V: MANAGEMENT PLAN
IV. Section Education
IV. Section Education
Sanctuary designation could provide local governments, businesses, citizen groups, farmers, fishermen, tourists and existing institutions information and techniques to protect the natural environment of Monterey Bay. Increased public understanding and appreciation of the value of Monterey Bay resources is essential for their protection. The interpretive program for the Sanctuary will be focused on improving public awareness of the Sanctuary and providing information on Bay area resources and qualities and Sanctuary regulations designed to protect them. Such efforts are intended to also encourage compliance with the Sanctuary regulations and other existing regulations designed to protect the Monterey Bay area.
The education program should be directed to improving public awareness and understanding of the significance of the Sanctuary and the need to protect its resources and qualities. The management objectives designed to meet this goal are to:
- Provide the public with information on the Sanctuary and its goals and objectives, with an emphasis on the need to use these resources wisely to ensure their long-term viability; šBroaden support for the Sanctuary and Sanctuary management by offering programs suited to visitors with a range of diverse interests; šProvide for public involvement by encouraging feedback on the effectiveness of education programs and collaborate with other organizations to provide interpretive services, including extension and outreach programs and other volunteer projects complementary to the Sanctuary program;
- Collaboration with Sanctuary management staff in extension and outreach programs, and participation in other volunteer programs;
- Incorporate research results into the interpretive/education program in a format useful for the general public; and
- Create public awareness of the entire Nation-wide Sanctuary Program, its purposes and intent and the role of the Monterey Bay NMS as part of a larger system.
Opportunities for interpreting the MBNMS fall into two broad categories: 1) education for local visitors and potential users of the Sanctuary, including; school groups and teachers, fishermen, boaters, divers, etc., as well as education for visitors at local information centers and at the Sanctuary headquarters; and 2) interested groups not visiting either location but who desire to learn more about the Sanctuary's resources and qualities. Below is a description of the educational programs that the Sanctuary will develop to maximize these opportunities.
For example, the diversity of habitats and communities, the unique Monterey Canyon, and the overlap of human uses of the resources such as fisheries present unique opportunities for education. There are many potential vehicles for education including the highway pulloffs, existing State park, beach, refuge and reserve programs, community colleges, university extension programs, and boat tours. The large numbers of visitors to the area (for example, 1 - 2 million yearly on the Big Sur coastal highway) is a potential "market" for educational information in addition to local residents and agencies.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, the Año Nuevo facilities, and the Elkhorn Slough NERR, as well as other State and private educational facilities such as Point Lobos, Point Lobos Natural History Association, Big Sur, and university programs bring an exciting existing dimension to interpretation of the proposed Sanctuary area, and present a great opportunity for presentation of information on the proposed Sanctuary program.
As well as established facilities there are a number of locations throughout the Sanctuary's coastal area that present additional opportunities for educational and interpretive services for visitors to the area. For example the Pigeon Point Lighthouse, Davenport, Wilder Ranch, Pt. Santa Cruz and New Brighton/Seacliff Pier already provide education opportunities on a variety of historical and fishing subject areas. Waddell Creek, Moss Landing State Beaches, Carmel/Stillwater and the Pt. Sur Lighthouse are all excellent recreational sites for windsurfing, sportdiving, whalewatching, surfing and sportfishing. Big Basin, Natural Bridges State Park, New Brighton Beach, Moss Landing State Beach, Salinas River National Refuge, Asilomar and the area between Lover's Point to Pebble Beach are areas of easy public access for nature viewing and intertidal, coastal and estuarine ecology education.
Finally, Santa Cruz Pier and Harbor, Capitola Wharf, Manresa/Sunset Beach, Moss Landing Harbor, Marina, Monterey Harbor and Piers, Coast Guard Breakwater and Carmel Beach are all excellent locations to establish signs and displays. These educational displays would provide visitors, residents and users of the Sanctuary with a brief description of the Sanctuary's resources and uses. The signs could also outline the objectives and goals of the National Marine Sanctuary Program and specifically educate the public regarding the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary regulations.
Education for the MBNMS will consist of three distinct sub- programs:
- Site visitor programs and information for regular users such as fishing and whale watching excursions, other recreational visitors to Sanctuary waters and local public and school groups;
- Information center programs for those visiting the facilities at the MBNMS headquarters and other nearby information centers; and
- Outreach programs for interested groups not visiting the Sanctuary.
It should be noted again, however, that many of these programs will be carried out in coordination with programs already sponsored by existing interpretative programs.
Whale watching and other nature viewing at Monterey Bay is generally incidental to sport fishing from excursion boats, but there is a potential for excursions solely for the purpose of nature viewing. Nature enthusiasts visiting Monterey Bay have the opportunity to enjoy watching sea lions, harbor seals, sea otters, porpoises and Grey whales as well as the large flocks of seabirds that feed in Bay waters. Brochures and educational materials will be made available to fishermen and nature viewers to make them aware of Sanctuary regulations, particularly with regard to waste disposal, and to inform them about the seabirds and marine mammals that may be seen in the Sanctuary and the rich ecological communities lying beneath its waters.
On-site education provided by the MBNMS manager will consist largely of written material describing the Sanctuary and explaining its regulations. This information will be available to the wide variety of recreational users and tourists who visit the area. The program will actively coordinate with existing educational programs. If there is sufficient public interest and if funding and staff resources are available for expanding this program, the Sanctuary Manager will consider co-sponsoring special excursions to Monterey Bay waters, organized by non-profit organizations, and providing on- board interpreters.
The establishment of a Sanctuary headquarters in the area and the existence of other visitor and information centers along the coast provide an opportunity to inform visitors to these sites about the Monterey Bay environment. Many of these visitors would not normally visit Monterey Bay; yet, given the opportunity to see educational exhibits and brochures about the Sanctuary at these centers, their appreciation for the special qualities of the Bay environment should be enhanced. The feasibility of establishing additional distribution points for brochures and information and space for posters and displays will be investigated.
There are geographically distributed educational/interpretive programs that present a range of opportunities for users to gain an appreciation of the marine environment. To a large extent these programs are not coordinated.
Año Nuevo State Reserve: The University of California, Santa Cruz, has a visiting schools program, and its The Environmental Studies Internship Program is involved in the Año Nuevo docent program which trains guides. CDP&R has a popular program providing guided walks to observe the pinnipeds and all other aspects of the natural history of the reserve. Emphasis is on the growth of the elephant seal population, and pinniped ecology. An improved visitor center is being planned and the area attracts approximately 140,000 visitors/year.
California Sea Otter Game Refuge (Central Coast of California): At present the Refuge does not have an educational program dedicated to the California Sea Otter.
California State Park System: The State parks, beaches, historical parks and reserves offer public access to the shoreline throughout most of the study area. Access is only difficult along the Big Sur shoreline. There are only a limited number of educational programs considering the rich marine resources.
Carmel Bay Ecological Reserve: This area is used by researchers, sport-fishermen and sport divers.
Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve: On-site management provided by CDF&G which shares overall management responsibility with NOAA (Sanctuaries and Reserves Division). The site and visitor center provide visitors with numerous marine and estuarine interpretive exhibits. Docent guided tours of the site are available year-round and the Elkhorn Slough Foundation facilitates the use of the site as an outdoor research laboratory as part of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System.
Hopkins Marine Life Refuge (Pacific Grove): This area is primarily used by researchers. Long Marine Laboratories Aquarium and Museum (Santa Cruz): Presents program and docent led tours of research facilities.
Monterey Bay Aquarium: Presents programs dealing with all facets of the proposed Sanctuary environment. The goal of the aquarium is to "stimulate interest, increase knowledge and promote stewardship of Monterey Bay and the world's ocean environment through innovative exhibits, public education and scientific research". Based on the theme of habitats of Monterey Bay, the Aquarium exhibit program offers visitors a first-hand look into the world of these diverse undersea communities. On-site school, outreach and teacher education programs provide information to approximately 100,000 school children and 1,300 teachers per year.
Moss Landing Marine Laboratories: Holds an open house each year to present ongoing research. In addition, programs are offered to school groups.
Natural History Museum in Santa Cruz: Provides visitors with information on the marine environment. The Environmental Studies Internship Program at UCSC provides coordination of many of the site's programs.
Natural Bridges State Park: Provides tide pool tours to school groups.
Pacific Grove Marine Gardens Fish Refuge: Primarily used for recreation, especially diving.
Pacific Grove Natural History Museum: Provides visitors with information on the marine environment.
Point Lobos State Reserve: A small educational program is conducted and guided walks are available. School groups are encouraged to visit Asilomar State Beach rather than Point Lobos.
Santa Cruz Port District: Provides interpretive educational programs with approximately 50 tours/year and programs are to be expanded.
Finally, the Sanctuary educational program will try to reach groups in the coastal region of California and elsewhere who have an interest in Monterey Bay and related areas, but are not apt to visit the area. This project entails identifying these groups and making educational materials and presentations available to them.
These programs will be carried out in conjunction with similar local programs to provide off-site education. Where possible, they will involve close cooperation with environmental study groups such as the Sierra Club, Center for Marine Conservation, American Cetacean Society (National and the Monterey Bay Chapter), Audubon Society, Friends of the Sea Otter, and the Whale Center; research and education organizations, such as the California Academy of Sciences, the University of California and the Pescadero Marsh Natural Reserve; local officials in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties; the State Sea Grant Program and the Association of Monterey Bay Governments (AMBAG) and representatives of the tourism and recreational and commercial fishing industries. These groups will be provided with educational materials on the Sanctuary and will be encouraged to inform others of the availability of these materials. If interest is strong enough, a slide presentation or mobile exhibit may be developed for the use of schools and private groups.