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Our History

The Cabrillo High School Aquarium began as a partnership between a student, and a teacher, and a local physician/amateur aquarist who agreed to sponsor the formers' science project -- The Warm Water Reef.

This original partnership soon blossomed into hundreds of partnerships among students, teachers, district staff, and members of the business community -- locally and nationally.

Thousands of visitors, including those in weekly guided tours for elementary students, have toured our hands-on-learning laboratory. Our students receive scholarships to continue their studies in marine science and environmental sciences.

Each student that is involved in this program has an opportunity to utilize their textbook knowledge and apply this knowledge in a practical way. You cannot learn how to use a hammer and nail from a textbook, you must apply those tools to some worthwhile project. A person cannot truly learn about the sea unless they have some working relationship with the sea and its inhabitants. This is the reason so many people have donated their time and effort to this award winning marine laboratory.

The second very important part of this facility is partnershipping. The definition of a partnership is to have a joint interest or an association with two or more members. This concept has been expanded and utilized and is still maturing.

Without the partnerships of students, teachers, custodians, and administrators, this facility would not be possible. The second half of our partnership was to come up with a dream that would benefit not only education but parents, the community and industry as well. Individuals and business in all of these areas have generously helped in the development of this facility.

Our program has received the President of the United States' Environmental Youth Award and the California School Boards Assoc. Golden Bell Award. It was recognized on the nationally televised "A Pledge And A Promise Environmental Education Awards" program as the most outstanding Marine Science Education Program.  Click here for an extensive list of our many awards and accomplishments.

Groundbreaking Ceremony

In June of 1999, years of innovation and student and community participation reached a new milestone. With the support of the Lompoc Unified School District, construction of our new, current facility began.  Here are photos of the Groundbreaking Ceremony.

From Left to Right: Congresswoman Lois Capps, Roger Phillips, Matt Rambo, Lt. Cmdr. Ed Cassano, Sue Schuyler, Former Lompoc Mayor Joyce Howerton, State Sen. Jack O'Connell, Judge Tim Staffel, Assemblyman Abel Maldonado

Rep. Lois Capps presents Student Head Curator, Mathew Rambo-Cleek and Aquarium Advisor Dave Long with official U.S. House of Representatives certificate of recognition.

Front Row, from Left to Right: Congresswoman Lois Capps; Senator Jack O'Connell; Assemblyman Abel Maldonado; NOAA Global Affairs, John Kermond; LUSD School Board President Sue Schuyler; Dr. Debra Bradley, Superintendent LUSD; Joe Valencia; Former Lompoc Mayor Dick DeWees; Judge Tim Staffel; Lt. Commander Ed Cassano, Channel Islands Sanctuary Manager; Roger Phillips, Architect; Dave Long, Aquarium Advisor; Matt Rambo, Student Head Curator.

The NOAA Display

Senator Jack O'Connell and Alice Miligan

Congresswoman Lois Capps