June 9, 2019
The LA Conservation Corps announces that the SEA Lab will be closing at the end of June 2019. For more than 20 years, the SEA Lab has greeted hundreds of thousands of school-aged students from school trips, rescued and rehabbed thousands of fish and marine animals, maintained a native plant nursery, raised abalone, organized beach clean-ups and much more. The decision to shutter the doors was reached earlier this month after in depth deliberation between the staff and the Corps’ Board of Directors and in close communication with local partners.
The Corps is proud of the many successes that the SEA Lab and its dedicated staff garnered for the community, sea creatures, and Corpsmembers it served. The organization hopes to move forward in a spirit of celebration and remembrance.
Wendy Butts, the CEO of the Los Angeles Conservation Corps stated: “We’d like to celebrate the one-of-a-kind Marine Science facility we call the SEA Lab. The South Bay community has embraced us as we set out to educate visitors and encourage environmental stewardship. This program has been a great success for us. We’ll move on knowing that we accomplished a lot at the SEA Lab.”
The recent change of ownership of the building that has been home to the SEA Lab for many years prompted the Corps to take an in depth look at the financial and programmatic realities of running an aquarium and best serving the community and our Corpsmembers.
The staff is working to find new homes with various local partners for the marine animals currently in residence at the SEA Lab, and supporting Corpsmembers in finding their next jobs in the marine science education field. Butts shares, “Our SEA Lab Corpsmembers are extraordinary, passionate, inspiring young adults who have incredible goals ahead of them, many of which they say were sparked by their education, mentorship and empowerment at the SEA Lab.”
The Corps will be exploring options for keeping Corpsmembers involved in ocean conservation work in the Redondo Beach area through strategic partnerships with community-based organizations and will be continuing to explore opportunities for a presence in the South Bay in the coming months/years with the City of Redondo Beach and our current partners.
Maria Madrigal, the SEA Lab’s long-time staff member and current Director is resigning her post. She adds: “I am proud of all that we created and accomplished. I am honored for having the opportunity to share the marine environment with students of all ages.”
The SEA Lab team will hold its scheduled summer events as planned, including the June 15th Shark Saturday!, the June 22nd Redondo Beach Bluffs Habitat Restoration Volunteer Day, and the June 22nd Naturalist Sketching: Seasonal Changes of the Redondo Beach Bluffs. All events can be found on eventbrite and at http://www.lacorps.org/events.
The SEA Lab is first and foremost grateful to the community for its support. Including AES who graciously provided the property that housed the SEA Lab. Current Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand and other officials have been great champions of the facility. In addition to school classes and people in the community, the SEA Lab has also welcomed the local media, many who have visited and supported the SEA Lab.
About the Los Angeles Conservation Corps
The LA Conservation Corps is an environmentally focused youth development organization. We unleash the power of youth to preserve our natural resources and beautify our urban environments. Corpsmembers make Los Angeles’ underserved urban neighborhoods better places to live, work, learn and play. In the course of restoring the environment and serving their communities, youth are empowered to chart their own courses toward rising out of poverty.