California Coastal Commission Resources and Programs
WHALE TAIL® Grants Program
Schools are eligible to apply to the WHALE TAIL®
Grants Program for funding to support coastal and marine education projects. Educators reaching
underserved communities, including multicultural and inland areas, are especially encouraged to submit
proposals. You may request up to $50,000 and applications are accepted once a year in the fall.
California Coastal Voices
California Coastal Voices is a free,
project-based learning guide and online toolkit for middle and high school teachers. Consisting
of six units, or "projects," that introduce students to coastal conflicts, challenges, and
scientific and policy issues, the emphasis is on problem solving and communication. This
learning guide was designed to address California's Next Generation Science, Common Core, and
History-Social Science standards. Download teacher resources and student activities and access
slideshows, videos, articles, and much more.
Schoolyard Cleanup Program
Want your students to participate in Coastal Cleanup Day but can't get them out on a field
trip to a beach or local waterway? Want to show them that environmentally responsible behavior
can begin at their school and in their own neighborhood? Interested in a real world data collection
and problem-solving experience that takes place right on school grounds and supports your Next
Generation Science Standards? You can organize a Schoolyard
Cleanup and accomplish all of these goals.
Coastal Art and Poetry Contest
The California Coastal Commission invites all California students in grades
K-12 to participate in the Coastal Art & Poetry Contest. The deadline to submit
entries is at the end of January.
Build Personal Fishing Line Containers
Student groups can help keep fishing line out of our environment by taking part in the
Stow It Don't Throw It program. Students collect used
tennis ball (or similar) packaging and construct personal fishing line canisters that
help people keep their used line contained until they can get it to a recycling station
or dispose of it safely in the garbage. Our Clean Boating Program will distribute the
containers you construct or your students can take them directly to fishing piers, marinas, or boating supply
stores to get them into the hands of people who need them.
Waves, Wetlands, and Watersheds Science Activity Guide
Waves, Wetlands, and Watersheds
is a classroom and community activity guide, first printed in
2003, that addresses issues such as endangered species, marine debris, coastal
geology, water use, and much more. It is
carefully aligned to the California State Science Content Standards for grades 3
through 8, and includes “Community Action” lessons adaptable for all ages up to
and beyond 12th grade. The guide is available for free from the
California Coastal Commission. Call or email for more information or to request
an orientation workshop for your area.
Our Wetlands, Our World High School Activity Guide
Our Wetlands, Our World provides information and activities to help high school
students learn about the importance of wetlands and to become involved in the
restoration of these valuable, unique environments. It also helps bring State Content
Standards to life by linking science concepts to local resources. The focus of this
2004 guide is on Upper Newport Bay in Orange County; however, much of the information is
applicable to other wetland sites.
Personal Trash Choices Activity
This group activity for youth or adults asks participants
to think about and to argue for how they relate to trash items in their lives.
Plastic Properties Investigation
This demonstration or small group activity has students
investigating the phenomenon of a plastic bottle in water. Does it float? Does it sink? What
are the implications of its properties?
Measuring a Blue Whale in the Schoolyard
Blue whales are the largest animals known to have lived on earth, and they can be seen right off
the coast of California! Just how big are they? Could a blue whale fit in your schoolyard?
This schoolyard activity offers three methods of increasing complexity
for comparing length and height of large objects.
Save Our Seas Curriculum
Save Our Seas is a marine curriculum of hands-on activities to help students
understand the effects of marine debris on coastal wildlife and habitats.
Written in 1993, it was
designed for K-12 grades and can be used in conjunction with a beach cleanup.
Request on our online Order Form.
Educator's Guide to Beach Cleanups
This Educator's Guide provides specific tips for teachers,
parents, and youth group leaders who plan to do a cleanup with their students, whether for
Coastal Cleanup Day, the Adopt-A-Beach
Program, or independently, at a beach, shoreline, or inland location. It includes practical strategies,
links to lessons and internet resources to enrich the experience, and more. Available as a
webpage or PDF.
Kindergarten Lessons on Global Warming
Developed in 2008, these classroom activities
introduce the topics of global warming (The Earth has a Fever!) and the origin of our
drinking water (Our Melting Ice Cube) to a kindergarten level, with tips on how students
and their families can help protect the earth.
Save Our Seas Seal Poster
Educational poster (see image)
illustrating the problems that marine debris pose for marine animals.
Large text reads: "Thousands of species live on the California coast.
Only one is destroying it." Please limit your request to one poster per instructor/classroom. Request
on our online Order Form.
Creeks to Coast Directory
Creeks to Coast is designed for anybody interested in
learning about watersheds and the marine and coastal environment. It
describes and links to organizations throughout the state that offer
education programs and other resources to the public. Search the
Creeks to Coast
Coastal Stewardship Pledge
The Coastal Steward Class
Pledge contains activities specifically chosen for the classroom (with background
information on each activity) to take action to protect our coast and ocean.
Adopt-A-Beach® is a year ‘round program
that encourages the public to help keep our beaches clean. In order to
"adopt" a local beach, volunteers agree to clean the beach at least
three times a year. (We will accept school groups that can only make it
out for one day.) Thousands of civic organizations and schools have
taken advantage of this opportunity to be a part of the solution to
ocean pollution. The program is free. Recycling bags and trash bags are
provided. Find associated lesson plans and other tips in our
Educator's Guide to Beach Cleanups. .
Coastal Cleanup Day
Every year on Coastal Cleanup Day, hundreds of
thousands of people worldwide clean up debris and fill out data cards that track
the types of litter collected from our beaches and waterways. This data is
compiled to form a powerful statement about the quality of our beaches and
oceans. In California, the cleanup takes place at over 700 sites from San Diego
to the Oregon border and as far inland as Lake Tahoe. The broad scope of Cleanup
Day demonstrates that marine debris and ocean pollution are watershed problems,
and that litter in your neighborhood may eventually end up in the ocean. Coastal
Cleanup Day is held on the third Saturday in September. Find associated lesson plans
and other tips in our Educator's Guide to Beach Cleanups. Coastal Cleanup Day
kicks off COASTWEEKS, an annual
three-week celebration of our coastal and water resources, which includes
activities such as nature walks, festivals, restoration events, and more.
The following videos, DVDs, and CDs
are available for online viewing or for loan to California educators. They are available for a
two-week period and the only cost to you is the return postage. A $25 charge is applied
for each item not returned. Please fill out our online Order Form.
Please note: Some of the DVDs listed are burned discs. Please request VHS tapes
if you are unsure if your player will read burned DVDs.
(If the DVD doesn't work in your
DVD player, try viewing it in a computer.)