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MERITO Academy 2023-2024 in support of the
Oxnard Beautification Project

The MERITO Foundation is working with seventeen (17) 4th-12th grade teachers and/or after-school educators from schools in the City of Oxnard as part of the MERITO Academy program, which supports the Oxnard Beautification Project.

The MERITO Foundation is leading the 'Youth Education & Engagement' component of the large "Oxnard Beautification Project", an initiative of the City of Oxnard, by involving educators and their students working at the nearby community parks that the City will revitalize.

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Through the MERITO Academy Program, this project will provide in-school and outdoor environmental education for the participating students, meaningful hands-on experiences at or by the ocean,  opportunities for the students to restore their community park, assist in their design as outdoor classrooms, and enter a competition; "The Beautiful Oxnard Challenge", with award stipends for the winners of the best art or multimedia projects that educate and encourage others to reduce litter, prevent urban runoff and care for their parks.

Incentives for Teachers
Incentives for Students
  • Up to $1,300 educator stipend for full participation 

  • Up to $350 for students’ bus transportation to field experience locations.

  • Professional Development training on Santa Cruz Island for the participating educators (tentative)

  • Access to MERITO Foundation’s educational resources, such as lesson plans, science equipment, National Geographic Storytelling tools, and lectures from expert guest speakers.

  • Bilingual in-class or virtual environmental lectures and educational activities provided by MERITO Foundation’s staff who are marine and environmental scientists with years of experience in environmental education.

  • Bilingual outdoor environmental education experiences at their parks, city beaches, wetlands, or closest river including park cleanup and planting events.

  • Participation in the design and restoration of their park with support from MERITO Foundation staff, the City of Oxnard Public Works, and a landscape architectural design firm

  • Cash prizes by entering the ‘Beautiful Oxnard Challenge’ and winning 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place in  1) Media Campaigns (photography, infographics, video or podcast), or 2) Artwork (paintings or drawings). All with messages that persuade, educate, and inspire the community to not litter and care for their community parks.

The result of this initiative will be student involvement in their community park's restoration, beautification, and long-term conservation while learning and educating others to also care.

What is the Goal of this Project?


For youth in the City of Oxnard to learn and experience how to prevent urban runoff pollution from reaching the ocean by taking part in the restoration and beautification of their community park, and through meaningful hands-on experiences to community parks for clean-up and planting, to beaches, wetlands, or rivers for environmental activities.

Our education and engagement objectives for this program include the following:

Increase educator capacity to improve/promote students’ environmental education and engagement

Increase students’ environmental, climate, and ocean literacy

Increase students’ knowledge and understanding of the importance of litter abatement, urban heat island effect, urban runoff, and how to mitigate these issues

Engage students to participate in the design, revitalization, and restoration of the parks, including those converted into outdoor schools

Advance equity for underserved communities through equitable, culturally sensitive, and inclusive education & outreach campaigns voiced and led by local youth

Increase overall stewardship behavior in the communities of their parks & schools

Empower, challenge, and motivate participating students to author education and outreach campaigns that promote awareness and increase engagement among residents of neighboring communities

Designated Community Parks

Beck Park

Lemonwood Park

Del Sol Park

Thompson Park

Kohala Park

Marina West Park

Durley Park

Community Center East Park

Lathrop Park

For more information, email, or call our offices at 805-765-6326

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