Educating the public about the ecological value of Upper Newport Bay and its watershed is vital to the fulfillment of our mission. We are proud of our long tradition of innovative and meaningful environmental education beginning over 40 years ago with the Friends Tours which enlisted broad support for the retention and protection of the Bay in its relatively natural state and helped bring about the creation of the Upper Newport Bay in 1975.
Though Upper Newport Bay is protected from development, it is still threatened by various human impacts that are inevitable given its location in the midst of a dense urban environment. While many of the threats arise from activities such as littering miles inland within our watershed, even some recreational uses by local residents who care about the Bay may be harmful to the habitat and wildlife of the Bay. Our goal is to increase environmental awareness and promote environmental stewardship at the Bay, in the watershed and beyond so as to protect and preserve not just Upper Newport Bay, but the planet.
We offer a variety of education programs from child to adult in collaboration with OC Parks, the California Department of Fish and Game, the City of Newport Beach, the California Coastal Commission, the Newport Aquatic Center and other partners. We conduct our own programs, and we provide volunteer and other support for programs organized by our partners at the Interpretive Center and the Back Bay Science Center – two world-class facilities that complement each other. The Interpretive Center, which is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday, offers programs primarily for an elementary school and family audience. The Back Bay Science Center with its teaching and water quality labs couples education and research, and offers programs primarily for a middle school through college audience.