June 5, 2019

Dear Friends,

On behalf of the Los Angeles Conservation Corps Board of Directors and staff, I would like to share with you that we have made the difficult decision to bring our SEA Lab program and site in Redondo Beach to a close at the end of June 2019.

As you may know, for more than 20 years, our SEA Lab team of Corpsmembers and staff 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 program's doors was reached earlier this month after in-depth deliberation between our staff and Board of Directors, in close communication with our local partners. 

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. 

Undoubtedly, we are proud of the many successes that our dedicated SEA Lab staff garnered for the community, sea creatures, and Corpsmembers it served. Please know that our staff is currently working to find new homes with various local partners for the marine animals in residence at the SEA Lab and we welcome any direct contacts for suitable homes. 

As we close out this chapter of our organization's history, we will move forward in a spirit of celebration and remembrance. With that in mind, I would like to close this message with several expressions of gratitude:

  • We are forever grateful for the many ways that South Bay neighbors, the greater community, and so many of you embraced us when we set out to educate visitors and encourage environmental stewardship via the SEA Lab program. We thank AES who graciously provided the property that housed and financially supported our operations at the SEA Lab; we thank current Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand and other City of Redondo Beach officials who have been great champions of the facility; we thank the many school classes, visiting families, local media and community partners who supported us in their own ways. As a nonprofit, we cannot exist without being embraced by our community, and we thank you! The Corps 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. If the SEA Lab has made a difference in your life, we hope you will email us a message to share with our SEA Lab colleagues at info@lacorps.org.

  • We are thankful for the heart-full people that powered the SEA Lab for so many years. While Maria Madrigal, a long-time staff member and current Director of the SEA Lab, is resigning from the Corps, we are thankful for her compassionate service to our mission. She was often behind the scenes, encouraging young Corpsmembers to step up and step out into the limelight. Maria has been a true example of the best that the nonprofit spirit has to offer. We are grateful for her leadership and all she helped create and accomplish at the SEA Lab over two decades. Her team has been extraordinary, even through difficult times. We thank each of them for giving above and beyond the call of duty.

  • We are proud of our Corpsmembers, their growth, their camaraderie, and their ambitions. 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. We will be exploring options for keeping them involved in ocean conservation work in the Redondo Beach area through strategic partnerships with other community-based organizations. And, as we work to support them in finding their next jobs in conservation or education related fields, we welcome any community connections to help them on their paths.

  • We appreciate the continued support of our nonprofit from the greater Los Angeles community, including you. The Corps will continue to work toward transforming youth and enhancing communities, on-mission to provide at-risk young adults and school-aged youth with opportunities for success well into the future.

Thank you, thank you, thank you all. We hope you will carry forward many more acts of service and compassion to support our environment, oceans, and youth in ways that are meaningful to you. Together, we have made a difference.

Very Sincerely,

Wendy Butts
Chief Executive Officer
Los Angeles Conservation Corps

We hope you will find time to join us at any of our closing events with the SEA Lab team, as we will hold their 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 www.lacorps.org/events. 

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’ under-served 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.
If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies. - Unknown
213.362.9000 | info@lacorps.org