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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Gearing Up For Catalina Summer Shipboard Camp 2016

We are excited to announce that we have a new ship this year, and it is even larger and more cozy than before. We can’t wait to welcome you aboard the USS Enhydra for another amazing summer of fun in the sun as we explore all the best that Catalina Island has to offer!

13336114_1042193599191000_7717455588195267460_nThe USS Enhydra is roomier, comfortable and more luxurious, allowing you to feel like you are on a mini cruise as you enjoy your summer holiday! This will be our first summer session with the new ship, and all the staff are greatly looking forward to reuniting with you for the best summer yet!

This summer we will be living aboard the USS Enhydra as we cruise around Catalina Island, exploring all the most desirable coves, beaches and dive spots! Enjoying such activities as snorkeling, kayaking, paddleboarding and playing in the water.

Come join us for such rare and highly desirable activities as surfing on the backside of the island, cliff jumping, camping on remote island coves, visiting the quaint island village of Two Harbors, and walking down the boardwalk at Avalon.

During out two week teen camp we trek to the highest point on the island and stay at the campground where you can enjoy a breathtaking panaromic view of the whole island, the Channel Islands nearby and the coast of southern California. We also camp out at Little Harbor, which is a small paradise island oasis.

10649_490361964374169_1761074941_nA short walking distance from Little Harbor is one of the most popular surf spots on the island, called Shark Cove, where campers can try out surfing, boogie boarding and body surfing. Or perhaps you would rather play on the beach or explore one of the near by trails. There is always so much to do at Catalina Island summer camp!

Learn more about this program here!

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Summer Science Camps For Kids In California

Mountian and Sea Adventures has been running the most exciting and educational summer science camps for kids in California. MSA’s program is unique in that it focuses on imparting a love for natural science through hands-on experience oriented field research activities. Each child gets to experience the excitement of conducting real field research, and learning how to think and observe the natural world through the eyes of a scientist.

Newport Beach Summer Day Camp

MSA has partnered with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife offering a one-of-a-kind program at Newport Beach’s Back Bay Science Center, where campers get to utilize state of the art facilities and equipment to explore the back bay estuaries. This program is focused on both imparting a personal appreciation for the rich resource of the back bay, as well as display how much fun it is to learn environmental science!

Cabrillo Beach Day Camp

Located at the Cabrillo Youth Center, this day camp is centrally located near by some of San Pedro’s finest natural marine resources, such as the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, Cabrillo Beach Coastal Park, a bird estuary, tide pools and the various facilities and equipment at the Cabrillo Youth Center. Students learn a new topic each week as they expand their appreciation for the marine environment.

Catalina Island Shipboard Camp

MSA’s most unique program of all is a week long journey aboard our new ship the U.S.S. Enhydra, which is fully stocked and loaded for both playing in and on the water and conducting ongoing marine science research. Campers get the opportunity to crusie around the island, visiting several various beaches and coves, and enjoying such activities as snorkeling, kayaking, exploring sea caves, hidden coves, beach games, hiking, fishing, sailing, paddleboarding, surfing, cliff jumping, camping and lots more!

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An Action Plan For Bringing Sea Otters Back To Southern California

Sea otters are not only cute and incredibly adorable, being the smallest member of the marine mammal family, but they are also incredibly important for maintaining the health of many of California’s marine ecosystems.  Since the sea otter has been absent from the California coast, we have seen an 80% decline in kelp forests, the main source of bio diversity for most of the coastal species of fish, invertebrates, seals, sea lions and other marine life.

Sea otters are recovering much more slow in California than other areas they have been re introduced, this is due to high fatality rates arising from living in highly toxic and contaminated waters. In order for California’s sea otters, as well as the kelp forests, to make a comeback water qualities must continue to improve.

Here are some ways you can help live more marine environmentally conscious and friendly:

  • Switch to using only organic, nontoxic and environmentally safe detergents, solvents and other house hold liquids. Its not only better for the planet, but better for your health as well.
  • Reduce, reuse and recycle when ever possible.
  • Keep a compost pile.
  • Reduce the amount of plastic you purchase.
  • Properly dispose of any hazardous waste, such as motor oil, etc.
  • Use organic fertilizers, or none at all if you can.
  • Plant a garden, the roots absorb water and reduce run off.
  • Never dump anything into storm drains.
  • Conserve water as much as possible.
  • Pick up after your pets and never flush pet waste.
  • Keep your car well serviced to prevent oil leaks.
  • Donate to the California Sea Otter Fund.
  • Stay informed about ocean issues, and share your knowledge with others!

Although nobody can do everything, we can each do our part. Every little effort helps, and together we can create a world in which we can all live in peacefully and happily.

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Understanding The Threat To Californias Kelp Forests

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

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

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

Warmer Ocean Water

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

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

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

Sea Otters And Kelp Forests

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

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

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