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From the Avenue to the Channel Islands 'ATCI'

The MERITO Foundation was awarded an Outdoor Equity Grant from California State Parks for a new 3-year partnership program titled ‘From the Avenue to the Channel Islands.' 'ATCI' is a collaborative program between the MERITO Foundation, City of Ventura Sustainability Division, and Once Upon a Watershed where we serve the community of the Avenue in the City of Ventura with De Anza Academy of Technology and Arts (DATA Middle School) by including its students, teachers, alumni, and neighboring communities. 

About "From the Avenue to the Channel Islands" Program

Through the collaboration between the MERITO FoundationCity of Ventura Sustainability Division, and Once Upon a Watershed, DATA MS teachers receive professional development (PD) in areas of ocean and environmental sciences. Their students participate in outdoor experiences at the Ventura River, State Beaches, and the Channel Islands. Students have the opportunity to participate in a number of recreational activities including biking, hiking, kayaking, camping, snorkeling, sailing, surfing & leadership skill-building as well as take part in outdoor community events. 

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Students also participate in citizen science, environmental monitoring, habitat restoration, creation of native & edible plant gardens, and project-based learning challenges to reduce the environmental footprint of their school & homes according to grade level. The purpose of the grant funding is to help advance the ‘Outdoor Access for All’ initiative championed by Governor Gavin Newson and First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newson, and the Natural Resource Agency’s ‘Outdoors for All’ initiative. The effort expands outdoor access to all Californians through focused investments with a priority to expand access in underserved communities.


6th Grade

Watershed Science

- Reforestation Trips to       Matilija Dam
- Bike to Nature
- Composting
- Gardening
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7th Grade

Marine Science

- Wetland Restoration
- Overnight Camping Trips to Santa Cruz Island
- Rocky Intertidal           Monitoring
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8th Grade

Coastal Protection

- Science trips to     Ventura River
- Kayaking / Sailing
- EECCOA Challenge
- Habitat Restoration

What are the 'ATCI' Program Objectives?

Objective #1

To immerse all 6th grade students at DATA MS & their community into Environmental Literacy

Objective #2

To immerse all 7th grade students at DATA MS & their community into Ocean Literacy

Objective #3

To immerse all 8th grade students at DATA MS & their community into Climate & Energy Literacy

Objective #4

To provide meaningful experiences in career pathways & environmental justice engagement to DATA MS students



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