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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The Most Fun and Educational Science Summer Camps for Kids

A Summer Camp for Kids Unlike Any Other

13680553_1064422520301441_3779876573892777909_nSummer camp is the highlight of the year for many kids whom look forward to this chance to get out into the great outdoors and spend a week exploring, discovering and creating adventures with both old and new friends. Mountain and Sea Adventures (MSA) has been hosting the most fun and educational summer camp for kids in the southern California area for nearly twenty years, and specializes in building character and increasing awareness of the ocean environment.

MSA’s programs are very well balanced between academic learning and exciting outdoor activities, which both reinforce and compliment each other. Campers quickly discover that the learning time before each activity enriches their overall experience, allowing them to appreciate their surroundings even more!

Summer Day Camps for Kids in California

1098447_512041845539514_1001796856_nMSA has multiple day camp locations for southern California residents, including beachfront facilities at Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro, as well as the Back Bay in Newport Beach. These programs teach students how to think like marine biologists as they immerse themselves in field research, water sports and games, beach fun time and environmental activities to increase awareness and foster a love and appreciation for the environmental stewardship.

Both of MSA’s summer day camp locations include estuaries with an abundance of sea birds, invertebrates, fish, marine mammals and lots of other marine life. Summer day camp for kids is always such a great opportunity to expand the horizons of youth, and expose them to the exciting world of natural sciences.

Overnight Summer Sleepaway Camps

One of the biggest highlights for MSA’s campers is the overnight summer sleepaway camp onboard their marine research vessel, which explores the various coves of Santa Catalina Island for a full week! Living onboard an actual US Coast Guard certified research vessel while touring Catalina offers youth the chance to experience the marine environment in all it’s splendor and beauty, sparking a lifelong love and appreciation for the ocean and marine biology.

13659051_1062928500450843_8382838857298042155_nDuring their overnight summer sleepaway camp students enjoy such activities as snorkeling, kayaking, sailing, swimming in breathtakingly beautiful island coves, hiking, exploring remote beaches, surfing, camping under the stars and lots more! During this time each camper conducts actual hands-on field science research activities, learns how to keep a field journal as well as how to implement the scientific method towards developing their own hypothesis and theories.

Summer Camp Educational Activities

Before each activity, students are given a brief lecture introducing them to the habitats they are about to go explore and experience. This pre-activity lecture is short but provides students with a wealth of information that allows them to enjoy the activity so much more when they see the various animals they just learned about.

Seeing a cormorant in the wild is a lot more interesting after learning that they can dive down nearly two hundred feet to search for fish. Seeing a brown pelican soar by is always more fun after learning they were nearly extinct only thirty years ago. Seeing a Sheepshead fish while snorkeling is a lot more exciting when you know this fish can change genders from female to male after reaching a certain age. These are just a few examples of how the lecture phase of each activity enriches each campers experience.

Other summer camp educational activities include squid dissections, plankton trawls, observing plankton under microscopes, tide pool explorations, visiting marine bird estuaries and nesting grounds, and more.

Summer Camp Builds Confidence and Self Esteem

10522448_682630775147286_5213538904043867819_nOne of the greatest advantages of sending your child to summer camp is how it builds confidence and self esteem as they step out of their comfort zones, prove to themselves they can break their fears and accomplish great things, and make valuable friendships that last years and even decades.

The central core theme at MSA is ‘break your fears’! Counselors are constantly modeling and structuring the opportunity for youth to develop the courage to push themselves past their own self imposed limitations and inhibitions. By the end of the week each camper has built up so much confidence, their self image is renewed and their belief in themselves empower them to know they can achieve greatness in any area of their life.

Summer Camp Teaches Social Skills

In modern times many people have lost the ability to communicate with each other and make new friends. Kids are constantly distracted from the outer world by their smart phones and tablets, which create an artificial world where interpersonal communications are stifled and people have forgotten how to interact with each other.

Even just a week at camp can do wonders for improving each child’s social skills and ability to make new friends and enjoy each others company. Campers are taught how to work together as a team, encourage each other to break their fears, and enjoy the best summer of their lives together.


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Marine Biology Science Camp at Emerald Bay, Catalina Island

Emerald Bay – The Most Prestigious Cove On Catalina Island

credit-AnneFMaben37Hidden away on the west end of Catalina Island is Emerald Bay, the most desired destination on the island for yachters, divers, campers and nature enthusiasts alike. Emerald Bay has a wide diversity of island terrain and ecosystems. The cove itself is protected by a small point and rocky reef, with a few tiny little islands in the middle of the cove giving boaters protection from the ocean surge. There are multiple small sandy beaches, which are estuaries and habitats for various marine birds and island wildlife.

The Boy Scout camp at Emerald Bay serves as MSA’s premiere location for conducting outdoor education science camps on Catalina Island. Every week hundreds of school groups from across the southland are ferried in by boat from across the channel. During their time at camp students experience a wide variety of marine science activities such as trawling for plankton and then observing their findings under high-powered microscopes, squid dissections, kayaking, snorkeling and more. Each student gets the chance to live as field biologist and conduct actual field science research at one of the most beautiful locations in California.

MSA’s Marine Biology Camp Program At Emerald Bay

281818_155722767838092_7562355_nEmerald Bay is an incredible place to come for marine biology camp, students often time see more ocean wildlife just on the ferry over than in their entire life time. While traveling across the channel, campers get to see sea lions, dolphins and often times even grey and blue whales. Once they arrive at camp students are first taught how to keep a field journal as well as how to implement the scientific method for developing a hypothesis during their camp activities. The field journal becomes a treasured part of their camp experience, allowing them to develop their ideas and experiences during each program activity. The value of learning to keep a field journal is immense, as it takes the ideals of science from an impersonal academic subject to a living breathing aspect of their every day lives which they can use to immerse themselves deeper and deeper in the natural world. Now campers have learned to see the world through the eyes of a marine biologist, and have gained an appreciation for the scientific method and how to implement it for their own investigations.

A Unique Island Experience At Two Harbors, Catalina

For those groups looking for a less rustic and remote camp experience, the nearby island village of Two Harbors, Catalina, is a perfect compromise allowing access to a restaurant, general store and other facilities. Two Harbors has a beautiful long natural sandy beach with multiple snorkeling destinations offering a wide diversity of the marine life of Catalina. Two Harbors is also home to USC’s Wrigley Marine Institute, which has salt-water aquariums and the oldest protected cove on the island. MSA’s special arrangement with USC allows students to visit their resources and facilities for a unique marine biology experience.

natural-history-hike-catalina-islandTwo Harbors is easily accessible by ferry and is one of the lesser known about treasures of Catalina Island. Conveniently located at the isthmus, the back side of the island is less than half a mile away! The cove on back-side of Two Harbors is called Catalina Cove, and is home to the largest mud flats ecosystem in the Channel Island. This is a great place to come study the benthic marine animals, birds, rays and skates, and other marine animals that live in this natural estuary.

Why Bring Your Class To Catalina Island Science Camp

Science camp at Catalina Island is one the most cherished educational experiences youth experience during their academic careers. The memories they make during their time at camp enriches their lives and stays with them forever. Many times we hear back from students whom have gone through one of our programs to learn that they were inspired to become marine biologists or other high science professionals. This kind of amazing feedback is what we live for at MSA!

There is definitely something magical about the time youth spend at Catalina Island science camp, where they are safe to just be a kid and discover the natural world around them and all it’s wonder and beauty. It’s not always easy to remember the various lessons learned at school, but the lessons and experiences had at science camp consistently remain one of the greatest highlights and inspirational moments ever have.

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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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How Summer Camp Builds Character And Improves Self Esteem

Stepping Out Of Your Comfort Zones

13754241_1064422800301413_8910543785500335833_nLife begins where your comfort zones end, and coming to camp for seven days structures the opportunity for youth to break the mold of what they are used to and enjoy the chance to develop a side of themselves they may have never known even existed. When youth prove to themselves that they can achieve excellence in a new field, it reminds them of their own inner greatness and that they truly can achieve anything they put their minds toward.

By the end of the school year many times youth are feeling vexed and frustrated by how rigid life has become. The same daily schedule week after week can cause some kids to forget how exciting and spontaneous life can be. Fortunately, this is the time for summer camp!

Achieving Success In Trying New Things

It is human nature to get into a rut with your habitual mode of living, keeping to what you’re used to and clinging to what is familiar. Many times we see others do extraordinary things and falsely believe that they have something special, foreign and alien to ourselves. Just a single week at summer camp is all it takes to remind youth that they too are capable to greatness and achieving success in the pursuits.

When kids and teens come to camp with Mountain and Sea Adventures (MSA), they are immediately placed into a new exciting environment where they can try on a new way of being and interacting with the world around them. It usually takes just one day before they have cast off the cloak of resistance and are willing to try out new things and develop new skills.

Upon proving to themselves that they are not only able to perform in new arenas, but can excel and achieve greatness, their sense of self is revitalized and given great momentum, which they bring back to their lives and worlds back home.

Making And Building New Friendships

13729166_1063128577097502_4791515940079251212_nMany kids and teens enjoy coming back together every summer to meet up with friends they only see during the adventures of summer camp, as well as to meet new friends and develop the ability for interpersonal relationships. Living without their smart phones and tablets for a week may be painful at first, but soon allows each participant to enjoy themselves and each other infinitely more.

The opportunity to just be kids enjoying the great outdoors together reignites their passion for life, and reminds them that they are liked and loved by their peers.

During the activities at camp, students are put face to face against their own fears and inhibitions. It is something different for each child, but everyone faces their challenges at a certain point. One of the core themes at MSA camp is teamwork and uplifting encouragement. When youth receive such empowering support from their peers it motivates them to reach for the stars and dream big, reinforcing the fact that the people around them love, appreciate and deeply care for them.

Learning To Set Goals And Persevere

The MSA staff is constantly encouraging campers to ‘persevere’ and ‘never give up’! Counselors encourage each child to set attainable and realistic goals, and then chose a pace they can maintain, allowing them to achieve the results they are seeking. So often times we start off our endeavors with great enthusiasm and courage, but how often do we finish on the same high note? Learning to properly set goals and push them selves past any resistance along the way imparts a very valuable understanding. Rather than seeing obstacles as detrimental, campers are encouraged to see the hurdles and challenges they face along the journey as being instrumental in the personal success they have achieved for themselves.

Rising Above Self-Imposed Limitations, Inhibitions And Aversions

After stepping out of their comfort zones, receiving encouragement for their counselors and peers, and proving to themselves again and again that they are capable of greatness, participants at MSA’s summer camp programs receive a powerful boost of self-esteem and confidence. Their whole self-image is greatly improved.

Before they may have understood that they can achieve what ever they set their minds to, but the experiences they gain at camp prove to themselves once and for all this fact, which becomes a game-changing realization that allows them to transcend their previous self imposed limitations and live life to its fullest each and ever day!

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How MSA’s Summer Camp Program Changes Lives

Building Character

13567426_1312684095412668_5215966057688580732_nThe process of building character begins the very moment you agree to come to camp, determined to step outside of your comfort zones and being open to experiencing something totally new. This initial act of courage is the primer for propelling you into an environment where you are given the opportunity for self-development every moment throughout the day.

Can you remember the last time you were hesitant towards do something fun and exciting, for whatever reason? Maybe you were afraid, or maybe you were just averse towards the temporary inconvenience of being outside your comfort zone. Perhaps you can remember how great you felt once you pushed past that initial threshold of resistance, and were able to really enjoy yourself in your environment. Do you remember how self-assured and confident you felt afterwards? There’s nothing quite like proving to your self that you can do something you previously tried to talk your self out of!

This is an every day occurrence out at Mountain and Sea Adventures (MSA) environmental science camps, where we create the opportunity for youth to build character and develop altruistic and self-empowering personality traits during their time at camp.

Transforming Fear Into Courage

10325561_675128789230818_8066473375443033514_nMost of the time the fear we experience towards a certain activity is not logical at all, but highly emotional and erratic. The first character trait that is taught is courage, as it is what allows all the other virtues to be enacted. Courage means to be afraid, but to be willing to face your fears and not allow fear to dominate you. Just the simple act of facing your fears is a tremendous achievement and a necessary step towards living the amazing lives we have the potential of.

The MSA staff is specially trained to professionally handle the resistance and hesitation campers often have towards various activities, and to gently inspire them to face their fears and transcend their limitations.

Improving The Self Image Of Each Camper

An interesting thing happens at the end of every week at MSA science camp, the campers have a renewed sense of self and a belief in themselves that they were not aware of before. The bring this new healthy self image with them back into their homes, schools and communities; where they continue to make steady progress towards self actualization and inspiring others to live the lives of their dreams, as well.

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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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How To Transcend Irrational Fears And Get Back To Living Life Grand!

Public Enemy No. 1: Your Comfort Zones

13631612_1062928540450839_6861299100847111435_nWhat is it that holds most people back from experiencing something new and exciting; from broadening their horizons and living the kind of life they know they are capable of? Most of the time it is our comfort zones, which are a self-imposed prison we create for ourselves. To experience new results, you will have to try to do things a different way, and that involves stepping out of your habitual tendencies and familiarities.

The need for comfort and familiarity is one of the most basic and deepest of human needs, and although there is nothing wrong with being comfortable this can be the number one thing holding you back from the kind of outrageous success you’ve only dreamt about, yet never the less, you know is entirely possible for your self.

The first step to getting your life back is to be okay with being uncomfortable every now and then, while you expose your self to a new way of being and interacting with your surroundings.

Identifying Rational Versus Irrational Fears

13700030_1064422733634753_7842604307157580518_nFear is a natural part of our circuitry and programming, it is there to keep us safe from death and great harm, however, most of the time the fear we encounter is completely irrational. There are various aversions and hesitations we have that prevent us from expressing ourselves uninhibited and authentically, which we may or may not be conscious of. The first step to over coming irrational fear is to become aware of it and admit to your self that it is, indeed, irrational.

These sorts of fears are usually derived from highly emotionally charged past experiences and the memories that we carry. When we take the courage to release the shackles of fear and aversion, and engage in the experience anyway, a funny thing often happens; we survive! We demonstrate to our subconscious mind that its not that bad after all, and the illusory bubble of fear is burst!

Being Gentle With Your Self And Cutting The Negative Self Talk

When it comes to facing your fears it is important to be very gentle with your self. Maybe you didn’t get it on your first try, but if you turned around and stopped running from fear for your first time it was a huge success! It is vitally important to identify negative self talk and nip it in the bud!

One powerful exercise is to ‘act as if’, and in this case, ‘think as if’. What that means is to think as if you were confident and courageous, what sorts of thoughts would you have? How would you encourage your self and speak to your self in a motivating manner? The subconscious mind does not differentiate between visualization and experience, so the feelings you will develop as a result of this practice become powerful, vivid and real – propelling you towards courageous action.

Taking The Courage To Face Your Fears Head On

Feel the fear and do it any way. It is okay to be afraid, in fact, brave people are not those who do not feel fear; they are people who can feel the fear and not allow it to determine what they are capable of. Courageous people set their own limits and really get to know themselves in relation to their own level of skill and ability. Only when you have liberated your self from fear can you go to the edge of your boundaries, and slowly expand your horizons and develop self-mastery.

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