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Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary - Education

The MERITO Academy

Merito title

Professional Development | Student Programming

MERITO Academy
is a partnership program co-sponsored by CINMS and a number of governmental (National, State and Municipal) and non-governmental organizations coordinated by a local non-for profit organization to provide high quality, sustainable science programming integrating watershed and ocean science into 4th to 8th grade level public education and extended learning programs, resulting in the active contribution to ocean protection by educated and engaged youth.

The goal of the MERITO is being achieved by providing Curriculum content focused on ocean and climate literacy aligned to California Academic Standards geared to English Language Learners, Professional Development for Educators serving STEM underrepresented students and Students’ Programming. This a labor intensive and costly endeavor which has proven effective at increasing knowledge of ocean and climate literacy to students enrolled in schools serving economically disadvantaged communities according to assessments conducted by external evaluators over the last 5 years.

The work is possible by working in a community level with a number of collaborators including California Department of Education, City of Oxnard, Santa Barbara City Creeks Division, The Nature Conservancy, Channel Islands Marine Resource Institute, the Channel Islands Harbor Foundation, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Ty Warner Sea Center, and over 20 schools in 7 school districts along the Santa Barbara Channel region. The MERITO Academy has received funding on a variable basis up to date by NOAA BWET grant program, NOAA Office of Climate Change, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, The Amgen Foundation, US Fish and Wildlife Service, The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, California Coastal Commission and private donors who have witnessed the impact of the program.

Professional Development for Educators Serving Minorities

The MERITO Academy Educators Workshop consists of 3 days of intensive training on the use of the MERITO Academy Curriculum for educators level 4th through 8th in Ventura or Santa Barbara Counties. Educators can be formal educators or after school program leaders. During the workshop, the educators receive instruction on the application of hands-on field and in class environmental and marine science activities drawn from the MERITO Academy curriculum.
The first two days take place each fall and focus on in class activities and program logistics. Second workshop day focuses on field activities. The third day is a follow up workshop typically scheduled in the winter, Invited guest speakers such as science or academic researchers often-present opportunities or findings. Each year participating educators are selected through an application process advertised during the summer months.

There is a limit in the number of participants based on available funds.
Requirements for enrollment:

• The educators who solicit enrollment must agree in writing to implement a minimum of 15 lesson plans in their classroom or afterschool program.
• The educators agree to participate in a pre and post workshop evaluation to asses workshop performance and an end of year survey, in addition to allow MERITO Academy staff to survey the students prior and at end of the program’s academic year.

For more information contact:
Rocío Lozano-Knowlton, MERITO Academy Coordinator at, or at
Phone: 805-729-0442

Student Programming

The services the MERITO Academy provides the students of the educators who enroll in the program and receive the training include:
a) Introductory in class presentation of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS) and the MERITO Academy program by MERITO Academy staff (who hold a major or graduate degree in marine or environmental science. The presentation can be in English or Spanish (if needed for English Language Learners), used inspiring images of the CINMS resources, and persuading facts and demonstrations explaining why we all need to protect our natural resources.
b) Coordination of field experiences at selected field sites where inquiry based and/or service-earning activities contained in the curriculum are implemented led by MERITO Academy and partner agencies staff. Field sites vary depending on the content taught and school location. Sites include Ormond Point, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, County Line, Coal Oil Point Reserve, Sycamore Creek and the Channel Islands (Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands).
c) Partial or full sponsorship of students transportation to the field sites (bus or boat transportation) depending on available funds. Funding is allocated on a need basis. Priority is given to Title 1 schools that serve economically unprivileged students, however this varies depending on funding availability.

Contact us:
Rocio Lozano-Knowlton, MERITO Bilingual Program Coordinator
Channel Islands Boating Center in Channel Islands Harbor
3880 Bluefin Circle
Oxnard, CA 93035
(805) 729-0442



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