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Science Camp

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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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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An Unbelievably Beautiful Science Camp on Catalina Island

With over 54 miles of coastline, 8 miles wide and the highest peak being over 2,000 feet high, the untouched beauty of Santa Catalina Island is comparable to nowhere else on earth. This hidden gem only 20 miles off the coast of Los Angeles has unbelievable natural diversity, being home to a wide variety of plant and wildlife (both marine and terrestrial).

When campers come visit Catalina Island for their science camp experience they have the opportunity to see both bald and golden eagles, red tailed hawks, owls, ravens and an endless variety or marine birds such as cormorant, brown pelican, oyster catchers, arctic turns and many others.

Marine Mammal Sightings On The Boat Ride

10468086_675128572564173_7719934005060252943_nBefore even arriving at camp students have the opportunity to see several species of marine mammals such as sea lions, dolphins and quite often blue and grey whales. For many campers the boat ride to camp is the best part. This is the first time many children have ever been out on the ocean miles off of shore. It feels as if they are ont heir way to a whole new continent! However, at this point the adventure has only begun. Arriving at camp provides another chance to experience many amazing forms of life, from bison to leopard sharks and everything in between.

Endemic Species Native Only To Catalina Island

Catalina Island is also home to over sixty-one species of endemic plants and animals; meaning these species cannot be found anywhere else in the entire world! Only on Catalina Island can students have the opportunity to see Catalina Island fox, Catalina California quail, Catalina Island shrew, Catalina California ground squirrel, and many others.

The incredible diversity of the island does not stop there. A whole new world can be experienced as the campers put on their wetsuits and strap on the mask and snorkel to peer into the world beneath the surface of the water. Campers frequently see bat rays, Garibaldi, sheepshead, kelp bass, lobster, sea cucumbers and many other forms of sea life.

Coming to camp is truly a magical experience and ignites a passion for the world of natural science in the hearts of all whom attend, from students to teachers and chaperones. You are bound to remember your camp experience for years and years to come.

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