Parker shared "Refugio is a control site for several local marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Santa Barbara Channel." Students gather data through observations on human use (boating, fishing, recreation…) and record their observations. This data helps land managers to understand what resources matter most to the public and educate the community on MPA regulations. Towards the end of the field trip, students rifled through the beach wrack to record their observations through a variety of nature journaling prompts. Parker connected with students on a personal level and in small groups during this exploration. Still excited to find new discoveries every day at Refugio State Beach, Parker excitedly shared, "The most awesome find of the day was a mermaid’s purse!"
Before departing from Refugio, students gathered together as a whole group to share their favorite moments from their visit and "shoutouts" or thanks to their friends, peers, and teachers. Prior to the field trip, Parker reflected,
--"When I realized that so many students were coming and I wouldn't have any staff to support, I thought 'oh no, what should I do' but I realized that engaging students in citizen science is such an easy way to bring students into learning and exploration, during our reflection, students shared how much they loved the exploring intertidal zone and wished they had more time to! None of this would be possible without the passPORTS Program for coordinating and funding these learning experiences." --
Parker recognized the value of engaging with Chis and MJ as active facilitators in their students' learning experience rather than acting as a "sage on the stage" for Refugio State Beach. By adopting students and teachers as active participants in this experience, Parker was able to easily manage a large group without worrying about damaging resources or losing control.
--"Having students engage in student-centered learning involves them in the process, and connects them with the resource rather than spouting off a bunch of facts or cool things. A student came up and they were so excited because they found an egg case and they wanted to know more and were making their own observations, 'I found this in the wrack and it's so soft, how cool is that!' I just thought wow, the student may have never seen this before and now they want to learn more, that's cool. I could tell you what I think is cool about the park, but this get's us understanding what their interests are and what they want to do, that's why I think the passPORTS project is so impactful."--