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Science Camp

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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The Life Changing Impact of Environmental Science Youth Camp On Catalina Island

Just eighteen miles off the coast of Los Angeles lay Santa Catalina Island, one of the largest island nature reserves in the world. With over 74 square miles of breathtaking landscape, Catalina Island is one of the most valuable natural resources in California.

Mountain and Sea Adventures (MSA) has been running youth programs on the island since 1998, and continues to bring thousands of students from around the Southwest to Catalina Island every year. Spending time in this beautiful ecological preserve gives youth a personal first-hand experience of the natural world, and from there – a personal appreciation and love develops. If it is true that we only preserve what we love, then MSA’s program is instrumental in providing the very experiences which inspire that very love for the natural environment in their hearts.

The Splendid Natural Beauty and Wonder of Emerald Bay

MSA runs their program at one of the most desirable and ecological diverse coves on Catalina Island, Emerald Bay. The facilities are just as impressive as the scenic beauty both inside and outside the beautiful emerald colored water. Resources such as the Pennington Marine Science Center, which has a salt water aquarium with displays of all the major ecosystems surrounding Emerald Bay, as well as multiple touch tanks, microscope labs and classrooms.

Surrounding Emerald Bay is the natural beauty of the ecological reserve, maintained by the Catalina Island Conservancy, with endless scenic views of untouched island coastline, rolling chaparral hills, and an abundance of wildlife such as Catalina Island Fox (endemic only to this island), mule deer, bison, and a wide variety of marine and terrestrial birds, including bald and golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, ravens, and rare migratory birds that travel thousands of miles such as arctic terns.

Why Children Love Environmental Science

One of the reasons Catalina Island is such a popular and desirable location to take groups and classes for the camp experience is because it is just remote enough to feel like they have left the country (kids often times think this!), but yet they are still in a safe, protected and well-connected, yet rustic location.

Camp is a safe place where students can let their guard down and just ‘be kids’. They are free to play and discover how fun and exciting the world of natural science really is! Camp program is always an adventure, and the line between ‘academic’ and ‘recreational’ time becomes less and less clear. That is because learning is fun, and all it takes is placing children in the right conditions for that realization to take place for them.

Outdoor Education Imparts A Love For The Natural Environment

When ‘play time’ becomes ‘learning time’, and vice versa, students are ready to apply themselves and participate in the outdoor educational program activities with greater interest and enjoyment, and therefore gain much more from it. With this total interest, students are immersed into their environment, and with the tools given to them during the lecture phase by their instructor – they are able to observe and interact with their surroundings like true field biologists.

Such full immersion into the awe-inspiring beauty of an ecological preserve like Catalina Island imparts the type of appreciation and love for the environment that transforms the student’s perspective for life.

Outdoor education is unique in its capacity to ignite a love for the environment, not only do students immerse themselves in the great outdoors through the activities, but they are taught valuable information regarding the various animals they may encounter, as well as a method for observing, recording data and studying them.

Students are both fully immersed and fully attentive, learning to observe their environment like field scientists. They then take their observations back to their outdoor classroom and develop testable hypothesis. In this way, the scientific method becomes a tool for taking their personal immersion into the natural world deeper and deeper.

Protecting What We Love

With such a rich personal experience of the natural world, students are often moved towards increasing their efforts to be more environmentally conscious and friendly. Those experiences at camp become deeply cherished memories, resulting in a deep love for these preserved places in nature. The vital importance of conserving them becomes increasingly more apparent.

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How To Build Intrigue For Environmental Science In The Heart Of Your Students!

Children love to play, but what if they could be taught to play in a way that enriches their encounters with the natural world and empowers them to bring their imaginative creations and thoughts to life!

Science is the bridge between fantasy and reality. The imagination is the first and most important laboratory for any scientist, no matter what their field of expertise. It is in the imagination of the scientist that the most important data, the results to experiments, and other various factors are put to the test.

The truth is, science is where the wonder that comes so naturally to children is kept alive, and is the platform that allows that wonder to be sustained and truly blossom. Science in and of itself is exciting enough as it is, a science teacher does not need to do so much to make science more exciting, they only need to reveal to their students that when they wake up to seeing the magnificence of the natural world around them, there is truly nothing more exciting than science!

The scientific method is a model for absorbing your self completely in the natural world, developing a more sensitive and acute perception of nature, and intensifying your interactions with that through heightened awareness, sustained observation, and controlled experimentation.

Science Is The Ultimate Platform For Imaginative Exploration

One of the first lessons that inspire students to think outside the box regarding the world of science is the understanding that science is fueled by, and facilitated by a strong and active imagination. Especially in the modern context of particle physics, quantum mechanics, string theories, etc., a vivid imagination is more important that ever.

Many of the greatest and most profound discoveries in the field of science were first born in the imaginations of the minds of the individual scientists, who then experimented and applied their abstract mental visions to the practical material world.

This process of experimenting and observing the results of your own visions is about as exciting as bringing the make believe world of fantasy into the living breathing dimension of reality! Imagine the thrill of scientifically proving that a vision you had in your imagination is accurate, tangible and real!

Learning How To Observe And Think For Your Self

A scientist is taught to ask questions, and to use deductive reasoning to separate fact from fiction. Each individual observer is urged to stand on their own two feet and use their own mental faculties to derive their own personal conclusions.

This is incredibly important for the intellectual development of each individual student. Rather than merely memorizing facts and regurgitating the same information that was spoon fed to them, students learn how to view things objectively, how to organize and process information, and to observe and scrutinize the testable factors through controlled experimentation.

The World Is Your Field Science Laboratory

Once the first epiphany regarding the intellectually empowering aspects of science has been realized, the student of natural sciences now begins to perceive and experience the world around them differently. Now they are able to fully utilize the potential of the human brain, and tune the instrument of their mind to perceive the patterns in nature to subtler and finer degrees.

When one learns to observe their natural surroundings from the perspective of a field biologist, the endless wonder and excitement of life is ever present. It is this very sense of wonder that is the natural domain of the scientist, who uses this wonder and curiosity to explore and derive their own logical explanations and physical demonstrations.

Developing and Proving Your Own Scientific Theories

The scientific method is nothing less than the process of bringing the dimension of abstract mental thought to concrete material reality. One completely immerses themselves in the observation of patterns and interrelationships between the various factors influencing the object of their research. Once enough data has been collected and analyzed, one can begin deriving his or her own conclusions by utilizing the greatest tool for any scientist, the imagination.

In the imagination of the scientist various possible theories are developed. The scientist will test a theory by formulating various hypothesis, a projected result or expectations, and updating it with the results of various experiments.

When a hypothesis has been adequately tested and proven, it then becomes a theory.

These terms are often times confused; yet they are each a separate phase of the scientific method, and their purpose should be well understood…

Fact: Observations regarding an aspect of the world around us. Such as: “It’s hot outside.”

Hypothesis: A possible explanation for an occurrence, pattern or phenomenon made as a departure point for further experimentation. Example: “It’s hot outside because the sun is out.”

Theory: A proposed conclusion with substantial proof derived from applying the scientific method, and validated through observation and experimentation. Example: “When the sun is out, it tends to make it hot outside.”

Law: A final statement based on continued experimental observations that explain some phenomenon of nature. A law involves a description about how something, but not necessarily why it happened. Example: Newton’s First Law of Motion.

The best way you can impart a passion for natural science in your students is to fuel your own passions and interests first and foremost. The more excited you get about science, the more you are able to convey the true spirit of science to your pupils.

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Building World Changers! MSA’s Life-Changing Outdoor Educational Programs

Break Your Fears!

The main motto at Mountain and Sea Adventures (MSA) is “break your fears”! We encourage youth to face their fears and inhibitions and take action steps towards overcoming them. When youth realize they can achieve what ever they set their focus on, it empowers them to have the courage to set dreams and goals, and work diligently towards achieving them.

Fear is natural, and is there to protect us, however some fears are rational, whereas others are not. Being afraid is okay, but being controlled and making your life decisions based on that fear is detrimental towards reaching our full potential in many ways.

Being courageous is the main character trait we focus on because it is the value we use to develop all the others. In the process of developing perseverance, honesty, and other altruistic traits, we must take up courage again and again.

Imparting Character and High Self Esteem

Going beyond what you previously thought was possible for your self is very empowering and uplifting, and reminds you that you truly can achieve what ever you set your goals on.

Camp gives students the structured opportunities to overcome fear and aversion, and the experiences that improve their self-image and esteem. They return to their home environments with a renewed sense of self worth and confidence.

Dream Big and Reach For The Stars!

Each of us is capable of achieving greatness. One of the most courageous acts of all is to truly believe in your self, reach for that greatness and refuse to settle for less. To let our natural talents blossom and give fruit, require a certain amount of self-love and acceptance.

MSA’s highly inspirational youth camp programs impart the experiences that build high self-esteem and develop a healthy amount of self-love. From here, the sky is the limit!

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Empowering World Changers! MSA’s Core Character Building Values

Campers encourage each other to overcome their inhibitions to the unfamiliar world of snorkeling!

Campers encourage each other to overcome their inhibitions to the unfamiliar world of snorkeling!

When teachers bring their students to science camp at Mountain and Sea Adventures, they are giving them the opportunity to explore sides of themselves they have never known about, to develop various altruistic character traits, and to build high self-esteem by overcoming fears and challenges.

Break Your Fears!

The central theme and core character trait that the MSA staff is constantly imparting to campers is to rise above your fears and inhibitions, and take a leap of courage. Campers are continually being reminded to discern between rational and irrational fears, and to not allow our fears to control our lives. Fear is natural, but rather than giving in to fear and allowing it to dictate our lives, the MSA staff models and guides youth to face their challenges and take command.

Perseverance – Never Give Up!

Perseverance is the second character trait we focus on during the campers time at camp. During this time, campers are given the opportunity to try many outdoor activities that they may be hesitant to try.

189208_155722647838104_582811_nActivities such as snorkeling, kayaking and going down the zip-line all take youth to the edge of their comfort zone, and beyond. Upon proving to themselves that they can achieve what they previously thought they couldn’t, they receive a boost of self confidence and their self esteem is strengthened.

Some of the activities are straining and present a challenge, during these times of challenge the students are encouraged by the MSA staff to persevere and focus on their objective.

Environmental Stewardship

From the moment students step off the ferry and arrive to camp at Emerald Bay, Catalina, they begin to experience the natural beauty of one of the largest ecological preserve islands in the world.

We encourage the students to become increasingly more and more aware of their surroundings, and to appreciate the precious resource that is the ocean environment.

MSA provides youth with first-hand experiences of the ocean. Experience is the key to developing the awareness for the marine environment that becomes a love and resolve for protecting and preserving this most vital of natural resources.

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How To Prepare Your Students to Visit Science Camp

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Students stepping off the ferry and coming to MSA camp at Emerald Bay, Catalina Island.

One of the most important things a good scientist does is observe. Observation is instrumental in making discoveries about the natural world. With careful and deliberate examination, a scientist can uncover the mysteries of how nature operates. Since children are excellent observers, science is innately interesting to them. As a teacher, you can provide your students with opportunities to learn about the environment simply by exposing them to it.

When your students attend our marine biology science camp, they will learn about the environment on and around Catalina Island. To prepare them for their visit, you can guide them to start thinking like scientists.

Priming The Imagination With Questions

One way you can do this is to ask them questions to pique their curiosity about what they will see while they attend the camp. What kinds of species do they think they will see? What types of behaviors will they potentially observe? Why do they think the animals behave in those ways? What do they most hope to learn about while at camp? The more you get your students questioning, the more they will want to learn. Fueling students’ natural desire to know about their surroundings is the best way to help them want to keep learning.

You might also do a class project about a topic related to marine biology before your class attends the camp. Incorporate mini-lessons around a theme connected to topics they’ll learn about at camp, and your students will learn academic skills as well as want to keep learning about marine biology.

When your students arrive at marine biology camp, they will get to see in person what you’ve been discussing in class. They will be ready to ask questions about their natural environment, to observe, and to make hypotheses about what they see. Asking good questions to guide observation is important for scientists, and with some preparation, your students will be ready to make the most of their visit to the island. They will be able to work as scientists do to conduct their own field research and to answer their own questions about nature.

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Inspiring Youth To Protect The Oceans

11811454_876124882464540_7186074118662348853_nWith all of the recent talk about protecting the oceans, there is increasingly more and more momentum to learn what we can do to help from our coastal and inland communities. People are rallying together to end practices that are devastating to the environment; despite all of the conservation laws that are on the books, there are still practices that are used which damage the oceans and destroy fisheries.

Most people learn more effectively if they experience something first hand. That’s why Mountain and Sea Adventures provides experiential learning programs for their students, along with teachers and chaperones who want to learn more about ocean conservation.

The four major oceans on the planet are home to diverse and distinctive ocean creatures. These animals are simply not just the usual fishes or whales we know, but also cephalopods, crustaceans, plants, and even birds. Some of these creatures are on the brink of extinction and many are endangered due to negative human impacts on the marine environment.

In order for the abundantly and extremely valuable resource of the ocean to be around for future generations it is important we make sure that we are taking actions that are sustainable and do not allow for bad practices to continue negatively affecting the oceans.

Power of The Dollar

As consumers, we all need to make the shift to promoting ocean conservation by reducing our plastic consumption, using biodegradable products, and picking seafood that was harvested or raised in a manner that helps the oceans to rebuild instead of destroying them.

Individuals and some organizations, have contributed greatly in the efforts to save our oceans. However, while their works are helpful, they cannot do it alone. People like you and I have to do our part in protecting this diverse ecosystem.

There is also a great amount of damage that gets done to the oceans with the usage of industrial fishing techniques. Many fishes and other sea creatures find that their habitats are being destroyed. The good news is that there are more and more options for sustainable seafood for folks who want to be eating from the sea in a responsible manner.

So, what can individuals do in order to help save the ocean? First, we should encourage awareness by studying and sharing ocean facts. Education and learning will encourage awareness, which in turn will promote its preservation. Academic institutions and organizations have conducted substantial studies of different ocean conditions, and information is widely accessible for those who want to learn more about this and contribute to finding viable solutions.

In addition to that, it’s always best to start when young, that’s why parents and teachers should take their kids/students to environmental educational programs that are focused on imparting a love for conservation.

MSA’s programs offer youth useful and fun environmental education activities that students will find incredibly interesting to learn. Kids, teens as well as parents and teachers, can get up close and personal with the marine environment when they attend our programs at Catalina Island or Camp Oakes, Big Bear. It is an adventurous program that is both educational and enjoyable for everyone.

Single Use Plastics Are A Thing Of The Past

The importance of bottle water cannot be overlooked. Please think for a moment about how many people you saw today with a bottle of water and then think of that on a global scale. Those bottles alone would create a staggering pile of dump. Buying a reusable water bottle from the store and filling it up at home from a larger bottle will not only save you money but it will decrease the amount of plastic products purchased on a regular basis if everyone does so. This not only cuts down on garbage but it cuts down on petroleum based consumption. Plastic products are not biodegradable and will not go away with time but we can shrink the numbers of them in our landfills and in our oceans by not purchasing as many of them.

Another easy way to cut down on waste products is to carry reusable shopping bags. How many times a week do you go to the store and walk out with more than you even planned to purchase. Filling more plastic bags than you can use, and in turn creating more waste than necessary.

Ocean Awareness in Your Yard and Landscape

Runoff from the streets goes somewhere, does it not? In coastal areas more times than not, it goes to watersheds and ends up in the ocean. When you walk down the street, clean out your garage regularly, or wash your car in the driveway always be conscious of what goes down the gutters.

If you see trash when out in your neighbourhood do not forget to pick it up. You are taking care of your home and our planet by doing so. Millions of pieces of garbage are unnecessarily allowed to float their way to the coast and add to a growing pollution problem in the oceans.

We can all make a difference and every little bit does count even if it not evident at times. Always reuse resources that can be reused and cut down on those that you do not need to consume. You can also look into supporting many non-profits organisations that support education, conservation, and environmental protection. The “Gyre” of waste in the Pacific is just one example of marine pollution that exists today. Mountain and Sea Adventures (MSA) educates thousands of students from the southern California area every year.

Do not forget that this planet is our home and it will only remain a healthy and beautiful place if we all take steps to conserve and foster conservation and environmental concern in those around us. Take the time to make a difference and be conscious of the choices you make today knowing they do have an impact on all of us and other organisms that call this blue planet home.

 

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Outdoor Education Science Camp on Catalina Island

There is no better place than Emerald Bay for your outdoor education science camp on Catalina Island. Located on the far west end of the island, Emerald Bay may be the most remote camp on the island, but it’s facilities are among the most elite. With the most sophisticated salt water aquariums and touch tanks, on the island, the Pennington Marine Science Center is an amazing educational resource unto itself, not to mention the four marine ecosystems available to snorkelers in the cove itself.

The Best School Field Trip to Catalina Island

Emerald Bay is easily accessed by boat from Long Beach, the crossing gives students the opportunity to see dolphins, seals and sea lions, and quite frequently even grey and blue whales. There is no better choice for your school field trip. Catalina Island is a magical destination, one of the largest privately operated nature preserves in the world, affording your students the rare opportunity to see an abundance of wildlife such as Island Fox, bison, golden and bald eagles, deer, and other rare plants and animals.

MAS’s science camp program each involves a short lecture, in-depth hands-on activities and then journaling time for developing a conclusion and gradually working on a hypothesis. Campers are taught how to think like field biologist, how to use a field journal and how to understand the scientific process and use it in their own research projects.

Catalina Island Marine Life

Catalina Island has an abundance or marine life, and has been an ecological conservation since 1972. Catalina Island has been preserved in its natural state with great success. In recent years a number of marine protected areas have been designated, limiting the fishing and gathering of sea life in those areas.

Examples of Catalina Island marine life would include the California state marine fish, the Garibaldi, as well as Sheepshead, kelp bass, lobster and other invertabrates, sharks, rays and marine mammals such as seals, sea lions, dolphins and even the occasional California grey whale, which like to visit the island coastline during their migrations between Alaska and Baja.

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Why Bringing Your Students To Camp On Catalina Island Will Change Their Life

Bringing your students to camp on Catalina Island is bound to enrich their lives (not only academically, but personally, as well). Coming to camp on Catalina places each student outside of their comfort zone, where they have to try new things and explore untapped potential, talent and interests.

Camp is a safe place where each child can learn and grow freely, without the pressures of needing to perform and compare their results to their peers. This leads to the opportunity for profound self development and breakthrough, as students see there is more to life than what they have been shown in their home towns, and that they can achieve anything they set their minds on.

A New Perspective On What is Possible For Them

Coming to science camp on Catalina Island gives each student the chance to see that there are endless opportunities and directions they can take their lives. Activites such as snorkeling and kayaking, which place students completely outside of anything they have ever experienced before, proves to themselves that they are capable of greatness, and truly can be what ever they set out to be.

This kind of experience can be enough to spark hope in the heart of a child whom may not have much else going for them, but who can now hold onto a dream and begin working towards achieving it.

The Opportunity To Develop Themselves Academically

Outdoor education shows students that learning is not only fun, but can be one of the most exciting parts of their lives if they approach it right. Learning enriches such activities as snorkeling, hiking and kayaking; having a chance to learn about the animals you will encounter in the activity gives the students the opportunity to get more interested in seeing the actual animal in the wild. When they do see the animal during the activity, they are infinitely more excited because of the facts they have learned about it during the lecture.

Before long, students are seeing themselves becoming marine biologists, or pursuing other higher education goals because of how much fun they have seen learning can be.

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A One Of A Kind Marine Biology Science Camp on Catalina Island

Mountain and Sea Adventures marine biology camp on Catalina Island is a one-of-a-kind, once in a lifetime educational experience that inspires students to dream big, break their fears and change their world.
250354_155784427831926_7442142_nThis program brings together hands-on field biology activities with character building, team work and imparting a deep personal understanding, love and appreciation for the awe-inspiring world of natural science.
Students, teachers and chaperons all benefit greatly from participating in MSA’s fun and highly educational activities beginning the moment you step off the boat to the beautiful and enchanting premier location of Emerald Bay, which hosts 4 marine ecosystems,world class salt water aquariums and touch tanks, and scenic outdoor classrooms set in the beauty of Santa Catalina Island, one of the largest privately operated nature preserve islands in the world.
You enjoy activities such as kayaking, snorkeling, squid dissection, hiking, plankton trawls, microscope labs, shark touch tanks and a wide diversity of both terrestrial and marine wildlife.
Each of MSA’s activities involves hands-on learning opportunities and the opportunity to build character traits such as courage, perseverance, stewardship and leadership. Your students learn how to keep a field journal and utilize the scientific method to develop and refine their own hypothesis, thus learning how to think and perceive the natural world around them through the eyes of a field biologist.
Coming to camp on Catalina Island is the opportunity of a life time and guaranteed to be the highlight of your school year, and bound to touch the lives of each and every person whom attends.
It’s now easier than ever to bring your class or group to Catalina Island for an educational experience that they will cherish for a life time!

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