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Vandenberg dependents help educate community on marine life

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Students explain the characteristics of jellyfish to visitors on Feb. 20. Cabrillio High School presented the local community with a look at the underwater habitats surrounding the Central Coast and the Channel Islands. The exhibits, which were part of a student-ran aquarium, are used to teach hundreds of elementary school students of the different ecosystems living around them. Nine of the students in the class are military dependents from Vandenberg. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christian Thomas)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Students explain the characteristics of jellyfish to visitors on Feb. 20. Cabrillio High School presented the local community with a look at the underwater habitats surrounding the Central Coast and the Channel Islands. The exhibits, which were part of a student-ran aquarium, are used to teach hundreds of elementary school students of the different ecosystems living around them. Nine of the students in the class are military dependents from Vandenberg. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christian Thomas)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Students from Cabrillio High School presented the local community with a look at the underwater habitats surrounding the Central Coast and the Channel Islands on Feb. 20. The exhibits, which were part of a student-ran aquarium, are used to teach hundreds of elementary school students of the different ecosystems living around them. Nine of the students in the class are military dependents from Vandenberg. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christian Thomas)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Students from Cabrillio High School presented the local community with a look at the underwater habitats surrounding the Central Coast and the Channel Islands on Feb. 20. The exhibits, which were part of a student-ran aquarium, are used to teach hundreds of elementary school students of the different ecosystems living around them. Nine of the students in the class are military dependents from Vandenberg. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christian Thomas)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Katy Narva teaches Krista and Steven Eisen about underwater ecosystems on Feb. 20. Cabrillio High School presented the local community with a look at the underwater habitats surrounding the Central Coast and the Channel Islands. The exhibits, which were part of a student-ran aquarium, are used to teach hundreds of elementary school students of the different ecosystems living around them. Nine of the students in the class are military dependents from Vandenberg. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christian Thomas)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Katy Narva teaches Krista and Steven Eisen about underwater ecosystems on Feb. 20. Cabrillio High School presented the local community with a look at the underwater habitats surrounding the Central Coast and the Channel Islands. The exhibits, which were part of a student-ran aquarium, are used to teach hundreds of elementary school students of the different ecosystems living around them. Nine of the students in the class are military dependents from Vandenberg. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christian Thomas)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Blessing Mullis, a vandenberg dependent, helps Jonah Schneider build an otter with his father, Austin, on Feb. 20. Cabrillio High School presented the local community with a look at the underwater habitats surrounding the Central Coast and the Channel Islands. The exhibits, which were part of a student-ran aquarium, are used to teach hundreds of elementary school students of the different ecosystems living around them. Nine of the students in the class are military dependents from Vandenberg. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christian Thomas)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Blessing Mullis, a vandenberg dependent, helps Jonah Schneider build an otter with his father, Austin, on Feb. 20. Cabrillio High School presented the local community with a look at the underwater habitats surrounding the Central Coast and the Channel Islands. The exhibits, which were part of a student-ran aquarium, are used to teach hundreds of elementary school students of the different ecosystems living around them. Nine of the students in the class are military dependents from Vandenberg. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christian Thomas)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Nine Vandenberg dependents went above and beyond to support the Cabrillo High School Aquariums production of the Jason Project Feb. 20.

The student-ran Aquarium presents the Jason Project to elementary school students and the local community every year.

The Jason Project began by Dr. Bob Ballard to encourage and educate children on scientific discovery. Dr. Ballard known for his discovery of the Titanic began the project in 1986 after an influx of letters from students who wanted to go exploring with him, according to the Jason Project website.

The Cabrillo Aquarium has been involved in the project for several years. Their involvement includes educating about ecosystems.

"We have been presenting the Jason project for the past six or seven years," said Derek Ramsey, the head curator of communications and public relations for the aquarium. "It is a great learning experience for those involved as well as the hundreds of elementary school students that come through the aquarium."

This year's theme was Revisiting The Channel Islands, a tour of the underwater habitats and fish that can be found around the Channel Islands and the Central Coast. The students used a theme similar to this one a couple years ago simply called: The Channel Islands, said Mr. Ramsey.

"We didn't want to have the same name as the previous theme, so we decided to revisit," he said. "And rightfully so, the two years are very different in content."

The students push the idea that it is important to preserve ocean habitats in order to secure our everyday lifestyle activities.

"One thing that we have stressed is the importance of the kelp forest," Mr. Ramsey said. "Kelp is used on an everyday basis in many different ways. If we don't preserve their habitat, they will not produce quick enough to meet the needs of their uses."

Vandenberg's nine dependents were part of a team of around 30 that set-up, presented, and managed the material of the event.

"This was a lot of hard work," said Katy Narva, a dependent and co-curriculum coordinator for the event. "The work we did was not just pencils and paper, but a lot of hands- on activity."

The dependents, which are Amy Jenness, David Boher, Rachel Adams, Katy Narva, Caitlin Lewis, Rob Bedell, Gabi Palacios, Jessica Carreon and Blessing Mullis, are not done educating the community on the importance of marine life. Next month they will be presenting the community with 'March Marine Mammal Madness', an alliteration that the entire family can enjoy, Mr. Ramsey said.

For more info on the aquarium visit www.cabrilloaquarium.org.