USC Sea Grant is committed to providing professional learning to enhance the integration of current ocean science research and environmental literacy education programs for youth and lifelong learners. We build collaborative partnerships and support bridges across disciplines. USC Sea Grant has created a large and ever-growing web of connections among scientists, educators, students, and the public that serves as the basis for the success of our programs. Collaborators include our advisory board members, scientists, graduate students, and formal and nonformal educators.
The rich and diverse communities of the Los Angeles region include varied cultural and individual connections to the coast and ocean. The USC Sea Grant educators work with community partners to co-develop education programs that bridge science research, local and traditional ecological knowledge to understand our place in the watershed. This work creates opportunities for all students, especially creating opportunities for Latinx, Black, Indigenous, and other marginalized students and lifelong learners to consider engagement and careers in coastal, marine, and watershed environments. Locally the Los Angeles STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Ecosystem and the Statewide California Environmental Literacy Coalition are two arenas where Sea Grant works directly with community-based partners to build capacity and engagement.
State Literacy Initiatives
California Congressional Bill Assembly Bill (AB) 1548 in 2003 required the identification of environmental education principles and concepts that would be used to establish the curriculum that has been created to bring education about the environment into the primary and secondary classrooms throughout California.
Key to the Sea
Key to the Sea is a free marine environmental education program for teachers and elementary school children (K-5) in Los Angeles County, developed by a collaborative of marine educators and delivered by partners. The current collaboration includes Heal the Bay Aquarium, USC Sea Grant, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, the Roundhouse Aquarium, and the Los Angeles County Department of Education.
The program focuses on watersheds, the storm drain system, pollution prevention, the sandy beach habitat, and environmental stewardship. It includes place based learning activities for students, including a field trip to the beach, as well as exciting professional development opportunities for teachers that include classroom lessons and materials.
Los Angeles STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) was established in 2020 in response to limited access for LA youth to engage in the rich STEM experiences found throughout the region. It is a network of museums, aquariums, and nonprofit and community-based STEM education organizations. The group first came together in response to the pandemic to provide distance learning STEM education for Los Angeles Unified School District PreK – 8th grade students. Its mission is to continue to provide rich and diverse science education opportunities for students and their families. This network addresses many areas, including professional learning opportunities for educators, online and in-person learning, community engagement in STEM, and more.