Northern California Tribal Cohort #1 at Russian Gulch State Park

Dive into Science (DIS) is a scuba and scientific diving certification course  that provides hands-on training in marine science and ocean conservation. This progressive 30-month, three-phase program trains and certifies participants in Open Water, Advanced and Rescue scuba. Additionally, participants will be trained in the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) scientific diving and Reef Check’s citizen science-based subtidal reef health monitoring protocol for kelp forest ecosystems. Participants study marine biology, learn scientific methods, and engage in culturally meaningful ocean stewardship activities. Participants have multiple opportunities to take part in real research, conduct service-learning and civic engagement projects, attend a variety of community events, tour world class aquariums and marine science labs, and connect to an entirely new community of marine scientists, ocean conservation practitioners, and marine resource managers. Special attention is given to diving in and studying local habitats and biota. For more information about DIS, contact Morgan Murphy-Cannella at

DIS Goals

Participants from LA County Cohort 1 at Emerald Bay on Catalina Island (Pimu)
  • Promote ocean literacy and increase awareness of how scientific research, education, and community engagement can help reverse current declines in the ocean’s vitality, biodiversity, health and beauty.
  • Increase diversity in the sciences through training participants to be citizen scientists, exposing them to educational and career pathways in marine science and ocean conservation, and empowering them to become stewards of the ocean.
  • Prepare youth and young adults for participation in the rapidly growing blue economy by providing them with the tools and resources to advance their learning and careers in the sector. 

A Bit of History …

Reef Check piloted Dive into Science in 2019 in partnership with Outward Bound Adventures, a non-profit dedicated to engaging urban communities of color in challenging nature-based activities for more than 60 years. Since then, Reef Check has run similar collaborative programs for the Intertribal group Native Like Water, several Northern California Tribes, and Los Angeles area foster and transitional age youth.

How to Apply

Thank You to Our Partners

Reef Check appreciates our funding partners: California State Coastal Conservancy Explore the Coast grants, California State Parks Outdoor Equity Program, California Coastal Commission Whale Tail grants, NOAA Ocean Odyssey Grants for Education Programs, California Natural Resources Agency Youth Community Access program, and individual donors. For information on how you can support DIS, contact Brooke Truesdale at


Reef Check is excited to announce our new DIS program for youth from Coastal Chumash Communities. This program will start at the beginning of March  2024. Participants in this DIS program will help build Chumash capacity to conduct kelp forest monitoring and support Chumash stewardship of the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary, which is now months away from potentially being an Indigenous managed marine sanctuary. The Sanctuary will protect more than 5,500 square miles of ocean and strengthen the tourism-based economy of the Central Coast by generating an estimated $23 million in economic activity and creating 600 new jobs. 

The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation selected Reef Check to train their Natural Resources staff and community members through our DIS program, under a California Ocean Protection Council Sea Grant. This training will increase the Nation’s capacity to conduct ghvtlh-k’vsh (kelp) monitoring and restoration in the future and contribute sound science to data gaps on the North Coast of California.

Participants from Antelope Valley Cohort #1 at Emerald Bay on Catalina Island
Participant from Northern California Tribal Cohort #1