Crystal Cove Conservancy Cancels Annual Tree Lighting Event

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Crystal Cove tree lighting / photo by Chris Trela

The coronavirus can’t cancel Christmas, but it can put a damper on related events such as the annual Crystal Cove Tree Lighting.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, following health and safety guidance from the state and county departments of health and California State Parks, Crystal Cove Conservancy has decided to cancel their annual tree lighting and holiday bazaar.

The Crystal Cove holiday tradition has been celebrated for the past 23 years and is normally held in early December.

“We are of course sad not to be able to host this wonderful event again this year, but the health and safety of our members, park-goers, staff and volunteers remains our top priority. We look forward to gathering with our neighbors again next year to welcome Santa back to the beach,” said Kate Wheeler, Conservancy President and CEO. “Through this crisis, we’ve all seen how important protected natural spaces like Crystal Cove are to communities, and we hope our neighbors and supporters will find their way here to explore the quiet of the park in winter until we can gather together again.”

While the tree lighting and other in-person gatherings are on hold, the Conservancy continues to provide important environmental education programs via distance learning through virtual field trips, hands-on home explorations, and engaging virtual materials, which inspires students from some of the most under-resourced schools.

Each of these programs is tied to real conservation projects in the Park and to rigorous Next Generation Science Standards, ensuring that important habitat restoration projects continue and that the programs are meeting the needs of teachers struggling to adapt curriculum to remote learning–an ongoing challenge in today’s COVID environment.

Crystal Cove Conservancy is the nonprofit public benefit partner to Crystal Cove State Park, employing a social enterprise model to fund important preservation, education and conservation initiatives that will cultivate our planet’s next generation of environmental stewards and ensure that Crystal Cove, and places like it, live on for generations.

The Conservancy works in partnership with California State Parks to provide stewardship support for Crystal Cove’s nearly 2,800 acres of public lands including: The Crystal Cove Historic District and beach cottages (a National Register of Historic Places site); 2,400 acres of wilderness habitat in the Moro Canyon watershed (a National Natural Landmark site); over three miles of rocky beach coastline and intertidal habitat; 400 acres of coastal bluff habitat; and special underwater and offshore areas including the Crystal Cove State Marine Conservation Area.

By being a stewardship partner, the Conservancy has been uniquely positioned to develop a nationally recognized STEM education program that uses community science and monitoring to immerse students and community members in the practice of conservation and open space management.

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