Beautiful Nature


Ventura Unified School District (VUSD) and the MERITO Foundation are excited to announce a new environmental education and action partnership project titled ‘V-RAN’ that will focus on the Ventura River  Watershed and are now accepting applications from 6th-12th grade science teachers who wish to  participate. 

What is V-RAN?

The V-RAN program includes Professional Development (PD) outdoors in the field, PD webinars, Science Curricula, $1500 as Teachers’ Stipends, Virtual Field Trips, Youth Citizen Science at Ventura River Watershed and Green STEM competition (the EECCOA Challenge) with Cash Prizes for students. V RAN is sponsored by NOAA B-WET, Resource Legacy Fund, and Ventura Water and it is an adaptation of the EECCOA Program of the MERITO Foundation for VUSD science teachers focused on the monitoring and restoration of the Ventura River Watershed in support of the removal of the Matilija Dam, in collaboration with UC Davis Center for Community Citizen Science and multiple research and conservation organizations that have worked for years to protect the Ventura River watershed.  

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VUSD science teachers test new water monitoring equipment with NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary staff and volunteers during a teachers PD training.

Sea Star Monitoring
Sea Star Monitoring

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Water Quality
Water Quality

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Waste Audit
Waste Audit

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Sea Star Monitoring
Sea Star Monitoring

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What the V-RAN Program 2021-2022 Will Provide to Teachers and Students

  • Access to >25 science activities to choose from, drawn from the EECCOA Activity Guide and  from sponsoring and partner organizations (NOAA, EPA, e.t.c.) focused on climate, ocean, and energy literacy aligned to NGSS

  • Training on the use of curricula, on-field monitoring & lectures from expert guest scientists

  • The activities will be available online for your students to use in a self-guided manner with directions, links to videos, assessment questions, and additional resources.

  • Up to $1500 stipend for fully participating teachers

  • Meaningful live field experiences at Ventura River Watershed led by project and partners staff in support of the monitoring and restoration efforts taking place.

  • Funding of students' bus transportation to the Ventura River Watershed

  • Tools for students’ environmental data collection, data visualization, and analysis

  • Live & virtual mentorship for students on how to design better their authored project proposals  for the EECCOA Challenge

  • Cash prizes for the students’ authors of best 12-15 projects and seed funding for the best project to be implemented at students’ school campus

How to Get Involved?

VUSD is now recruiting eight middle and high school science teachers to participate in the V RAN 2021-2022 program. For more details or information on enrolling, contact Bret Klopfenstein, VUSD Science Specialist at,  

or or click the button below to apply. 

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What is the Matilija Dam?

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The 158 foot high Matilija Dam blocks a tributary of the Ventura River about 16 miles from the  Pacific Ocean. Built in 1947, the dam has outlived its usefulness, and sediment fills almost its  entire reservoir. With support from state and private funding, including the Open Rivers Fund  program of Resources Legacy Fund, local stakeholders are working with dam owner Ventura  County Watershed Protection District to plan, design, and finance the dam's removal. The  removal of the Matilija Dam will benefit the community by addressing old, out-of-date  infrastructure, expanding outdoor recreation opportunities, restoring habitat for steelhead trout,  and enabling needed sediment to move downstream to beaches.


Sponsors and Partners

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