We are working to restore the kelp forest ecosystem (kelp, white seabass, green abalone, and Pismo clams) by getting the community involved in hands-on science and restoration. We were successful at restoring Orange County’s kelp forests which were gone for more than 20 years. Now, we are working to restore the species that once thrived in them.
By involving the community in our restoration work, it ensures that the participants will have a stake in the health of the restored species and take ownership to conserve them in the future. We train students to raise the species in customized classroom nurseries while learning about ocean chemistry, ecology, biology, and aquaculture throughout the school year. We then train everyday citizens to outplant the organisms and survey them. We have taught over 12,000 students to grow kelp, abalone, and seabass in their classrooms and trained more than 350 volunteers to help us to survey and outplant them. We currently have 5000 growing abalone which we will start outplanting in 2022 and we release white seabass from the classrooms twice per year.
Please be sure to watch out for our annual “Ab Feed” event in the summer season. This nostalgic event is meant to recreate an Orange County community gathering from the 1950’s when abalone were plentiful. Watermen (lifeguards and surfers) would collect the bounty of the sea and invite friends down to the beach for an “Ab Feed”. Bread, beer, salad, and grilled abalone were on the menu as well as a bonfire and ukulele music. We have lost this equivalent to a clam bake or lobster boil that was so much a part of our culture. These annual events are served with farm raised abalone and meant to remember what we once had.
We are always looking for new volunteers to help with a myriad of activities from scuba diving to helping man booths at community events or even taking us out on their boat to do some surveys. If you are a teacher and would like to participate, please email us to collaborate on making it happen! We look forward to working with you.