 

How to Get Involved with Intertidal Interpretive Programs

Docents help educate the public about the intertidal habitats of Orange County.  Docents are stationed at access points to tide pool areas or on the rocks amongst the tide pools themselves. Docents greet visitors, introduce them to the rules of the Orange County Marine Protected Areas, point out interesting tide pool organisms, and address the public’s questions.

Are you interested in becoming a tide pool docent in Orange County? Contact the organization or agency you are interested in working with below:

City of Laguna Beach

City of Newport Beach

City of Dana Point

Crystal Cove State Park

Laguna Ocean Foundation

Ocean Institute

Educational Resources

Guide to Tidepool Exploration in Orange County MPAs Brochure

Guide to Tidepool Exploration in Orange County MPAs Brochure

Taking a low impact approach to observing, conserving, and protecting our intertidal environment.
Orange County MPAs Brochure

Orange County MPAs Brochure

Orange County Marine Protected Area Council's (OCMPAC) mission is to collaborate at a regional level to ...