MERITO is the multicultural
education program for the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary
(CINMS) and it stands for Multicultural Education
for Resource Issues Threatening
Oceans. MERITO (which means ‘merit’
in Spanish), began implementation at CINMS in 2006 by delivering
bilingual ocean conservation related products and services to
students, teachers, adults, and families living near the Santa
Barbara Channel region.
The goal of the MERITO program at CINMS
is to provide programs and products to our multicultural population
to build sanctuary stewardship, help increase understanding
of ocean-related threats, and motivate culturally diverse students
to pursue careers in marine sciences and/or resource protection
so that our entire community can actively contribute to ocean
Multicultural Education is the 9th strategy of the Awareness
and Understanding component of the CINMS Management Plan. CINMS
initiated the expansion of the MERITO program from Monterey
Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) to the Santa Barbara Channel
region in 2005. The CINMS MERITO action plan is composed of
various strategies including A) Bilingual Outreach, B) Internships
for graduate and under graduate students underrepresented in
science, and the B) MERITO Academy which includes professional
development for educators, students programming and curriculum.
The first two strategies (A and B) are implemented by CINMS.
The MERITO Academy is a partnership program co-sponsored by
CINMS and many other governmental (National, State and Municipal)
and non-governmental organizations coordinated by a local non-for
profit organization (www.meritoacademy.org).
MERITO products and programs inform multicultural audiences
on how to take individual action in resource and habitat protection,
and why ocean protection is a responsibility everyone shares.
Rocio Lozano-Knowlton, MERITO Bilingual Program Coordinator
Channel Islands Boating Center in Channel Islands Harbor
3880 Bluefin Circle
Oxnard, CA 93035