Sonoma Coast State Park: Marine Science

The Sonoma Coast Marine Science Program is implemented through an innovative suite of activities focused on educating students about the importance of local marine sanctuaries and marine protected areas (MPAs) through marine science and watershed exloration and education activities.

There are many ways that our staff work with teachers to customize a program that meets their curriculum objectives.

The student experience can begin with a school visit by naturalists and our Mobile Marine Education Van (Steward Ship). Within the past two years, Stewards developed a mobile marine education center out of a plain white step van. The exterior has been wrapped in a beautiful, colorful graphic that depicts the marine ecology on Sonoma Coast including a large gray whale, harbor seal, intertidal creatures, seabirds and the coast redwoods, which are notable on our stretch of coastline. By December 2015, the interior construction will be complete and include an LCD screen for showing videos, backlit interchangeable interpretive displays, space for displaying skulls, pelts and bones and other items for visitors to touch and feel. 

During the school visit, students learn what to expect on a visit to the Sonoma Coast, ocean safety, intertidal critters they are likely to see, the role of MPAs and marine sanctuaries in helping marine life, and how to tread lightly at the beach, at tidepools, and around marine mammals. The school visit will also include activities to introduce the students to the science curriculum they will experience on their field trip as well as conservation behaviors.

Within 1-2 weeks of the school visit, students meet Stewards' naturalists and docents at Sonoma Coast for a 1-day or 2 or 3-day immersive overnight experience. The one-day program may include either an intertidal exploration or an experience whale and seal watching and a marine debris stewardship project. A 2-3 day experience may include exploratory and citizen science activities in the Willow Creek watershed, camping at Pomo Canyon Campground, and a hike to the coast to understand and experience the interconnectedness between inland watersheds and the coastal ecosystem. The day will continue with activities similar to the 1-day program, including a stewardship project.

For more information, contact Michele Luna via email or phone at (707) 869-9177 x 1#.

Programs Announcement

Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods will be showcasing our new Mobile Marine Education Van, the “Steward Ship,” all over Sonoma County at schools, the coast, and special events! Volunteers are needed to staff inside and outside the van.

Duties include interpreting marine artifacts, facilitating hands-on learning activities, performing retail transactions, promoting stewardship/sustainability, and helping perform community outreach. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer docent for the van, please sign up today. We are scheduling a training for May 22nd, 2016 from 10 am - 4 pm at the Stewards Office.

Register for the Marine Van Training



Quick Links:

Schools: Sonoma Coast Overview
Cultural History
Marine Science
Forest to the Sea Mulit-visit and Overnight Camping Programs

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Photo: Steward Ship Photo: Steward Ship Photo: Octopus Photos: Sea Stars Photo: Sonoma Coast tidepool Photo: Sonoma Coast exploring nature through science
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Office: 17000 Armstrong Woods Road, Guerneville, CA 95446
Mail: PO Box 2, Duncans Mills, CA 95430 · (707) 869-9177
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