Educational Resources

Arroyo Burro
A view of the mouth of Arroyo Burro Creek.

The SBC Schoolyard Program, educational partnerships and public outreach activities have developed and created resources for K-12 teachers at several grade levels. These resources employ a variety of media including: films, an interactive computer module on CD, and written lesson plans. See the listing below for information on how to request or to download these educational resources.

Smart Phone/Tablet Applications

Two smart phone/tablet apps are available to help identify algae and animals in the local kelp forest and intertidal areas, called "California kelp forests", and "California tide pools". Use these terms to search from your device's application 'store', or see the links.

CA kelp forest app icon
CA tidepools app icon


California kelp forests

California tide pools

CD - Arroyo Burro Watershed Virtual Tour

A computer module containing educational activities based on the Arroyo Burro Watershed is available on CD. Module components focus on the links between watersheds and the coastal ocean, and the effects of human actions. Interactive simulations of potential runoff and flood conditions based on SBC-LTER results for this watershed are included. The CD includes five weeks of lesson plans in PDF format.

WEB VERSION - Arroyo Burro Watershed Virtual Tour

A reduced, web-viewable version of the computer module (above) based on the Arroyo Burro Watershed. Some components of the module are too extensive to be accommodated by browsers. The full CD is recommended.

  • Requires QuickTime: Apple Quick Time


This group of lesson plans are associated with the Arroyo Burro Virtual Tour, and are geared toward middle school students. In these lessons, students will understand ecosystem concepts as they apply to coastal watersheds. Particular attention is paid to the transport of materials to the primary producers in a food web.

  • Lesson Plans are also included with the CD, above.
  • Lesson Plans require Adobe Acrobat Reader Adobe Acrobat Reader

Science Summaries:
Southern California Beach Life

In 2011, California Sea Grant produced regional brochures on the role of kelp wrack in beach ecosystems and the environmental impacts of beach grooming.

Science Summary:
Santa Barbara Coastal LTER Site Brochure

Each LTER site produces a brochure providing a description and overview of research activities. All site brochures are available through the LTER Network Office in the document archive.

SBC Site Brochure in PDF format:

Kelp Biomass from Space, 1984-2009

Animantion showing changes in kelp biomass near Campus Pt and Isla Vista from 1984-2009 at approximately six-week intervals using Landsat imagery augmented by kelp biomass and abundance records collected by the SBC LTER project.

  • Requires QuickTime: Apple Quick Time

Santa Barbara Channel and Islands

Three 30 minute films were created by Project Oceanography at the University of South Florida for live broadcast to middle school science students. SBC-LTER Investigators contributed to Part I of the series. The films are now viewable online.

  • Part I: Introduction to the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary
  • Part II: Intertidal Ecology
  • Part IV: Marine Sanctuaries and GIS

Hopping with Life: The Ecology of Kelp on the Beach

Four minute film clip created by "The Ocean Channel" for the Ty Warner Sea Center.
"Kelp and other seaweeds that are stranded on beaches as wrack support a diverse community of small animals that in turn are important as prey for shorebirds. The kelp wrack provides an important food source and habitat for the beachhoppers, intertidal beetles, kelp flies, and other small crustaceans on which many species of shorebirds feed."