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Environmental Science

The Best Outdoor Environmental Education Program in California

Outdoor Education Builds Character And A Passion For Learning

250354_155784427831926_7442142_nOutdoor education programs are a great means for California residents to enjoy a wide variety of incredible natural resources from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the Channel Islands. Visiting such places is a wonderful opportunity for students to receive the inspiration to inspire them in their academic pursuits. Many times youth walk away from our programs with a firm determination to pursue higher education and with dreams and goals for their careers.

Mountain and Sea Adventures (MSA) has been running outdoor environmental education programs in California for nearly twenty years, with campuses in such breathtaking and prestigious locations as Big Bear and Catalina Island. MSA has a unique passion and focus on increasing awareness of the marine environment by leading hands-on activities in and on the water, and giving students the chance to discuss amongst themselves possible solutions and alternatives to various threats to the Ocean environment.

MSA’s Outdoor Education Curriculum and Activities

One of the most unique aspects of MSA’s outdoor education curriculum and activities is the focus on imparting altruistic personality traits and building character. Each activity in our program emphasizes a core value such as courage and perseverance. Camp counselors teach and model these values while structuring safe opportunities for each student to break their fears and develop a stronger sense of self worth and confidence. After just a few days at camp, each student receives a boost of self-esteem and improved self-image.

One of the main benefits of all outdoor education activities is the hands-on nature of each lesson. Each lecture is only the introductory phase of every lab and learning session, the real education happens with the actual activity, which gives students a chance to gain first hand experience of the subject matter and discover how fin and exciting field biology truly is!

Benefits of Outdoor Education

281713_155706641173038_4088688_nOne of the greatest benefits of outdoor education is the manner in which it immerses students in the world of natural sciences, and opens their minds to the infinite possibilities for exploring and learning about the environment surrounding them in ever more fascinating ways. Even students whom previously had no personal interest in science find them selves soon becoming deeply interested in science as a way for deepening their capacity to immerse themselves in the study and appreciation of nature.

One thing educators who take their class to camp can experience from their outdoor education experience is an improved morale and bond between your students. The activities during outdoor education science camp stretch each student to the edge of their comfort zones, and bring the whole class together in support for each other. This is the perfect opportunity to celebrate as a class at the end of your school year, or to build a sense of solidarity within your students at the beginning of the school year.

Importance of Outdoor Environmental Education

If we wish to preserve our natural resources it is absolute necessary to educate the next generation and help foster their sense of appreciation for these treasures to be enjoyed for many future generations to come. When we consider that people only conserve what they love, and they only love what they know, we can readily see the great importance of outdoor environmental education for California students. The more they are immersed in the beauty of these wild places, the more effort will be placed on preserving the various wildlife, flora and fauna, which require a very sensitive balance between nature and human civilization in order to continue to exist.

Raising awareness of the various threats to the environment allows concerned citizens to then implement a course of action to correct and repair any environmental damage. Education is the primary method for raising awareness of the environment, the importance of which cannot be overlooked.

MSA’s Environmental Education Activities and Lesson Plans

The first phase of MSA’s environmental education lesson plan is to fully immerse the campers in nature, through activities such as snorkeling, hiking, kayaking and hands on field research projects. This total immersion sparks an appreciation for nature that cannot be gained through textbooks and classroom lectures. The opportunity to get their hands dirty while conducting actual field biology research given them the chance to fully experience the natural world deeper than they have sense they were young children. This is the basis for the great excitement that comes over students as their enthusiasm and morale for participating in the environmental education activities and lesson plans is heightened with every lab.

For those seeking a powerful method for sparking a lifelong passion and appreciation for environmental and natural sciences, there is no better way than with MSA’s outdoor education programs around California.

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How To Teach Environmental Education In A Way That Children Love

Teaching Facts That Enrich Their Experiences

13754173_1064422580301435_8860952737124649154_nEnvironmental education should be taught in a manner that allows for hands on activities with the elements and aspects of nature they are learning about. Anything can become infinitely more interesting when you know the top most amazing facts about that subject. Even an old Eucalyptus tree in the corner of the campus can become the topic of great scientific investigation when one learns to ask the right questions, such as: Where does it come from? When and why was it introduced? What sorts of animals live in these trees in their natural habitat?

Suddenly the object of investigation transforms into something with a unique story as well as an important role to fulfill in the local environment. This can be an awe-inspiring moment that allows students to discover the utility of science as a means for experiencing and understanding the world around us with greater acuity.

Giving Youth A Way To Immerse Themselves In Nature More Fully

13709951_1062928927117467_5813011618079619977_nOne incredibly aspect of science is field biology research. This gives students the opportunity to get out of their classrooms, set aside the textbooks, and apply their understandings to the real world they are a part of. Science then becomes a vehicle for furthering their self-development and accelerating ability to comprehend the world around them and their relationship to it.

After a certain point of development, people are discouraged from playing, making believe, and getting their hands dirty in the great outdoors. Science is a way to not only revive this genuine and most human of abilities, but it gives the imagination a platform for expressing it’s highest potential, as the catalyst for knowledge and scientific principles to develop and reveal them selves.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” – Albert Einstein

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3 Tried And True Ways To Turn Your Students Into Scientist

13631544_1062929037117456_7422598147543401713_nThe very moment each participant arrives at Mountain and Sea Adventures (MSA) camp, they are immersed into a world of scientific exploration and discovery. The hands-on approach MSA embraces gives each student the opportunity to learn from experience and apply their observations towards developing their own hypothesis and theories. In this light, science becomes a part of their living and breathing reality, it is no longer an impersonal academic subject – but a method they can use to immerse themselves deeper and deeper into the natural world that surrounds them.

After nearly twenty years of teaching environmental science to students around the world, MSA has noticed a few core components for inspiring a personal love and appreciation for science in the hearts of students.

Here are the three main ways you can encourage your students to think and interact with the world like scientist.:

  1. The Field Journal.

credit-AnneFMaben8The field journal is the way a scientist organizes their observations in the field, together with their own notes and ideas, to notice patterns in the subject of their research and develop insight.

When students are taught to keep a field journal, they often times develop a very close bond with it, and see the potential it has to become a great tool and resource in not only their scientific investigations, but in many other ways, as well. Students whom learn the value of keeping a field journal are much more likely to keep better notes during classes and perform better academically.

  1. Applying the Scientific Method To Develop A Theory.

The field journal is a tool to implement the scientific method towards your own research projects. The scientific method is the theory behind the practices and techniques used in the field. When students gain a personal understanding of the scientific method it fuels their imaginations and enriches their interactions with the natural world, which has now transformed into their own personal laboratory for exploring curiosity and developing ideas.

  1. Field Research Activities.

Once the field journal is ready and an understanding of the scientific method has been imparted, the final component is to get your hands dirty. The field is the final frontier in science. By creating the opportunity for your students to develop their curiosity and a natural phenomenon in their surroundings, you can allow your pupils to realize that the whole world can become the field for conducting scientific investigation.

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Understanding The Threat To Californias Kelp Forests

Although not many residents of California are currently aware, there are major concerns regarding the vanishing kelp forests, which are one the most important marine ecosystems and habitats.

Giant kelp is a type of brown algae that grows above rocky reefs typically no more deep than ninety feet. Massive kelp beds form creating one of the most diverse marine ecosystems in the world.

California has already seen an 80% reduction in giant kelp forests in the last hundred years, one of the primary concerns for the kelp forests is the amount of contaminated storm water entering the oceans from the cities and carrying various pollutants along with it.

Warmer Ocean Water

One of the most well documented events concerning loss of kelp forest habitats was in San Diego County, when the nuclear generating station at San Onofre discharged heated water destroying over 150 acres of kelp forests.

Although many people accused the nuclear generating station of releasing toxic water, it was more than likely the sudden increase in warm water that caused the giant kelp to die off to rapidly.

Giant kelp thrives in cooler waters, which remain below 69 to 70 degrees. Another reason for the decline in kelp forests could be due to an increase in global ocean temperatures, however this would need to increase significantly to completely halt all growth.

Sea Otters And Kelp Forests

The loss of much of California’s kelp forests also coincides with another missing member of Calfiornia’s marine habitats, and that is the sea otter. Sea otters were almost hunted to extinction in California long before it was ever a state, but Californian’s have made great progress in bringing back this incredibly valuable part of the ocean’s health.

Sea otters maintain the health of kelp forests by keeping the populations of sea urchins and other invertebrates in balance. If left unmanaged, sea urchin populations can grow too large and destroy an entire kelp forest by eating away at their base.

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How To Build Character In Your Students Through Hands On Field Science Activities

The scientific method empowers students to apply their cognitive faculties to its optimal potential, deepening their experience of the natural world and enriching their interactions with all life.

Introducing Students To The Scientific Method

IMG_3912_zps185c18d0When students realize for them selves how much fun it is to explore the natural world as a field scientist, it opens up their eyes to the possibilities that await them. This initial awakening to the wonders of science is enough to inspire students to consider pursuing higher education and careers in the various scientific fields.

This is the job of every good science teacher, to awaken a love for science in the hearts of their students by making it a real living breathing aspect of their lives, and displaying how to apply the scientific method to explore their own thoughts and ideas.

Applying Scientific Principles To Daily Life

IMG_2405_zps364e8fbeGood science is all about asking the right questions, and learning how to perceive the topic of your research with greater awareness. The more students learn to observe their environment, the more they can notice the patterns and interrelationships as they unfold, and use this data to apply towards developing their own theories.

In this way, the mental faculties of each student are allowed to fully blossom. Their ability to problem and engage in critical thinking is approved, as well. Field science teaches students to use their mind as a tool for understanding their surroundings, allowing them to make better life choices and healthier decisions.

Seeing The World Through The Eyes Of A Scientist

An incredible thing happens when a student becomes passionate about science, they are able to immerse themselves in experiencing life with heightened sensitivity and awareness. They begin to notice the smaller details and intricate aspects of so many things they overlooked before. Their ability to think objectively and analyze the relevancy of various facts is improved, as they learn how to harness the discriminative powers of their own minds.

Taking It A Step Further

There are many ways a science teacher can go about imparting a personal love and passion for science in their students. One of the best ways is teaching how to keep and use a field journal. The field journal personalizes the process of scientific research, and gives each student a departure point to develop his or her ideas into a hypothesis or theory.

By teaching your students how to keep a field journal, you are giving them all they need to take their understanding of science and apply it to their lives, where they can discover for themselves just how exciting the world of natural sciences truly is.

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The Effort To Re Introduce Sea Otters To Southern California

Sea otters are one of California’s most loved and adorable marine mammals, their presence is greatly missed and great efforts are being put into action to help preserve and restore the once thriving sea otter populations along our coast.

A Brief History of Sea Otters in southern California

Sea_otter_pair2Sea otters were once wide spread along the entire coastal north Pacific, from Japan to Alaska, and all the way down the west coast of North America to Baja Mexico. In California alone, sea otter populations were believed to be around six-teen thousand individuals. Then in the 17th and 18th centuries Russian and Spanish fur traders began exploiting sea otters for their pelts, and hunted them to the brink of extinction.

By the beginning of the 20th century it was assumed that sea otters were extinct, until in 1938 a small group of sea otters were found still thriving in the hidden crevices of Big Sur, California. It was estimated that there were 50 individuals surviving in this area.

California began one of its greatest conservation efforts to protect and allow this small population to repopulate the California coast. Today the population of sea otters descended from this small group found eighty years ago has risen to just under 3,000 individuals!

Why are sea otters so important to California’s marine ecosystems?

ssSea otters are a keystone species, meaning they have a larger role in maintaining the health of their ecosystems than other species. Sea otters love to eat benthic (mud dwelling) marine invertebrates, their diet ranges from abalone to sea urchins, crabs, marine snails, worms, sea stars, sand dollars, octopus, squid and others. However, most individuals specialize in one area of the over all sea otter diet.

The most abundant habitat for many marine animals are the kelp forests that line California’s coast, and provide an abundant resource for much of California’s local marine life. In recent years we have seen a sharp decline in kelp forests, this has been occurring for several reasons, such as rising ocean temperatures, but it is also occurring because of the absence of the sea otters. Sea otters keep the sea urchin numbers in balance; otherwise sea urchins eat the base of the kelp plant and eradicate entire forests.

enhanced-22150-1406642497-1Sea otters can eat a lot of sea urchins! One interesting fact about this lovable, not to mention smallest (and therefore cutest!) member of the marine mammal family, is that they have extremely fast metabolisms because this allows them to release the amount of heat they need to stay warm in the frigid North Pacific waters. An average sea otter will eat 25% of its own body weight per day!

Sea otters are integral members of California’s marine ecosystems, without them entire habitats are lost and contribute to the decrease in bio diversity.

What are the primary threats to sea otters?

Although sea otters have made a huge comeback in the last hundred years, their road to complete recovery is far from over. There are still many threats to sea otters; among the greatest are threats from chemical pollution, food limitation, loss of habitat, and nutritional deficiencies.

California has made some huge mistakes regarding their treatment of sea otters. Although sea otters were listed as endangered in 1977, just nine years later sea otters were officially banned from the southern California coast at the behest of the fishing industries, which saw sea otters as a threat to their commercial exploits. This allowed sea otters in southern California to be unprotected from harassment and harm.

During this time, any sea otters found were trapped and relocated to San Nicholas island, where it was claimed they would ‘be free from the threats of oil spills’; however, this effort was a disaster as many individual sea otters were either harmed or died trying to find their way home.

Beginning in 2001 the Fish and Wildlife Service declared that they would no longer trap and relocate sea otters, allowing them to return to southern California and repopulate.

Regardless of the recent changes in attitude and concern for reintroducing sea otters, their numbers have not grown much since 2006, in fact in 2010 the US Geological Survey announced that numbers had declined for the second year in a row. However, the Californian people showed greater enthusiasm and expressed greater interest in helping this incredibly valuable species recover.

In 2011, Californian Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation re-establishing the main source of funding for sea otter conservation programs, such as the California Sea Otter Fund, and has raised more than $1.5 million dollars in the last five years (well over their goal!).

How Can Sea Otters Be Re Introduced?

sea-otter-urchin-buffetAlthough other populations of sea otters have showed encouraging signs of recovery, such as 17% to 20% per year in some areas, the California sea otters have progressed at a much slower rate, only 5% to 6% per year. This is due to a higher mortality rate from white shark attack, bacterial and viral infections, toxicity, poisoning, and various infectious diseases.

The various inorganic pollutants traveling with the runoff from human habitations is considered to be the primary threat causing the decreased life span and high mortality rate for Californian sea otters.

In order for southern California’s sea otters to return and live healthy long lives, the quality of the water will need to continue to improve. As more and more Californians see the personal and collective benefits to implementing environmentally friendly alternatives, there seems to be hope yet for creating the right conditions for the sea otters to live.

What You Can Do To Help!

Californians have shown great interest in helping the sea otter populations to recover, and in recent years we have begun to realize the vital role they play on maintaining the overall health of marine ecosystems, particularly the kelp forest.

It is now evident that saving the sea otters not only means preserving this adorable and unique individual species, but it also means saving the foundation of our marine habitats.

There is only so much we can expect our Federal, State and local governments and agencies to achieve for us. The real contribution must come from the way we each chose to live our lives. What we pour down the drains will end up being what the sea otters swim in. By using less chemical detergents and solvents, and choosing to buy environmentally safe house hold products, we can each do our part to make the planet a better place for each and every one of us!

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Keeping A Field Journal: How To Transform Your Students Into Scientists

In the process of developing an educated appreciation for science, students use their field journals to take the scientific method into their own hands and make it a very real part of their individual lives. In this way, the field journal serves as the vehicle for developing a personal appreciation and love for science.

credit-AnneFMaben59Developing A Personal Appreciation And Love For Science

The field journal becomes the instrument that students of science use to capture their insights and other thoughts while out in the field. They are then able to ponder and interpret what they are observing into their own theories and ideas about the natural world, developing one more testable hypothesis to bring their concepts into reality.

The whole scientific method becomes an adventurous process of heightening sensitivity and deepening the student’s awareness and experience of the environment they are researching. Soon the natural world reveals its splendor and wonder, captivating the student and peaking their interest. The field journal then becomes the intermediary between raw experience and scientific analysis.

The student quickly discovers that the most important research equipment they have is their own mind and the field journal. All other technology is only complimentary.

The Field Journal

credit-AnneFMaben8As soon as students arrive at one of Mountain and Sea Adventures (MSA) programs on Catalina Island or Big Bear they are immediately introduced to how to set up, organize and keep a field journal. It is always a joy for the MSA staff to see the transformation that happens between the first class, when students reluctantly participate in what they perceive to be ‘just another school class’, to when they turn in their journals at the end of their camp experience, sometimes frantically requesting the instructors to be sure to return their journals promptly!

The field journal is a valuable tool for seeing your thoughts develop and evolve over time. This further engages the student and inspires them to immerse themselves further in their research, with a greater awareness and appreciation for the utility of the field journal.

Personalizing Our Experiences

One of the most valuable aspects of the field journal is in the way it takes an impersonal class lecture and gives it a vehicle for personal application. Now the students can listen to each new lecture with deeper interest, knowing that they will be able to apply what has been taught to their own observations and experiences in the field. Learning is no longer second-hand and based on what has already been written in texts books, but becomes a living breathing component of their lives that they can translate into their own personal writings. From a hypothesis to a theory to a scientific law, the writing that takes place in the student’s field journal gradually evolves.

credit-AnneFMaben71A Catapult For The Imagination

Many students often mistakenly think that science is cold and analytical, when the truth is that good science provides a foundation for the creative faculties, such as imagination, to unravel and reveal the untold mysteries of the natural world.

In this way, science is much like any other art form. Just like with music or fine art, the instruments, brushes and other tools are only the catalyst for the creative expression of the mind. In the same way, a field biologist utilizes many forms of technology, yet considers the imagination to be the first and most important laboratory.

Bringing Imagination To Reality

Scientists are like big kids; both spend most of their time engaged in elaborate imagination. Science can be seen as the ultimate venue for the imagination, where it is empowered to express its fullest potential. However, one of the most exciting things of all is that science is not limited to the realm of mere fantasy; but is focused on bringing thought into the material plane of measurable application.

In this way, a field biologist is constantly updating their mental vision by testing various hypothesis and analyzing the results as they unfold in the field. Eventually the scientist first discovers the theory in their imagination before explaining it, and finally proving it in a controlled environment.

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Learning The Scientific Method With Field Biology Activities

IMG_2396_zps9508f396Once the tools have been imparted, the scientific method provides a platform for immersing your self in the natural world more deeply, and allowing the creativity of the imagination to reach its apex. A science teacher, in this sense, is the one who reveals the grand wonder of the natural world to the student, and imparts a process for experiencing nature more fully.

How To Teach The Scientific Method To Children

Children have a natural inquisitiveness, and a great potential to allow their imaginations to guide them into deeper and deeper levels of inquiry and observation of the natural world around them.

This sense of wonder and inquiry that characterizes youth is a great resource for any field biologist, inspiring them to investigate their surroundings with a probing curiosity. There is literally no limit on what a scientist can arouse interest in and make the subject of further research; one is only limited by their own sense of wonder. In this sense, children have a unique capacity to take the world of natural science to its highest point.

A Platform For Imaginative Exploration

Good field science not only involves collecting, organizing and analyzing date; but requires a healthy and vivid imagination in order to notice the interrelationships between various patterns, and their hidden implications. Therefore, natural sciences can be seen as the ideal platform to allow the imagination to reach its fullest potential as the catalyst for scientific discovery.

The Field Journal

credit-AnneFMaben8Once the basic foundational scientific methods and practices have been learned, youth can then apply their curiosity and intrigue for exploring nature in a way that is most fulfilling. The main tool field biologists use to achieve this is the field journal, which allows them to apply the scientific method towards organizing the revealing the patterns of their observations.

One of the first things students learn when they embark on their outdoor education experience at science camp with Mountain and Sea Adventures is how to keep a field journal. This is kept with them for the duration of their stay, and quickly becomes one of their most valued possessions.

Students develop a personal attachment to their field journals once they begin recording their findings, theories and thoughts. The MSA staff encourages students to develop thoughtful conclusions and a hypothesis for each program activity they participate in.

This single week at camp provides a lifetime worth of inspiration and appreciation for field science, and demonstrates how to make the field journal a valuable addition to their lives as they learn to observe, ponder and describe their natural environment more and more acutely.

Immersing Your Students In Natural Sciences

credit-AnneFMaben15Now that your students have discovered the value of keeping a field journal, you can structure opportunities for them to become increasingly more immersed in the fascinating world of natural sciences. Gradually students discover just how fun and exciting learning really is, when they are given the reins to their own process of scientific exploration and discovery.

Now you are entering a very exciting level of science education, where the most mundane and over-looked specimen can become the subject of deep inquiry and investigation. The caterpillar crawling along the window seal, or the condensation gathering on the outside of a student’s water bottle. Every thing that we commonly take for granted and fail to notice can become the topic of great interest, as students observe, notice patterns and interrelationships between habitat factors, and use their critical factor to develop their own theories about what they have seen.

Field Science Activities On Your Own Campus

Once you begin opening your eyes to the resources and opportunities everywhere around you, you and your students will discover there is no end to what you can become curious about and make the topic of further scientific investigation.

One of the most important understanding to impart to students is that not only is science not a cold analytical process relegated to sterile laboratory environments, but it is an approach to experiencing life more intimately, observing your surroundings more keenly and applying your imagination to it’s fullest potential.

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How To Bring The Excitement Of Outdoor Education Into Your Classroom

The world of natural science is full of adventure and excitement, where youth can take their own ideas and theories about the world and apply them for real tangible results that they can actually observe for themselves.

Learning Science Is Exciting And Adventurous

What is it about coming out to science camp on Catalina Island with Mountain and Sea Adventures (MSA) that excites students, and sparks a lifelong love for the marine environment and world of natural sciences?

281903_155788194498216_6599672_nOutdoor education merely teaches youth how to open their eyes to perceiving the grand beauty of the natural world all around them. Field science becomes the vehicle for students to immerse themselves deeper and deeper in their awe-inspiring surroundings. Soon any aversion to academic learning is replaced by an ever-increasing urge to enjoy the fun activities of their outdoor educational experience.

In this sense, outdoor education is one of the most important academic experiences for youth, for it reveals to them that learning is not only fun, but also one of the most exciting endeavors they can embark upon.

Learning To See The Wonder Of Nature

Children love to play and make believe, exploring and discovering their environment in a way they never tire of. Natural sciences takes this exploratory sense of adventure in youth to its zenith, by showing them that there are no limits to what they can discover and learn through their own field research.

credit-AnneFMaben82The scientific method is the process of learning to ask the right questions, to have that same sense of wonder that a child has, so that you can set all your pre-existing ideas aside and arrive at your own understandings based on your own experience.

In fact, science is the last frontier of creative thought – where the inventive imagination of the left-brain meets the intellectual analysis of the right brain.

Rather than teaching your students that science is about definite laws, encourage them to see science as a field of limitless possibilities where they can bring their ideas and theories into the material world.

Immersing Your Students In The World Of Natural Sciences

The beautiful thing about studying natural sciences is that you do not have to wait until you are in a nature preserve or other exotic location to begin immersing your students. In fact, the natural world is all around us, all the time! Even when sitting in the classroom, the natural world is still unfolding its wonder.

Of course, you don’t have to stay in your classroom; even a short visit to your sports field or one of the plazas on your campus can be an exciting opportunity to immerse them in field biology.

Preparing Your Students For Their Outdoor Education Camp Experience

10302054_682080205202343_289783729261922074_nJust a few visits to the natural surroundings in their own school campus can prime your students for more, empowering them to begin seeing the world around them through the eyes of a field scientist.

By the time your students make it out to camp Emerald Bay on Catalina Island, or Camp Oakes in Big Bear, they have a head start on field biology that allows them to take full advantage of their incredible resources at camp, and to enjoy MSA’s life changing program to its fullest potential.

Bringing It Home: Implementing Your Camp Experience Into Your Classroom

By the time your students complete their camp experience and return to school, they have had their perspectives and ideas about science transformed. Science has now become a living breathing part of their life, a tool that they can use to increase their love and appreciation of the natural world.

Natural science does not begin when the school bell rings, and it does not end when they leave campus at the day’s end. When given the right perspective by their teachers, youth can come to see how their entire life is a laboratory for scientific research and experimentation.

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Where Scientists Are Born: Marine Biology Youth Camp on Catalina Island

Marine Biology Youth Camp

Catalina Island is a magical destination and one of the most rich and abundant natural resources in California. When visiting Catalina Island, which is less than twenty miles off short Los Angeles, students have the opportunity to participate in a wide range to educational and adventurous marine biology activities, such as snorkeling at one of the most desirable locations in the world, kayaking, dissecting squid, trawling for plankton and then observing them beneath microscopes, hiking the various trails that surround the camp, and lots more!

While snorkeling students get to see Garibaldi, opaleye, kelp bass, leopard sharks, shovelnose guitarfish, as well as the occasional seal, sea lion and/or dolphin visit! On land students may seem several endemic species of birds and mammals such as the quail, ground squirrel and fox.

The Natural Beauty of Catalina Island

Catalina Island is seventy-four miles of ecological preserve, with some of the most breathtaking landscape in California. Marine biology youth camp at Catalina Island is a rare and extremely valuable opportunity to immerse your students in the unspoiled beauty of nature.

With forty-eight miles of coastline, Catalina Island has a seemingly endless variety of marine and terrestrial habitats. There is an abundant of plant and wildlife, which makes this an ideal location to impart a passion for learning natural science and use the scientific method to explore nature, and arrive at your own conclusions and theories.

Learning To Observe The World Like A Field Biologist

For those interested in marine biology, camp at Catalina Island is the perfect chance to develop that interest and ‘try out’ life as an actual marine biologist field scientist. Students learn to keep a field journal and are taught to observe the world around them through the eyes of a scientist.

This full immersion into natural sciences sparks a deep love and appreciation for marine biology, and many do end up going back home and pursuing an higher education academic goal.

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