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Marine Biology Camps on Catalina Island California

The Most Desirable Cove on Catalina: Camp Emerald Bay

img_2400_zps61378fc9Emerald Bay is on the west end of the island and is home to one of the most popular marine biology camps on Catalina, run by Mountain and Sea Adventures. This cove is naturally protected by a small point and rocky reefs, creating a safe and calm estuary for marine life to thrive. The gentle ocean conditions allow campers with limited experience swimming to safely enjoy such activities as snorkeling, kayaking, and free time playing on the beach.

The facilities at Emerald Bay make it among the most elite marine biology camps on Catalina, with a fully functional salt water aquarium allowing campers to see more than four various local marine ecosystems, as well as the opportunity to pet a shark or ray in the shark touch tanks!

The very first activity upon arriving at class teaches students how to use a field journal and begin organizing their field research notes to form their own hypothesis and conclusions. Each class has a lecture phase and a corresponding field activity, allowing campers to develop a personal understanding and love for the world of natural sciences.

credit-annefmaben89Upon stepping off the boat, students are immediately surrounded in an the awe and beauty of one of California’s most cherished natural resources. The Channel Islands are only a short boat ride away from southern California coastal communities, but is so undeveloped and abundant in wildlife that it feels as if they have arrived to a distant and remote island paradise!

Emerald Bay is the most remote camp on the island and the furthest camp towards the west end. Which means campers staying here often see a lot of wild life, from deer to bison and the endemic Island Fox, found only on Catalina! Also frequently seen are bald and golden eagles, and a plethora of marine mammals, sea birds and other forms of both terrestrial and marine life.

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A Very Unique Catalina Island Camp – Mountain and Sea Adventures

A Life Changing Environmental Education Program

credit-annefmaben12Mountain and Sea Adventures (MSA) has been running Catalina Island camp programs since 1997, and has noticed that a student’s camp experience is one of the most important and transformational programs in their academic career. It is for this reason that the staff have focused a great deal of their efforts on encouraging youth to develop themselves and improve their self image by overcoming any fear or other obstacles they may face.

Being out in the great outdoors during an overnight camping trip to a remote destination such as Catalina Island camp allows youth to become fully immersed in their natural surroundings, where they can explore and learn about natural science.

Building Character In Youth

13631612_1062928540450839_6861299100847111435_nWhen youth come to camp on Catalina Island they are immediately placed outside of their comfort zones. There are no devices to distract their attention away from their incredible surroundings, allowing them to play and learn with each other to a deeper extent then they may have the opportunity to in their schools and homes. Being outside their comfort zones gives them the unique opportunity and challenge to develop various aspects of themselves, overcome limiting self beliefs, and feel safe to just be kids in the great outdoors!

Every class and program MSA teaches focuses on a particular character trait, such as courage, perseverance, and environmental stewardship. The staff and camp counselors are specially trained to inspire and encourage campers to face their fears and gradually overcome their limitations. By the time each student boards the ferry to head back home, they are walking with greater confidence and improved sense of self worth.

The Empowering Impact of a Camp Counselor

The bond that is created between students and their camp counselors is a unique one. Camp staff are usually graduated college students who take a year or two and come life the amazing lifestyle of Catalina Island camp. The fact that they are usually younger in age than most of their teachers makes the staff seem more like peers to the campers than their seniors. This gives the camp counselors a unique chance to inspire and speak greatness into the hearts of the campers in their class who look up to them.

Hands On Field Science Activities

IMG_2396_zps9508f396Another incredibly empowering and life-changing experience that each camper has is the full immersion into the world of marine biology and field science. Each student learns to keep a field journal during their first class upon arriving at camp. They are introduced to the scientific method and begin to engage in real field science research activities during each program session.

Hands on field science activities allow students to see the real magic in scientific research. Science becomes more real to them, and they soon see how it is a tool for observing and understanding their environment more thoroughly. Field biology allows students to engage with the natural world of the great outdoors in a way that fuels their imagination and wonder for life.

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