What are Coastal Ecosystem Learning Centers?
In 1996 the Coastal America Partnership established a network of Coastal Ecosystem Learning Centers (CELCs). The network combines the resources of federal agencies with marine educational centers. Most Learning Centers are aquaria, museums, and research centers.
What is the purpose of the CELC?
The goal of each CELC is to educate and involve the public in protecting our nation's coastal and ocean ecosystems.
What is the benefit of the CELC network?
The federal partnership provides each CELC with unique access to expert speakers, exhibit information, educational publications, training, field trip sites, research vessels, and scientific data from around the country. For its part, the federal partnership benefits from the extended outreach messaging that the CELCs provide to millions of visitors that CELCs reach each year. The mutual partnership extends to involving communities in protection, preservation, and restoration projects throughout the Nation.
Why do we need CELCs?
The U.S. Ocean Action Plan response to the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy Report highlights the value of informal education centers such as the CELCs and the benefits of expanding the network. Even if we don't live right on the coast, our lives are impacted by it daily and our lives impact the coast no matter where we live. The food and fish we eat, water we drink, showers we take, rubbish we discard, products we manufacture, fields we harvest, and vacations we enjoy are all closely tied to our coasts. The CELCs provide information to the public in a creative and entertaining way and continuously evaluate their programs to ensure that their messaging connects to people emotionally. The federal partnership provides up-to-date information for CELCs to factor into exhibits, summer programs, and a variety of outreach to communities.
"The goal of each Learning Center is to educate and involve the public in protecting our nation's coastal and ocean ecosystems."
How many CELCs are there?
There are 24 CELCs throughout Canada, United States and Mexico.
How does an institution apply to become part of the CELC network?
Interested facilities should review Selection Evalution Criteria Process (26.06 kB) (PDF, 27KB). The CELCs Executive Director should send a letter of application to Coastal America for consideration. Prior to sending the letter the applicant should consult with the respective Coastal America Regional Implementation Team (RIT) to determine the RIT's ability to support a new Learning Center. The letter must address the selection and review criteria. The application will go through a review process by the RIT; consideration of the RIT review report by the SIMOR Subgroup-National Implementation Team; and designation approval decision by the Coastal America Principals.
How do Coastal America Partners help the CELCs?
The Learning Centers work with the Coastal America Partners on a variety of projects:
- Coastal Restoration
- Marine Mammal and Turtle Stranding
- Marine and Coastal Research
- Volunteer Projects
- Support for International Initiatives
- Support for National Conferences
- Support for Educator Exchanges among Aquaria
- Provide Outreach Materials
Learning Center Brochure (234.01 kB)