California Regional Environmental
Education Community

California Department of Education,
STEM Office

Region 9a Newsletter 
Summer 2016 

School's Out for Summer!   
  Sunset Cliffs

Enjoy the beautiful Southern California climate with hikes, trips to the beach, and camp-outs. This is the perfect time to visit our lovely nature centers such as Batiquitos Lagoon, Living Coast Discovery Center, or the Water Conservation Garden. You can even bring nature home by planting a native garden. Happy Summer!

- Crystal Howe, CREEC Coordinator, Region 9a
What's New in Region 9a 

Tijuana Estuary Junior Rangers Program

The Tijuana Estuary's Junior Rangers (ages 7-12) learn about estuarine ecology, natural and cultural history, plants, or wildlife of the area.  Participants earn awards as they progress through the program.

SDNHM Nature to You Loan Program

Membership allows for a year of access to the program's collection-over 1,300 specimens that represent the biologic and geologic diversity of the southwestern United States, Baja California and the world!  This summer, we are open Wednesdays from  12:30 to 3:30 PM .

Local Events



Project Swell  Resources


Connecting the Classroom to Field Experiences - Birch Aquarium Beach Science


The 2015-16 School Year saw the launch of a new program for underserved 6th grade students in San Diego County, provided by Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. This 3-part experiential program was offered at no cost to 4 middle schools in San Diego Unified School District, serving 852 students, through the generosity of the Price Philanthropies Ocean Science Education Fund. During the 2016-17 school year, we hope to double the number of students served with this program that engages students in critical thinking skills as they investigate topics in ocean circulation through the phenomenon of El Niño during hands-on activities in their classroom and field trip experiences.
This new program was designed to be aligned with the new Next Generation Science Standards, and to increase students' understanding of the nature of scientific investigation and the role of the ocean in Earth's systems. As part of the program, Birch Aquarium educators visit the classroom twice, with students taking part in a research-based Beach Day field trip to the Scripps Pier, Beach, and Birch Aquarium in between the classroom visits. To make the curriculum more impactful and connect students' learning between their experiences, videos and classroom teacher-led lessons were created to bridge the learning. During the Beach Day field trip, students investigate the causes and effects of water moving in the ocean, collecting data on sea surface water temperature, wind speed and direction, long-shore currents, and the beach profile, all while using scientific tools, some created by Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers especially for our students! The students also meet with Scripps graduate students to hear about their research and their paths to careers in science. Back at school, the classroom teacher and Birch Aquarium instructors help the students make sense of the data they collected at the Beach and Pier, putting their new understanding in the greater context of what scientists know about El Niño.
If you are interested in learning more about the program, please email


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Disclaimer: These professional learning opportunities and resources are intended merely to provide access to information. The California Department of Education (CDE) has not reviewed these opportunities or resources for effectiveness or alignment with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). CDE does not warrant or guarantee the effectiveness or results of any opportunity or resource that may be made available through this communication network. The inclusion of an opportunity or resource is neither an endorsement nor recommendation by CDE. Please excuse formatting errors that may result from the software application used to distribute this newsletter.

The California Regional Environmental Education Community (CREEC) Network is an educational project supported by the California Department of Education in collaboration with state, regional and local partners. Its expansive communication network provides educators with access to high-quality educational resources to enhance the environmental literacy of California Students.
In San Diego, CREEC is supported by the San Diego County Office of Education
Crystal Howe,, (858)337-5784

Shannon Gordon, Statewide CREEC Coordinator,
STEM Office, California Dept. of Education, 1430 N Street, Suite 4309, Sacramento, CA 95814

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