REEF Teacher Testimonials

"Ballard 1st grade has been coming to you for about 5 years now.  I appreciate that your students can adjust the program to 1st grade.  They [the docents] keep it challenging, asking probing questions, and pulling in prior knowledge.  They allow so much hands-on with the animals and teach not only about the animals but also conservation and respect for the ocean.  Thanks, we love coming to the UCSB reef program. "

Debi Santoro,Teacher
Ballard School

"My first graders loved the field trip we took to The Reef. The students from UCSB who led the groups in their exploration were engaging, knowledgeable and informative.  It was a wonderful hands-on learning experience.  We had many conversations following the field trip about how important it is to do our part to help the Earth and someone always referenced something they learned when we were at The Reef."

Marsi Gore
Bridges Charter School
Thousand Oaks, CA

"It would be my pleasure to give feedback about our visit to the Reef! My 4th and 5th grade class attended a UCSB tour of campus and visit to the Reef back in February 2012. My students wrote about this visit as well. Some said that it was the best field trip they had ever taken. Coming in contact with real sea life and being able to touch these wonders was definitely the highlight of my students' visit to the Reef. The staff was knowledgeable and very friendly as well. My small class was a perfect fit for the two different areas of participation at the Reef. I have 25 students and we split them into 2 groups. One group went down to the reef and enjoyed a hands-on activity. I even found a Mermaid's Purse! Once the actitivity was finished outdoors, the two groups switched places and after being outdoors, my group went indoors to learn about the ocean life in the touch tanks. My students absolutely loved this part of the Reef tour!
I hope to take future classes to the Reef!
Thank you for the opportunity!"

Paula Martinez-Wiggins
4th/5th Grade Teacher
Olga Reed School
Orcutt School Distirct
Los Alamos Ca.

"I have brought my AP Biology students to the REEF for several years and they always enjoy the experience of getting to observe and handle the animals that they are learning about. They have told me that their visit is one of the most memorable things they do during their junior and senior years in high school and the experience is helpful to them when they take their AP test. ... your students who run our visit are knowledgable and my students enjoy the interaction with them."

Dana Grooms
Thousand Oaks High School

"As an educator of bilingual education and a teacher passionate about science I have been very pleased with you and your team this year and last year as a wonderful co-partner of the Kids in Nature program through UCSB that our fifth graders participate in year round. My current and former students still talk about our fieldtrip to REEF and all the amazing marine animals and knowledge you and your team have imparted to them, enabling me to increase our test scores, increase content knowledge of science, and kindle in them a  life-long love and interest in science and higher learning. I was also deeply appreciative of your team's support of our first ever Adelante Charter School Science Night that I helped lead. It was amazing to have a touch tank on site reaching again not only our 5th graders but all of our K-6 students, families, and staff. Thanks so much for being a wonderful addition and support to my class."

Maestra Mayra Curiel
Adelante Charter School
Santa Barbara

"I took a group of 20 visiting Japanese middle-school students to the REEF. It was one of the highlights of their 10-day educational trip to California. They thoroughly enjoyed the hands-on activities and learned a lot about marine life. We followed up with a field trip to the beach which they also loved. Some of them had never been to the beach before. Many of the students were shy about using English so it was really helpful to have such friendly and informative students staffing the center.  I have visited the REEF several times over the years in a different capacity - as a parent accompanying my child on an elementary school field trip. It was always a huge success and going back more than once just improved the experience. I think students spend so many hours on their phones/laptops, etc. that it is a wonderful change of pace to be in a place where they get to put their hands into the water and pick up shark’s eggs, etc.  Thanks for hosting so many groups over the years. It is a great resource and appreciated by all the parents and teachers who have had the opportunity to visit."

Catriona Gay
Yakumo JHS Academy


"My students had an amazing time first learning about the fresh and marine environments, adaptations of marine species and the environmental challenges facing intertidal species during their first visit to REEF.  Students then applied this knowledge into an inquiry project they developed with the guidance of the UCSB REEF staff.  Students gained the experience of collaborating with another scientist, going through the experimental design process and collecting data with live species.  This was such a rich experience for the students because they worked with enthusiastic and knowledgeable scientists that challenged them to develop their research further and strengthen their experiments.   I would never have the resources or time to be able to have the diversity of salt water tanks found at REEF in my classroom. The close access to the beach and lagoon also strengthen the experience of the students as they can easily compare species in a controlled environment in the REEF facility to the natural environments right outside the REEF building.  I was impressed with the support my students received in tackling this project. Scott did a tremendous job of preparing us for each of our visits as well as accommodating the unique requests and needs of my students. The REEF staff was incredibly flexible with their presentations and the needs of my students. It was clear that they truly cared about the experience my students had and that they wanted to challenge each student no matter what their prior knowledge was.  I find this authentically differentiated instruction can be rare in experiential education and I deeply appreciate that the REEF staff took the time to get to know my students and my learning objectives.  I was grateful and appreciated that the REEF staff provided my students with the materials they needed to complete their experiments, all of which are items I do not have a budget with which to purchase.   The REEF staff went above and beyond and even accommodated students who missed the original field trip and cheerfully met them on a weekend.  The dedication and passion of the REEF staff is clear.   If the mission of the REEF is to educate and ignite enthusiasm for marine biology then the REEF staff's passion and hands-on experiences certainly did just that for my students. Many of my students said this was the highlight of the year and planned to take their families to the REEF facility.   


Jannine Tuttle
Marymount Middle School