Marine Science Afterschool Beach Camps

Give your child the opportunity to learn and explore their coast while maintaining social distancing. Our Marine Science Afterschool Beach Camps engage youth (9 to 13 years of age) in meaningful and memorable hands-on, experiential learning that is not currently available with distance learning, resulting in a myriad of academic, social, and health benefits. 

MERITO Foundation staff have the content knowledge, skills, pedagogical expertise, are bilingual, and first aid certified. We have instructed out in natural environments over 18,000 students over the past 5 years in our region’s watersheds, beaches, estuaries, and the Channel Islands.

New dates for the Spring 2021 Beach Camps!

With a degree of certainty, we now know that the risk of contracting coronavirus diminishes outside and that children learn more science, care more for their environment and are happier when learning outside.

 March 8 - March 12

 March 1 - March 5

 Feb. 8 - Feb. 12

  • When: Check available dates below

  • Times: 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm

  • Available dates in the Spring of 2021:

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday





* Given that February 15 is President's Day, this is a 2-day week (Wednesday and Friday only).

  • Location: At Southern Buenaventura State Beach by the Kalorama Wetland, south of the Ventura pier (see map below)

  • Cost: $125/week per child

  • Instructor/student ratio of 1:6

  • Ages: 8 to 12 years of age

  • 6 free spaces per week sponsored by California Coastal Conservancy

  • Family discount available! 10% for siblings

  • The wetland restoration component of this program is sponsored by a grant from the California Coastal Conservancy

 Feb. 15 - Feb. 19*

 Feb. 22 - Feb. 26

Find us at the San Buenaventura State Beach by the parking area at 853 E. Harbor Blvd. Parking, Ventura Ca 93001.

In partnership with California State Parks- Channel Coast District and the California Coastal Conservancy.

Safety & precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus​

  • Small groups of maximum 6 students/station (the number of stations will depend on the # of participants)

  • Students will stay active participating in hands-on activities (detailed below)

  • Stay safe maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet or more between students and staff. Physical contact is strictly prohibited except in case of emergency and trauma.

  • Cleanliness: MERITO Foundation will provide hand soap/sanitizer, gloves, and disinfect all equipment every rotation/activity.

  • Stay Covered: All students and instructors will wear face coverings when cannot maintain a safe 6-foot distance from others

  • All participants must bring their own water bottle, snacks, lunch, sunscreen, and importantly a face mask.

  • Parents and guardians will sign a COVID-19 specific waiver.

  • Disclaimer: An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. By attending MERITO Foundation's Science Marine Science After School Program, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.

If you have further questions, please email us at

Marine Science Activities


  • Wetland restoration and exploration

  • Marine animal classification

  • Beach scavenger hunts and beach clean-ups

  • Native plant and sea bird identification

  • Beach (sand crabs) monitoring

  • Beach profiles (topography)

  • Water quality testing

  • Microplastics monitoring

  • Marine art and poetry

All content, curriculum, and equipment will be provided by

the MERITO Foundation.

Benefits of environmental outdoor education

Environmental education programs in informal settings increase content knowledge and skills (1), including understanding how human actions contribute to environmental issues and sustainability. This learning may be magnified when outdoors because youth learn quickly and demonstrate better attention and longer retention of skills when learning takes place in outdoor environments (2). Moreover, youth who participate in residential outdoor science programs show positive short-term as well as long-term gains in their attitudes toward school (3); toward their own connection to nature (4); and toward the environment (5). 


Exposure to nature through these programs enhances learner’s cognitive functioning, self-discipline, and character development (6). In addition, numerous physical and mental health benefits accrue from spending time in the outdoors, such as reduced stress and loneliness, and increased physical activity and resilience (7). In fact, certain medical professionals have spoken out against the closure of outdoor spaces during the present public health crisis because of their innumerable health benefits (8). Furthermore, environmental and outdoor science education programs have been shown to have direct impacts on the environment, with documented ecological indicators such as improved water and air quality, and even increased biodiversity.



Ardoin, N. M., Bowers, A. W., & Gaillard, E. (2020). Environmental education outcomes for conservation: A systematic review. Biological Conservation, 241,;

Ardoin, N. M., Bowers, A. W., Roth, N. W., & Holthuis, N. (2018) Environmental education and K-12 student outcomes: A review and analysis of research. The Journal of Environmental Education, 49:1, 1-17. DOI: 10.1080/00958964.2017.1366155; Powell, R. B., Stern, M. J., Frensley, B. T., & Moore, D. (2019). Identifying and developing crosscutting environmental education outcomes for adolescents in the twenty-first century (EE21). Environmental Education Research, 25(9), 1281-1299; Stern, M. J., Powell, R. B., & Hill, D. (2014). Environmental education program evaluation in the new millennium: What do we measure and what have we learned? Environmental Education Research, 20(5), 581-611; Thomas, R. E., Teel, T., Bruyere, B., & Laurence, S. (2019). Metrics and outcomes of conservation education: A quarter century of lessons learned. Environmental Education Research, 25(2), 172-192.


 2  Merritt, R. D. (2018). Environmental Education. In EBSCO Discovery Research Starters (online). Retrieved from

 3  Stern, M. J., Powell, R. B., & Ardoin, N. M. (2008). What difference does it make? Assessing outcomes from participation in a residential environmental education program. The Journal of Environmental Education, 39(4), 31-43.

4 Mullenbach, L. E., Andrejewski, R. G., & Mowen, A. J. (2019). Connecting children to nature through residential outdoor environmental education. Environmental Education Research, 25(3), 365-374.

5 Beery, T., & Jørgensen, K. A. (2018). Children in nature: Sensory engagement and the experience of biodiversity. Environmental Education Research, 24(1), 13-25; Dillon, J., Rickinson, M., Teamey, K., Morris, M., Choi, M. Y., Sanders, D., & Benefield, P. (2006). The value of outdoor learning: Evidence from research in the UK and elsewhere. School Science Review, 87(320), 107; Johnson, B., & Manoli, C. C. (2010). The

2-MEV scale in the United States: A measure of children’s environmental attitudes based on the theory of ecological attitude. The Journal of Environmental Education, 42(2), 84-97.

6 Becker, C., Lauterbach, G., Spengler, S., Dettweiler, U., & Mess, F. (2017). Effects of regular classes in outdoor education settings: A systematic review on students’ learning, social and health dimensions. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(5), 485; Dale, R. G., Powell, R. B., Stern, M. J., & Garst, B. A. (2020). Influence of the natural setting on environmental education outcomes. Environmental Education Research, 1-19; Kuo, M., Barnes, M., & Jordan, C. (2019). Do experiences with nature promote learning? Converging evidence of a cause-and-effect relationship. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 305.

7 Bowler, D. E., Buyung-Ali, L. M., Knight, T. M., & Pullin, A. S. (2010). A systematic review of evidence for the added benefits to health of exposure to natural environments. BMC Public Health, 10(1), 456; Razani, N., Meade, K., Schudel, C., Johnson, C., & Long, D. (2015). Healing through nature: A park-based health intervention for young people in Oakland, California. Children, Youth and Environments, 25(1): 147-159. DOI: 10.7721/chilyoutenvi.25.1.0147; Thomsen, J. M., Powell, R. B., & Monz, C. (2018). A systematic review of the physical and mental health benefits of wildland recreation. Journal of Park & Recreation Administration, 36(1).

8 Razani, N., Radhakrishna, R., & Chan, C. (2020). Public lands are essential to public health during a pandemic. Pediatrics. Pre-print accessed May 21, 2020. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2020-1271.

(805) 729-0442

Operations address:

3897 Market St. Suites 101 & 102

Ventura, CA, 93003, USA

Administrative address:

1501 Cardigan Ave. Ventura CA 93004

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