MPA Cruises
Marine Protected Area Citizen Science Cruises

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(949) 675-0551

The most affordable on-the-water STEM program!

The Marine Protected Area Citizen Science Cruise is run through a unique partnership between Newport Landing Sportfishing and Crystal Cove Alliance, the nonprofit partner of Crystal Cove State Park. Our sportfishing company works together with this conservation organization, local scientists, State Park resource managers, and participating students and teachers to monitor Crystal Cove's Marine Conservation Area. (image of MPA Map ß attached in email)

This high quality on-the-water STEM education program gives students an opportunity to be a part of authentic scientific research and monitoring in Crystal Cove State Park. During the program, students set sail aboard a "research vessel" (aka fishing boat) and work as scientists for the day in the Crystal Cove State Marine Conservation Area. Working together, we believe that we can best monitor and protect our marine resources, a profitable asset to all involved.

Financial aid available through Crystal Cove Alliance by filling out their application below and sending it to Holly Fletcher.

Download Financial Aid Form Request More Information


The three hour MPA Citizen Science Cruise offers students in grades 7-12 the opportunity to explore the protected waters off the coast of Crystal Cove State Park. Students are assigned to one of three monitoring projects, where they will capture and take an up close look at plankton, drop a digital fishing camera down into the kelp forest to explore life below the ocean surface, and even collect water quality samples. The data that they collect will be shared with local scientists and resource managers who are studying and making decisions on how best to protect the underwater park.

  • In class presentation with marine mammal artifacts by an American Cetacean Society Naturalist before your trip. *dependent on distance and naturalist availability
  • Grade level appropriate curriculum packets that can be printed and used to brief students on what they may be seeing on their trip and how it connects with what they are studying (see links below).
  • Post trip activity sheets that connect with state standards that may be printed and given to students as a follow up learning activity. Additional fun and educational activities available for teacher/student use. (Click here to view material.)

Meet Our MPA Cruise Educators


Marine Science Educator

Jessica is our Naturalist and Education Coordinator for Newport Whales. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Biology, and has been a lifelong lover of all things marine science, so she jumped at the opportunity to work out on the water with cetaceans. In her free time she has volunteered with several organizations working with salt water fish, penguins, sea birds and marine mammals just to name a few. But her favorite part about working for Newport Whales has been engaging with youth and educating the public about the marine environment to get others excited about our oceans.


Marine Science Educator

Wesley, originally from Boston and receiving her degree from the University of Maine in Marine Biology, has years of experience on both the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. She is one of our marine science educators and naturalists at Newport Whales. Wesley makes a great asset to have on our whale watching cruises, through her research and education in the marine sciences. Wesley is at home on the ocean and happy to share all her knowledge about the amazing creatures we get to see off Newport Beach coast.

2015 sightings

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Water vector designed by Freepik

A wonderfully fun and educational trip in 2016 that your students will never forget!

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