Field trips and fun

The Balclutha at Aquatic ParkYesterday all of our Ocean Explorers were on field trips and our Bay Explorers enjoyed having the site to themselves.


The Ocean Explorers at Aquatic Park saw some amazing wildlife on the docks and learned a sea shanty on the Balclutha. Our other group of Ocean Explorers got super sandy exploring Bean Hollow State Beach–they also got to see some pretty tide pools and spotted some urchin and tide pool fish!

Our Bay Explorers took over MSI and touched live sharks and invertebrates from the Bay. They designed their own cities and learned about the water cycle–and how we are all connected to it.



Today the Bay Explorers go on their first field trip of the week. They spend the day at Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda. This site is the oldest estuarine marine reserve…

…At Crab Cove there is a beautiful and interactive aquarium to explore, a wide shoreline including mudflats and sandy beach, as well as a freshwater pond set back near a beautiful picnic area. Our Bay Explorers enjoy seeing a cross-section of Bay life. You can revisit this stunning site in Alameda with your family! Visit Crab Cove Visitor Center’s website to learn more about their exciting educational programs, family programs and fun public events. 

The Ocean Explorer team that visited the beach yesterday (“Shark group”) is on our research vessel, the Robert G. Brownlee, today. On the ship our campers catch fish with a trawl net, scoop up mud with a Peterson Mud Grab, sample plankton to view under a microscope and learn how to tie knots and navigate like sailors in preparation for their trip to Aquatic Park tomorrow. At home you can have your own “Plankton Races”. Plankton are living things that drift through the water–they are usually neutrally buoyant (floats just below the surface) or sink very slowly and get carried by currents. Create a plankton out of small items such as packing peanuts, paper clips and feathers and see if you can make a plankton that sinks slowly. You can race your friends to see whose plankton touches the bottom of a tub of water last.

Tidepooling at Bean Hollow

The other Ocean Explorer group is on site today. They are studying live invertebrates from the tide pools and learning about animals from the deep sea. They are also practicing trial and error with Cartesian Divers, which you can make at home (see previous post). One of my favorite activities that they are doing today is called the “Stewardship Challenge”–for this activity our campers learn about Recycling, Reducing, Reusing and Composting, and they discover ways in which we can improve how we use our resources. They create “Stewardship Challenge” cards to suggest positive change that they can take home and share with their families and friends. I just had a great conversation with some pretty inspired campers who not only want to make cards, but want to make a whole website to share ideas and provide incentives to families who reduce their impacts! Keep the conversation going and encourage your camper to share their challenge with you and see if your family can earn some stewardship points this week.


Ocean Explorer Shark Group: Field trip to Aquatic Park

Ocean Explorer Ray Group: A day aboard our ship, the Robert G. Brownlee

Bay Explorer groups: Field trip to Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge

All groups, don’t forget: close toed shoes, water bottle, LAYERS and a trash free lunch.


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