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Lunch & Learn offers free environmental education. 


Topics vary from month to month based off of environmental national or international days.


Environmental Education

We use local marine natural resources, and habitats as educational tools to assist participants each month to make the connection between the oceans and their lives. 


The EPA defines Environmental Education as; a process that allows individuals to explore environmental issues, engage in problem solving and take action to improve the environment.


As a result, individuals develop a deeper understanding of environmental issues and have the skills to make informed and responsible decisions.

Marine Protected Areas (MPA's)

Past Topics

MPA’s are essential in order to protect marine habitats and the life they support. 


By creating sanctuaries for species to grow and reproduce, they can help to restore healthy marine populations, both inside and beyond the protected areas themselves.


Scientists believe that marine protected areas can help to combat the effects of global climate change.  


As a part of our ongoing Lunch & Learn program we’ll teach why oceans are important, how they're under threat and what we can do to protect our 7 1/2 mile stretch from Dana Point to Laguna Beach.

Plastic Bag in Ocean
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What is MPA Watch?

MPA Watch trains volunteers to observe and collect unbiased data on coastal and marine resource use. Volunteers will be trained to collect valuable data on ocean users and their activities, such as surfing, kayaking, fishing, boating, running, etc. Specifically, the MPA Watch volunteers will observe and record both consumptive and non-consumptive offshore and onshore activities in and around MPAs, which will improve our understanding of how people are using these new MPAs.


What is Citizen  Science?

Citizen science is data collection conducted by volunteers from the general public who are interested in learning about and/or conserving the environment. You do not need any scientific background to collect data for these surveys.


MPA Watch volunteers observe California’s beaches and bluffs inside and outside MPAs, recording all offshore and onshore coastal activities. Volunteers are trained to recognize different types of activities and to record their observations on data sheets. 



MPAs Today
MPA Watch Program


What is a Watershed:  A watershed is an area of land where all of the water flows to a common point. Streams flow into small rivers, which flow into bigger rivers, which flow into lakes or oceans and are deter- mined by the shape and slope of the land. Watersheds can be small or large systems. Every inch of the United States is part of a watershed – in other words, all land drains into a lake, river, stream or other water body and directly affects its quality. Because we all live on the land, we all live in a watershed — thus watershed condition is important to everyone. 


Did you know that a majority of the trash and debris that covers our beaches comes from storm drains and sewers, as well as from shoreline and recreational activities such as picnicking and beachgoing? 


Find my Watershed:


Are Healthy Watersheds Very Common?

Unfortunately not. Healthy watersheds are uncommon, particularly in the eastern U.S. as well as in most other parts of the nation that are urbanized, farmed, or mined. Large tracts of protected wildlands, mostly in the western U.S., are where most healthy watersheds can be found. However, some healthy watersheds exist in many regions of the country where water pollution has been prevented or well controlled, and where communities maintain the benefits of their clean waterways.

How Might Healthy Watersheds Affect Me?

You may potentially benefit from healthy watersheds in numerous ways, generally unseen and unrecognized by the average citizen:

  • Healthy watersheds are necessary for virtually any high quality outdoor recreation sites involving the use of lakes, rivers, or streams. Great fishing opportunities are usually due to healthy watersheds that surround the waters that people love to fish.

  • Your drinking water, if it comes from a surface water source, might be substantially less expensive to treat, if a healthy watershed around the water source filters pollution for free.

  • Your property values may be higher, if you are fortunate enough to reside near healthy rather than impaired waters.

You and your community’s quality of life may be better in these and other ways due to healthy watersheds; now, imagine how unhealthy watersheds might affect you as well.

Why Do Watersheds Need to Be Protected?

Healthy watersheds not only affect water quality in a good way, but also provide greater benefits to the communities of people and wildlife that live there.

A watershed – the land area that drains to a stream, lake or river – affects the water quality in the water body that it surrounds. Healthy watersheds not only help protect water quality, but also provide greater benefits than degraded watersheds to the people and wildlife that live there. We all live in a watershed, and watershed condition is important to everyone and everything that uses and needs water. 

Healthy watersheds provide critical services, such as clean drinking water, productive fisheries, and outdoor recreation, that support our economies, environment and quality of life. The health of clean waters is heavily influenced by the condition of their surrounding watersheds, mainly because pollutants can wash off from the land to the water and cause substantial harm. 

2024 Lunch & Learn Speaker Presentation

January 7 – Watershed - Lunch & Learn Speaker Lisa Zawaski from the City of Dana Point

February 10 – Love Our Ocean - Lunch & Learn Ocean Restoration Through Kelp

March 3 - Festival of Whales

April 21 – Earth Month

May 11– Ocean Mamas

June 8– World Oceans Day

July 7– Plastic Free July

August 11 – 4 Year Anniversary

September 21 – Coastal Cleanup Day

October 13– Ghosts and Goblins of The Ocean

November 10– America Recycles Day

December 8 - New Years Resolution

2023 Lunch & Learn Speaker Presentations

January Theme - Protecting Our Natural Resources - Part 1 Lunch & Learn    Part 2 Q & A   w/Josh Liebowitz of Vibe Restaurant

February Theme - Love Our Beach and Harbor Lunch & Learn w/ The Coast Guard Auxiliary

March Theme - Grey Whales with Lunch & Learn w/ Laura Lopez of Dana Wharf 

April Theme - Earth Day Lunch & Learn with Tony Terusa of Tenfold Harvest on Organic Gardening and the Ocean

May Theme - Ocean Mamas - Lunch & Learn with Nona Reimer on ocean mom behavior

June Theme - World Oceans Day - Lunch & Learn with Carmen Keopfer from Ocean Institute on

shark conservation

July Theme - Plastic Free July - Lunch & Learn Thea Merrit from Eco Now on reducing single use plastics 

August Theme - Celebrating 3 Years as a Nonprofit - Lunch & Learn w/ Dr. Alissa Deming is the Vice President of Conservation Medicine and Science at Pacific Marine Mammal Center

September Theme - International Coastal Cleanup - Lunch & Learn Part 1 Intro and Part 2 w/ Sabrina Banda from the Juaneno Band of Mission Indians Acjachemen Nation  

October Theme - Trash is Spooky - Lunch & Learn w/ Dawn Garcia Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Marine Biologist specializing in avian ecology and rescues numerous birds in the harbor. 

November Theme - America Recycles Day Lunch & Learn w/ Pink Recycling 

December Theme - New years Resolution - Lunch & Learn Speaker: UCI Professor Jessica Pratt, Ph.D. and her Global Sustainability Capstone Student Presentations

 2022 Lunch & Learn Speaker Presentations

January Theme: Marine Protected Areas - Lunch & Learn -w/ OC Coastkeepers

February Theme: Love Your Beach - Lunch & Learn - Watersheds - Lisa Zawaski from The City of Dana Point

March Theme: Festival of Whales -  Lunch & Learn -w/Tanya Torres - Calif. Sea Grant on Grey Whales

April Theme: Earth Day Cleanup   Lunch & Learn w/Emy Terusa from Tenfold Harvest special planting project

May Theme: Ocean Mamas -  Lunch & Learn w/Prof Dennis Kelly on Bottlenose Dolphins

June Theme:  World Oceans Day -  Lunch & Learn w/Nancy Caruso (aka Kelp Lady) of Get Inspired

July Theme: Plastic Free July  - Lunch & Learn w/The Ritual Refill Store and a pop up store! 

August Theme - Protect and Conserve Our Ocean - Lunch & Learn w/Victoria Nguyen - Resolve Recycling myths

September Theme - International Coastal Cleanup - Lunch & Learn w/Julie Skoglund - International Bird Rescue

October Theme - Shark Awareness - Lunch & Learn w/David McGuire of Shark Stewards

November Theme - America Recycles Day - Lunch & Learn with Ryan Hickman of Ryan's Recycling

December Theme- Lunch & Learn w/ UCI Professor Jessica Pratt, Ph.D. and her Global Sustainability Capstone Student Presentations

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