February 27, 2024

Reef Check Announces Newest Dive into Science Program with Coastal Chumash

North Coast Tribal DIS participants (Photo: Rob McClelland)

Reef Check is excited to announce our newest Dive into Science Program in collaboration with the Coastal Chumash and Tongva communities! This program is funded by the California Natural Resource Agency Youth Community Access Program.

This Dive into Science program provides experiential on-and-under-the-ocean stewardship training and marine science opportunities to 24 youth ages 16-26 from the Coastal Band of Chumash and Tongva communities. Reef Check will train and certify youth in Open Water, Advanced and Rescue SCUBA, and provide courses in marine biology, ocean conservation, and our protocol for monitoring kelp forest ecosystems. This program will teach youth scientific methods by training them as Reef Check citizen scientists and will provide opportunities for them to become acquainted with kelp forest habitats surrounding the Channel Islands, as well as exposing them to careers and educational pathways into natural sciences or marine biology, ocean conservation, and marine resource management. This two year program will advance participants’ knowledge, skills, and abilities as science divers and ocean stewards, culminating in American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) certifications.

DIS participant scuba diving at Catalina (Photo: Rob McClelland)

We see the opportunity to work with tribal youth and elders as a way to learn about Indigenous Ecological Knowledge (IEK) and how it can be applied to resource management and conservation. Moreover, exchanges of IEK contribute to the reinvigoration of Indigenous people’s ownership and management of their land, culture, and power. In this way young tribal participants will prominently contribute to environmental and social justice solutions not as recipients or bystanders, but instead as rightful leaders.

Chumash ancestral territory