Port of SD Commits $850,000 to Support Education

Jun 01, 2022

The Board of Port Commissioners has approved agreements with 12 environmental education programs to provide innovative, hands-on curriculum to an estimated 75,000 students within the San Diego Bay watershed.

The agreements are a component of the Port’s Environmental Education Program, established in 2003 to proactively engage students, teachers, and communities throughout the San Diego Bay watershed about pollution prevention, environmental stewardship, healthy ecosystems, and natural resources connected with San Diego Bay. As part of the Environmental Education Program, the Port established the School Partnership Program to ensure environmental education reaches students from each of the Port’s five member cites – Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach, National City, and San Diego.

Seven elementary schools participate in the School Partnership Program. They are Bayside Elementary in Imperial Beach, Harborside Elementary in Chula Vista, Kimball Elementary in National City, Silver Strand Elementary in Coronado, and Perkins Elementary, Logan Elementary and Silver Gate Elementary in San Diego. The 12 education program agreements will reach K-12 schools throughout the San Diego Bay watershed, including those participating in the School Partnership Program.  

“The Port of San Diego is pleased to provide environmental education opportunities to students within the Port’s five member cities and throughout the San Diego Bay watershed, which reaches as far east as Mount Laguna,” said Chairman Dan Malcolm, Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners. “Educating students, their teachers, and families within these areas is crucial to protecting the health and environment of San Diego Bay and our surrounding waterfront.”

The Port issued a Request for Proposals in November 2021 to solicit proposals for education programs that promote environmental stewardship, pollution prevention, and forward-thinking sustainability goals benefitting San Diego Bay. The Request for Proposals remained open through January 31, 2022 and 14 proposals were submitted for consideration.

The proposals were scored and ranked through a rigorous selection criteria process developed by the Port’s Environmental Advisory Committee. Port staff recommended the funding of 12 programs in an amount not to exceed $850,000 over three years. The funding will come from the Port’s Environmental Fund. Here are the selected proposals:

Chula Vista Elementary School District  will receive $47,200 over three years. Through its partnership with the Living Coast Discovery Center, the Chula Vista Elementary School District’s Coastal Education Program provides standards-based lessons and hands-on curriculum focusing on environmental protection and conservation themes including pollution prevention, stormwater management, watershed protection, habitat restoration, and endangered and sensitive species connected to San Diego Bay.

I Love a Clean San Diego  will receive approximately $74,000 over three years. Through its Connecting Kids and Communities to Conservation Program, it will provide environmental protection and pollution prevention education to students throughout the San Diego Bay watershed. The program includes interactive classroom presentations, cleanup events, and community workshops, and will reach kindergarten through eighth grade students.

The Living Coast Discovery Center  will receive $150,000 over three years for its program, Watershed Discovery – Connecting and Protecting San Diego Bay. The program has three components – a field trip that utilizes docent-led tours and educator-led lab activities to address conservation, watershed protection, pollution prevention, native plants and animals, and responsible outdoor recreation. The program will provide hands-on lessons to kindergarten through 12th grade students, families, volunteers, and the general public.

Maritime Museum Association of San Diego  will receive $43,500 over three years for its Ecology and Economy of the Bay Program. This program addresses the role of San Diego Bay in the regional economy and the fragility of San Diego Bay’s ecology specifically related to human impacts. The program will provide environmental education to fourth and fifth grade students.

National School District  will receive $55,550 over three years for its Watershed Protection Series. This program will provide a six-lesson watershed program that focuses on watershed pollution via stormwater runoff and dry weather runoff. The program will incorporate hands-on learning and community engagement to students throughout National City.

Ocean Discovery Institute  will receive $85,000 over three years for its Elementary School Program and Living Lab facility. Through this program, kindergarten through eighth grade students will receive science and environmental educational experiences including hands-on laboratory, and field-based programming connecting students to the San Diego Bay watershed.

Ocean Outreach  will receive $42,000 over three years for its program YES: Youth Environmental Stewardship Project. This program utilizes recreational learning and hands-on environmental education to educate and train students from environmental justice communities within the San Diego Bay watershed. This program will provide environmental education and stewardship lessons to youth ages 9-24 while supporting additional leadership and environmental career training.

Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego  will receive $42,000 over three years for its Greater San Diego Watershed Connection Program. This program is an interactive classroom lesson which connects students to their local watershed. Hands-on lessons will teach second through sixth grade students where common pollutants are generated, how they travel from streets to waterways, and how to best manage impacts to the watershed.

San Diego Audubon Society  will receive $30,250 over three years for the Outdoor Explore Program. This program provides after-school outdoor education to students through physical activity, exploration, and exposure to natural spaces in their community. Elementary school students will learn the function of floodplains and human impacts on habitat and water quality.

San Diego Coastkeeper  will receive $65,500 over three years for its Science to Stewardship in the San Diego Bay Watershed Program. The program consists of a series of place-based, hands-on activities addressing watershed dynamics, water and climate science, environmental protection, ecological stewardship, and natural resources connected with San Diego Bay. This program is for high school students and teachers.

The Ocean Foundation  will receive $150,000 over three years for its Ocean Connectors Program. The program provides hands-on environmental education through field trips, in-class lectures, and land and water-based eco-tours. Students will use a “knowledge exchange” with student peers in Mexico to further their understanding. The program will be available to every elementary and middle school student in National City.

Zoological Society of San Diego  will receive $65,000 over three years for its Exploring Conservation Science Program. Middle and high school students will have an interactive, standards-aligned experiential learning opportunity. They will engage with conservation scientists and gain access to innovative research tools. The program is based out of the Conservation Education Lab and Outdoor Learning Lab at the Beckman Center for Conservation Research located within the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Since its inception, the Environmental Education Program has provided valuable environmental curriculum to more than 600,000 students in schools throughout the San Diego Bay watershed and has regularly targeted students in underserved communities. Organizations supported by the Environmental Education Program provide a diverse range of educational content through field activities, classroom exercises, laboratory experiments, informative field trips and engaging online curriculum.