An Introduction To Citizen Science

Citizen Science Definition

Because scientific advances are happening faster than ever these days, it is increasingly more popular and important for the average member of society to contribute to the on going research and discoveries being made in nearly every field daily.

250354_155784427831926_7442142_nThe phrase ‘citizen science’ can apply to a wide range of concepts from a generalized idea of public engagement in scientific endeavors to the pursuits of scientist in the interest of the public good and benefit. Here we define citizen science as the involvement of any member of society in conducting scientific experiments that are of interest to the greater good of the community.

As an example, the avid beach goer who walks along the low tide line to explore the tidepools may wish to begin documenting and researching their frequently visited ecosystems in order to notice any sudden or on-going changes they may have seen over the years.

Why is Citizen Science Important?

Science is progressing at such an alarming rate that everyone can now benefit from the fantastic achievements being made in the areas of technology, medicine, business, recreation and nearly every other area of life. However, because of the demand for collecting data from a wide demographic, the average individual can contribute a lot back to the world of science, as well.

The more that people blog, make YouTube videos, and share their ideas with each other, the faster scientific concepts can develop, be implemented and improved. With the ability to share information being just as fast as it is to receive information, the world of citizen science is fast becoming a great resource for the global scientific community.

Benefits of Citizen Science

Citizen science brings a sense of unity to the community. It allows like-minded people to get together to advance their own research and collaborate with each other. Citizens can begin to work as a group to improve their communities, acting with the efficiency of scientist.

Citizen science empowers students with a sense of self importance, knowing that they are able to contribute and have an important role in real life science. In this sense, citizen science helps to build character and self-esteem in youth.

Another benefit of citizen science is understanding that research isn’t just for the scientist. We should all care about our local environment, and seek to understand the issues that affect us more deeply.

Citizen Science Projects

There are endless projects and events you can join in, the Zooniverse and Scistarter are great resources for getting started with some projects.

Recently Mountain and Sea Adventures has launched a citizen scientist social media project that allows people to share their ocean discoveries using hashtag #oceanwatch. People can share announcements of rare sightings, discoveries and important reports on the marine environment.

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5 Tips To Spark A Love For Natural Science In Your Students

  1. Encourage students to keep a field journal.

credit-AnneFMaben82Good science begins with learning how to observe your surroundings methodically, as to notice patterns, ask questions and form theories about what you are researching. Keeping a personal field journal can really empower each student to develop their thoughts and learn how to really think like a scientist.

Once students learn the scientific method, they should begin keeping a field journal immediately. This way they can apply the theoretical side of what they just learned to the practical in-field side, where their ability to interaction with the natural world is greatly enriched.

A field journal is a place where a field scientist can enter data in an organized manner, allowing them to look back over it later to notice patterns and correlations between various elements.

  1. Conduct actual field research on your campus

As a teacher you can very easily set the criteria for conducting a real on-going research project, where you can monitor some area of campus, or something in the class room for a certain period of time every week. Students can enjoy the fresh air and excitement of going outdoors, even if just to an area of their school campus, and learn how to view their surroundings through the eyes of a scientist, how to collect data, and then how to look at it upon leaving the field.

  1. Offer award celebrations, pizza parties, etc. for scientific class achievements.

Offer incentives for participation and excellence in the form of an award system. You can give awards for keeping the most detailed and well organized field journal, the most used and soiled field journal, the most well thought out hypothesis, etc. The sky is the limit for honoring the efforts and achievements of your science students.

  1. Look for opportunities to enter your school or class into local, state-wide and national competitions.

Science fairs and competitions are a great way to boost the morale and engagement in your class, bringing out the natural and healthy competitiveness of children to advance them selves, building high self-esteem and altruistic character. These are the sort of experiences that create life long passion and interest in the incredible world of science.

  1. Bring your students to an overnight outdoor education class trip.

IMG_2387_zps5727e4f8A class trip, such as marine biology camp on Catalina Island, is an awesome opportunity to expose and immerse your students in a life changing educational experience. Students who participate at one of MSA’s youth camps are given the chance to develop a personal love, understanding and passion for marine science through hands on involvement. Each activity also gives them the opportunity to develop an aspect of themselves, work on a new skill, overcome a fear or aversion, and build character traits that make them feel great about themselves before heading back home at the end of the program.

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The Most Affordable And Educational Catalina Sea Camp

MSA has been running their sea camp on Catalina for over 18 years, and excels in providing the highest quality yet most affordable outdoor education experience on Catalina.

When your students attend one of MSA’s Catalina sea camp programs, they are immediately immersed into the exciting world of natural science from the moment they step off the ferry! The camp environment is set in a marine conservation and island nature preserve, which gives your students the opportunity to develop a life long appreciation for the beauty of environment and the importance in preserving it.

MSA’s Catalina Marine Camp at Emerald Bay

10302054_682080205202343_289783729261922074_nMSA’s program focuses on conducting actual field research, as your students understand how to utilize the scientific method through using a field journal to record data, notice patters and develop hypotheses, and eventually a theory.

Each activity, such as snorkeling, hiking and kayaking, has a short lecture before hand to prepare the students for what they will see during the lab. That way they can use their field journals during the activity similar to a scientist using one during monitoring and conducting experiments in the field.

Every student who comes to Catalina sea camp gets to experience putting on a wetsuit, mask and snorkel and following the guidance of our well-trained instructors and lifeguards to see the spectacular beauty of the world beneath the oceans surface with their own eyes. Catalina sea camp is always a life changing experience that stays with every one of MSA’s participants long after their stay. These are the experiences that give birth to future marine biologists, and inspire all students towards a personal appreciation for marine biology. Catalina sea camp is a unique experience for all!

Catalina Island Camps Are An Unforgettable Experience

281818_155722767838092_7562355_nThe camp environment on Catalina is very special, the students feel as if they are on a different continent, yet they are only a few hours from the port of Los Angeles! The wonder and mystery in the air Catalina Island camps creates the perfect environment for children to explore themselves and their abilities, to try out new things, and consider new ideas.

MSA’s Catalina sea camp is a safe place for youth, where they are free from many of the pressures and challenges in their home environment, allowing them to discover their own talents, build altruistic character traits and make long lasting friendships with their peers.

A Fun and Educational Catalina Island Kids Summer Camp

Although most of the year MSA is catering to school groups at their premier location at Emerald Bay, we greatly look forward to the opportunity to play in the sun and ocean during summer time. Catalina island kids summer camp and teens summer camp is an adventurous program unlike any other in California. Come along for one or two weeks and enjoy all the very best that Catalina sea camp has to offer!

IMG_3990_zpse1492c4eLive aboard a 112’ long marine research vessel as we tour around the island and enjoy some of the best snorkeling spots in the world, remote beaches all to our selves, cliff jumping, leaping off the top deck of the ship, surfing on the back side of the island, and lots more!

The ship is fully outfitted with marine research equipment and supplies, making the activities even more fun and exciting, as the students learn how to experience their surroundings through the eyes of a natural scientist.

The Magic of Camping on Catalina Island

Mountain and Sea Adventures (MSA) offers many different packages for a wide range of groups, from schools to families and individual campers during overnight summer camp programs.

Camping on Catalina Island is always a unique opportunity to enjoy being in the peace and quiet of undisturbed nature. You will probably see various wildlife such as deer, bison and the endemic Catalina Island Fox, which can only be found on the island and no where else in the world.

Being constantly surrounded by such awe-inspiring natural beauty leaves a lasting impression, and allows for deep mental and physical peace and rejuvenation. In such an environment, one becomes eager to learn and explore the natural secrets of science all around them.

Enjoy Two Harbors Catalina Camping At The Isthum

10584078_689154487828248_2867922399694497054_nFor the smaller group, or for the group that wants to have a bit more access to amenities, the small village of Two Harbors is a perfect alternative to our more remote location at Emerald Bay.

MSA’s outdoor education program at Two Harbors allows schools to live inside a quaint and beautiful island village with a population of only 300 people. There is a general store, restaurant, coin-op laundry and showers, a large grassy park, and beautiful well maintained beaches. This feels more like a resort, island village and science camp all in one!

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The Top Most Exciting Things To Do At Catalina!

Day Trip to Catalina

Southern California residents need not look any further for the perfect destination for a weekend, or even one day trip to Catalina Island. The high speed ferries from Long Beach, Newport Beach and Dana Point can get you across the channel in as little as sixty minutes!

205989_155784471165255_147005_nOnce you arrive at the quaint and picturesque island town of Avalon you can choose from a variety of activities, attractions, access to beautiful beaches and dive locations, as well as a beautiful downtown boardwalk with shops, cafes and restaurants to unwind after an afternoon exploring the natural beauty of Catalina.

A day trip to Catalina is very feasible, just drop your car at the secured parking structure beside the ferry terminal, and enjoy a day of care free fun snorkeling, kayaking, or just lounging on one of the most famous beaches in southern California.

Things to do in Avalon

As small as this island town of under four thousand residents is, there are plenty of exciting things to do in Avalon. With protected marine estuaries to snorkel and dive in, boat rentals to explore near by coves, beautiful beaches for sun bathing and swimming in the ocean, and plenty of night attractions as well, such as the single cinema movie theatre at the casino, and several well known pubs, clubs and world class restaurants with spectacular island coastal views.

catalina-island-golfRent a golf cart for the day and go see even more of the local attractions such as the Wrigley Memorial Botanical Gardens, the Wrigley mansion (now called the Inn at Mt Ada), or visit the little bit more secluded Descanso Beach and club.

There are a wide range of hotels in Avalon to accommodate everything from the weekend warrior coming to release some steam and enjoy the resort-like night life of Avalon, the serious nature enthusiast, or the love-struck couple looking for a romantic island escape.

Affordable Marine Science Camps on Catalina for Schools

Catalina island offers the most memorable and inspiring outdoor education experiences for schools and private academic groups. The island is one of the largest privately owned and operated nature conservation in the world, and is home to many species not found anywhere else in the world, such as the island fox.

10464029_675917522485278_8122116456323979192_nBringing your school group to Catalina Island gives them the chance to be completely immersed in the world of natural science, where they can discover a personal love for the environment through hands on involvement.

People whom have attended camp at Catalina Island frequently mention it as one of, if not the most memorable and life-changing academic event of their youth.

Mountain and Sea Adventures (MSA) offers school groups the opportunity to come to Catalina Island for five day, four day, three day or even two day programs for schools on a very strict budget. MSA is committed to keeping prices affordable while providing the highest quality marine science camps on Catalina Island.

Family Camps and Group Retreats to Catalina

Bringing your family to Catalina for a short two or three day adventurous program is an awesome way to enjoy quality time together, while enjoying one of the most beautiful and valuable resources in California and making memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Check out our family camp program information for in depth details on all that our family camp and group retreats to Catalina have to offer!

Campgrounds on Catalina Island

10599185_689038871173143_948746590106928615_nCatalina island is an outdoor enthusiasts dream come true. You can access a wide variety of campgrounds. Stay at Hermit Gulch, just outside of Avalon and accessible to all the conveniences that the city has to offer. Or explore the rustic and extremely remote west end, like Parsons Landing, where facilities are at their most basic!

Two Harbors is a nice compromise between too rustic and too urban. Located at the isthmus, the island paradise village of Two Harbors has a population of less than three hundred people, with one restaurant/bar, a general store, fishing and dive shop and a visitors center. The campground is just outside the village, a short walking distance, and has it’s own beach called little fisherman’s cove at the foot of the campground.

Summer Camp

Summer camp on Catalina Island is the highlight of all those whom attend. The magic of Catalina comes alive the most during this season, when kids and teens form bands and explore the natural beauty of all the various coves, beaches, trails and valleys that the island has to offer.

10347611_681061158637581_3025169076392976632_nWith so much life around them, both on land and under the surface of the ocean, their sense of adventure comes to life and gives them the chance to develop them selves through the activities.

Every summer MSA hosts four to six weeks of summer camp on Catalina Island aboard the 112 foot marine research vessel, The Wilderness Explorer. Exploring the best snorkeling locations around the island, surf spots and remote coves to play and learn in.

Mountain Biking and Backpacking Catalina

Mountain biking on Catalina Island is possible, you can either bring your own bike or rent one in either Two Harbors or Avalon. Anyone can ride within city limits of Avalon and two Harbors, but if you want to get out into the interior of the island on the many beautiful trails you will need a permit, which is available to members of the Catalina Island Conservancy.

Image courtesy of catalinaconservancy.org

Image courtesy of catalinaconservancy.org

Backpackers will require a permit, as well, which is easily available at the visitors center at Two Harbors, the Island Plaza in Avalon, or at Hermit Gulch Campground. You should be aware there are not electrical hook ups at any of the campsites and the Catalina Island Conservancy enforces strict fire precautions.

Catalina Island has more to offer to such a wide demographic of people than possible anywhere else in California. You are sure to find what you were looking for the moment you arrive, and can enjoy the comfort of being on a remote island paradise, yet without really having to leave town!

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The Highest Quality Yet Cheap Summer Camps in California

When it comes to having the most memorable and greatest summer of your life, without spending a ton, there is no beating MSA’s adventure summer camps around California.

Locations such as Catalina Island, Newport Beach and San Pedro make this one-of-a-kind program available to all southern California residents! Enjoy one or two weeks attending our shipboard summer camp program, where we tour the various coves and beaches of Santa Catalina Island!

1524684_877101105700251_8791859623570677906_nNo other program in California offers so much for so little. Campers enjoy the opportunity to snorkel on some of the most beautiful dive locations in California, surf the breaks on the back side of the island, go on extended kayaking excursions, camp out over night in remote coves, hike the most beautiful trails in the interior and enjoy frequently seeing bison, fox, deer, eagles and a wide array of marine mammals, rare sea birds and an endless plethora of marine life.

Affordable summer camps

Mountain and Sea Adventures (MSA) is committed to providing the highest quality, yet affordable summer camps in the southern California area. The program is focused on hands-on field science, where your child develops an incredibly deep appreciation for the marine environment.

Immersing students in the methods of conducting in-field natural science gives them the rare opportunity to both enjoy the activities more and gain a very real and personal understanding for the Ocean.

Campers have the opportunity to visit salt water aquariums, snorkel in marine protected areas where we frequently see bat rays, leopard sharks (harmless unless you’re a crab!), extremely large kelp bass, sea lions and dolphins, and lots and lots of other fish, invertebrates and sea creatures.

11061997_10205824227599183_9116539140093194264_nOne of the things that makes this program one of the most affordable summer camps, is that the activities are all in and on the ocean. After providing all the gear for enjoying the water, there is not very much more over head that prevents us from having the time of our lives together playing in the ocean!

We leave the ship on a skiff (a small motor boat) with our wet suits on, lunches stored in dry bags and snorkel gear in hand. The students jump off the side of the boat with all their gear on and follow the instructors and lifeguards as they explore the majestic world beneath the ocean’s surface.

Summer Over Night Camps in California

Catalina Island is one of California’s more valuable resources, the Catalina Island Conservation has made great efforts to restore and preserve the natural beauty and ecology of the island. This makes it a very special location to come for your summer over night camp. In California it is rare to be as isolated and remote as Catalina Island, even though it is merely 19.6 miles across the channel from Long Beach!

Some nights we will be staying aboard the 112’ foot long ship, which is a Coast Guard certified marine research vessel that sleeps over fifty people. We are fully equipped with all the toys, gear and equipment to enjoy both an unforgettable educational experience and the best week of your life!

Marine Biology Day Camps for Kids in California

1146512_512020575541641_1564277969_nMSA has two day camps for kids in California, one is located at the Back Bay in Newport Beach, and the other is at Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro, California. Both these programs focus on learning marine environmental science through hands on activities both in, on and around the ocean.

Campers learn how to keep a field journal, and learn to think like scientists conducting actual in-field research. This structures the opportunity for them to develop a personal understanding for the marine environment, while enriching their experiences and allowing them to have even more fun during the activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, and exploring the various ecosystems around them.

MSA has been teaching outdoor education since 1997, is committed to building character in youth, teaching environmental stewardship and also has a perfect safety record even after over 18 years.

Both the day camps for kids and the summer overnight camps that MSA offers are not only the most adventurous and exciting camps happening in California – they are also very affordable.

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A Summer Science Camp on Catalina Island Unlike Any Other!

MSA’s Incredibly Unique Summer Science Program

Overnight summer science camp on Catalina Island provides the unique opportunity to completely immerse your self in the amazing world of natural science. Every activity of MSA’s program is designed to impart a personal experience, appreciation and love for the ocean environment. Campers spend 6 days aboard a 112’ marine research vessel, discovering and exploring the various ecologically rich coves of Santa Catalina Island. This is only a part of what makes MSA the most unique summer science camp in California.

IMG_4001_zpsa250d5d3The ship is rigged with trawling cranes and nets, sampling equipment, wetsuits, kayaks and all the other tools and gear needed to dive in with both hands and feet, discovering how much fun science truly is.

By learning the scientific method, and how to keep a field journal, MSA’s campers quickly discover how to think like a marine biologist, as they conduct actual in-field science experiments to come up with various hypotheses and develop a theory. By the time their week is over, they are looking at the world around them with the eyes of wonder that is at the heart of good science.

Science Camps for Kids

Our program is divided in to multiple levels, kids and teens, allowing each group to interact with their peers, while taking the topics they are exploring to deeper and deeper levels together. This way, kids aren’t left behind in the more advanced topics, and teens are held back in the more elementary material.

10599185_689038871173143_948746590106928615_nThe summer science camp for kids allows the younger participants to spend more time playing and learning the concepts they are being exposed to through games and structured activities. They also get a chance to strap on their mask and snorkel, and see the beauty that waits for them beneath the surface with their own eyes.

Science Camps for High School Students

For those seeking a more in depth look and scientific exploration of the ocean environment, MSA also has a program designed to create a highly educational, yet incredibly fun science camps for high school students. With such activities as cliff diving, jumping from the upper deck of the ship, surfing, backpacking the interior of the island, and camping out at a remote campground on the backside of the island, teens have so much fun they quickly forget that they are engaged in a rich educational experience the whole time!

Most science camps for high school students just don’t have as much to offer as MSA’s shipboard program on Catalina Island. Learn more here!




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