Marine Camp 2016: Underwater Investigator Sneak Peak

The Underwater Investigator camp for entering 6th-8th graders is a week-long program that is sure to inspire curiosity about the various fields within marine science. This summer campers will explore a different marine science field each day, including marine ecology and conservation, biodiversity, physical and biological oceanography, biomimicry, and will even learn what it takes to be an aquarist. They will practice scientific data collection on land by using real scientific equipment and they will also create their own quadrat, a research tool used to collect data to survey the biodiversity and health of a habitat. Campers will also spend a fun day canoeing to nearby Bair Island where they will investigate mud-dwelling invertebrates, examine the hydrology of the slough, and check out native and non-native plants that make this wetland such a unique habitat.

Their camp week culminates in a fun 2-day-long trip aboard our research vessel, and campers and staff even sleep aboard the boat! Campers will board the boat at 9am on the Thursday of their camp week and participate in various marine science studies as they venture to Sausalito for field trip activities. They will then have free time playing games and exploring the area while we barbecue dinner. Campers will then board the boat and watch a movie as we head to the Marina Bay Yacht Harbor for the overnight portion. On Friday campers will use scientific equipment to sample fish from the Bay, examine invertebrates from the mud, and study plankton underneath a microscope. This fun-filled week is packed with action!

Currently all of the Underwater Investigator sessions are full but campers can still be registered for the waitlists.

UNDERWATER INVESTIGATOR SCHEDULE:

June 20-24

July 11-15

July 25-29

WAITLIST SIGN UP NOW

Marine Camp 2016: Naturalist Sneak Peak

Our Naturalist program is for entering 4th and 5th graders who have attended an Explorers camp. The Naturalist campers will dive deeper into life and processes of the San Francisco Bay and Pacific coast, learn research methods and discuss current issues in our world’s marine ecosystems. By learning how to be naturalists, these devoted marine scientists will become familiar with the skills and passion needed to be a life scientist during their fast-paced camp week.

Naturalists have an amazing and fun week ahead of them. Activities include:

  • Preserved sea star dissection to examine the water vascular system.
  • Creating a quadrat, a tool used to quantify the number of species and amount of new species within a designated area. This tool is essential for studying biodiversity and the health of an area. Campers will keep the quadrat they create!
  • Learning how to take fish data by identifying and taking measurements on the fish caught. This data goes into a database which other organizations have access to.
  • Examining Phyla and the features of different groups of animals which made scientists group them together.

… and much more!

All Naturalist camps (except for the shortened July 5th camp week) have:

  • 2 days at our site to study live animals from our aquarium and to engage in other science projects both indoors and outside
  • 2 field trips (reached by school bus) that feature different habitats (shortened July 5th week has 1 field trip)
  • 1 day aboard our ship that includes fishing, studying plankton, sampling mud, and learning about nautical navigation
  • 2 staff plus a volunteer for every 15 campers
  • Flexible curriculum that engages multiple learning styles

Naturalist campers will be visiting two field trip sites: the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center and the Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve. On both of these excursions campers will learn about the habitats, perform experiments to better understand the conditions of each location, and examine animal life.

There are 4 weeks of Naturalist camp available during the summer. If your entering 4th or 5th grade camper has attended an Explorer camp during a previous summer we encourage them to join this fast-paced program. Campers also have the option of being in an Explorer camp earlier in the summer and signing up for Naturalists later on to compound the information and dive deeper into marine science.

Join us for this awesome experience as campers dive into marine science and explore our local marine habitats. Camps run Monday through Friday, 8:30am-3pm with extended care available until 5:30pm.

NATURALIST SCHEDULE:

July 5-8 *special overnight opportunity available

July 18-22

August 1-5

August 8-12

*We have a special option for the shortened 4th of July camp week of Naturalists: an optional overnight is available on the Thursday (July 7th) of camp for an additional $50. Campers will bring their overnight materials (clothes, sleeping bags, etc) and we will camp in the MSC. Food will be provided. Campers will watch a marine science themed video TBD, tow for night plankton and examine under a microscope, learn how scientists navigated using the stars, and more!

SIGN UP NOW

Marine Camp 2016: Ocean Explorers Sneak Peak

Entering 2nd-5th graders have two camp options: Wetland Explorers (discussed in a blog from 2 weeks ago found HERE) or Ocean Explorers, a camp of similar structure but focusing on a different habitat. Ocean Explorers camp is about “whole world’s ocean” and how we are connected to it. Campers will learn about various habitats such as the highly productive kelp forest, the harsh sandy beach, the ever-changing rocky shore and the dramatic open ocean which is strongly characterized by physical factors. Diverse populations of marine algae and animals are found along the rocky coast as well as in the open ocean. Wind, sunlight, tides and other physical factors create a complex environment, and the animals that are a part of northern California’s coastal community have incredible adaptations for survival.

Ocean Explorer camp, as well as MSI’s other camp options, is geared toward California’s science standards taught during the school year, and is fun and interactive. Hands-on lessons, animal touching, games, crafts, songs and more are themed toward the material to engage campers to embrace the communities along our nearby coastline.

All Ocean Explorer camps have:

  • 2 days at our site to study live animals from our aquarium and to engage in other science projects both indoors and outside
  • 2 field trips (reached by school bus) that feature different habitats
  • 1 day aboard our ship that includes fishing, studying plankton, sampling mud, and learning about nautical navigation
  • 2 staff plus a volunteer for every 15 campers
  • Flexible curriculum that engages multiple learning styles

Campers will be going on two field trips during their week at camp: Bean Hollow State Beach and the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center. Bean Hollow (along the coast about 17 miles south of Half Moon Bay) offers ample opportunity for tide pool exploration and other activities. Campers will be able to find hermit crabs, black turban snails, sea anemones, purple shore crabs, sea stars with 5-6 arms, and more! This region also offers a coastal walk where campers can spot common native and non-native coastal plants, and even find a harbor seal haul-out where these marine mammals are commonly seen resting on the rocks.

The second field trip is a visit to the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center in San Francisco. Located near Crissy Field, this facility has been transformed from old Coast Guard Buildings and is found along the beach. Campers will explore the region looking for crabs along the shoreline and taking part in crab population surveys. They will also drag a plankton net through the water and compare the coastal plankton to that found in the south Bay at our facility. Campers will also take part in a marine debris project with the Ocean Conservancy; they will contribute to a survey in which they will account for and tally the number of trash items found. The data will be entered into a database and submitted to the Ocean Conservancy, which will be compiled and become a part of a report for the city of San Francisco and contribute to the global project placed by the Ocean Conservancy.

Join us for a week full of fun, lessons, games, and interactive activities that are sure to excite your camper and inspire their love for the life within the California coastline and open ocean. Camps run Monday through Friday, 8:30am-3pm with extended care available until 5:30pm. Camp July 5th-8th still has spots available!

OCEAN EXPLORER SCHEDULE:

June 13-17 – FULL

June 20-24 – FULL

June 27-July 1 – FULL

July 5-8

July 11-15 – FULL

July 18-22 – FULL

July 25-29 – FULL

August 1-5 – FULL

August 8-12 – FULL

SIGN UP NOW

Marine Camp 2016: Wetland Explorers Sneak Peak

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Opportunities are abound in the Wetland Explorer camp for 2nd-5th graders. This camp explorers our local habitats and the animals that inhabit our incredible backyard. Campers will explore the life found in our local estuary, marshes, sloughs and mudflats. With Bair Island Ecological Reserve across the waterway from Marine Science Institute, campers will be inspired and curious about the vast array of wildlife this area offers. This shoreline habitat makes the Bay ecosystem healthier by providing homes for diverse animals that live only in this habitat, migratory birds that use the marsh as a pit-stop along their route, and by acting as a sponge by filtering pollutants and heavy metals from run-off.

During their week learning about the San Francisco Bay’s wetlands, Wetland Explorers will discover the animal life that calls our estuarine habitat home. This camp is geared toward California’s science standards taught during the school year, and is fun and interactive. Campers will touch animals and participate in hands-on activities, games, crafts and songs tailored toward the material.

All Wetland Explorer camps have:

  • 2 days at our site to study live animals from our aquarium and to engage in other science projects both indoors and outside
  • 2 field trips (reached by school bus) that feature different habitats
  • 1 day aboard our ship that includes fishing, studying plankton, sampling mud, and learning about nautical navigation
  • 2 staff plus a volunteer for every 15 campers
  • Flexible curriculum that engages multiple learning styles

The first field trip is to the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park in San Francisco. Here campers will tour the only square-rigged ship left in the San Francisco Bay area, the Balclutha. Built in 1886, the Balclutha was a cargo ship that traveled around the world and now resides in San Francisco as a National Historic Landmark. Campers will learn sea shanties and learn how the San Francisco Bay became one of the world’s largest and most important seaports. Campers will also explore birdlife and invertebrates through activities with binoculars and on the docks at the aquatic park. Kelp crabs, giant bay anemones and nudibranchs as large as your hand will fascinate Wetland Explorers as they compare the invertebrate life in this North Bay area with that found on our docks in the South Bay.

The second field trip is to the Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve, which includes the only extensive wetland along the coast of the San Francisco peninsula. This area hosts extensive flat hiking trails where campers will utilize binoculars and bird field guides to spot some of the 60 species of birds that nest in the marsh (and 200 that fly through it!) and the importance of the marsh as a breakpoint along the Pacific Flyway. They will also use field guides to identify and differentiate between native and non-native plant species. We can even spot harbor seals as they surface, or leopard shark fins as they search along the bottom for food during low tide!

The Wetland Explorer camp is an excellent option for young scientists to learn about our nearby marine habitats. All Instructors have a degree in Marine Biology, Environmental Science, Education or a related field, and many have field research experience and will emphasize different aspects of the curriculum. Each instructor has their own unique teaching style so no two weeks of camp are the same.

Join us for this unique experience as campers explore the science that is practically in their backyard. Camps run Monday through Friday, 8:30am-3pm with extended care available until 5:30pm.

WETLAND EXPLORER SCHEDULE:

June 13-17

June 20-24

June 27-July 1

July 11-15

July 18-22

July 25-29

 

SIGN UP NOW

Marine Camp 2016: Plankton Pioneers Sneak Peak

Campers entering Kindergarten through 1st grade have an exhilarating week ahead of them as Plankton Pioneers!

This camp introduces your budding biologist to the wonders of our amazing local marine life, both in the San Francisco Bay and in our world’s ocean. They will experience the animals and habitats first hand through a variety of fun-filled interactive activities. Campers will learn about and touch live animals in a safe and exciting environment, and participate in themed crafts, games, songs and stories. These activities spark excitement about nature and will inspire campers to appreciate our local life!

Each day of camp has a different theme, enabling campers to explore different aspects of marine science. Plankton Pioneers will also create fun crafts, including decorating their own reusable tote bag with marine animal designs and creating their own jelly to play with. They will also spend a day on board our 90’ research vessel, surveying animals from the San Francisco Bay! This ship was designed specifically for teaching programs in the San Francisco Bay. Join us as we go fishing, survey mud and invertebrates, study plankton, sharks, and so much more!

Camps run Monday through Friday select weeks from 8:30am-1pm. Extended care is available until 5:30pm.

Camp availability:

June 13-17 – FULL

June 27-July 1 – AVAILABLE

July 5-8 – AVAILABLE

August 1-5 – FULL

August 8-12 – FULL

Space is available – join the Plankton Pioneers today!

SIGN UP NOW

Marine Camp 2016: Summer Camp Scholarship Fund

Boat GG bridge

Fun foggy day on the Bay with our middle school campers

The experience of summer camp offers profound positive effects that last for years. It is a special type of community where kids come together to have fun and develop a level of independence resulting from exploring adventures away from home. They make new friends, learn away from the classroom and keep their minds and bodies active while being engrossed in outside activities. At the Marine Science Institute’s Marine Camp, campers are engaged and challenged to explore the natural world and consider their connection to it.

Throughout the year MSI provides marine science education to inspire students and the public to explore the largest Pacific estuary in North and South America, as well as our nearby Pacific coast. We are dedicated to providing funding for these school programs year-round, and we attest to the importance of continuing access to these opportunities in the summer. Every child deserves an opportunity to go to summer camp and we recognize that some families might require a little help.

Our Marine Camp Scholarship Fund offers support for children from families who would otherwise not be able to afford camp. Every child deserves an opportunity to go to camp and we recognize that some families might require a little help. The Marine Camp Scholarship Fund is supported entirely by the charitable donations of our community. Please consider donating to our Marine Camp Scholarship Fund to invest in the future of young marine scientists. Thank you for your consideration.

blue DONATE fish

Marine Science Institute is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) not for profit organization
©2016. All Rights Reserved.

Marine Camp 2016: Splash Into Summer

MSI sand

Summer planning is in full swing! It is that time of year to begin thinking about your family’s summer activities. Summer camps of all kinds hold a myriad of opportunities for growth, making new friends, learning and fun. At the Marine Science Institute’s Marine Camp in Redwood City, CA, countless marine science themed activities await campers. Our knowledgeable staff are full-time educators and marine biologists with a genuine passion for sharing the wonders of nature with others. Whether your camper is learning about coastal California or the San Francisco Bay marine life, they will be amazed by the variety of creatures found in our own backyard! Marine Camp has several camps to choose from over the duration of the summer:

Plankton Pioneers is for our youngest campers (entering grades K-1st), and their week is full of exciting activities that introduce campers to different aspects of marine science. Each day at our site is themed with hands-on activities, animal touching and a fun craft that is related to the theme of the day. During one camp day, campers are true marine biologists aboard our Research Vessel and practice animal collecting from the bay!

Entering grades 2nd-5th have two options of Explorers camps: Wetland Explorers and Ocean Explorers. These camps are similar in structure but delve into two different habitats. They were designed so that our dedicated marine scientists could attend 2 weeks of camp without much repetition in curriculum. While Wetland Explorers focuses on the San Francisco Bay’s animals and habitats including marshes, sloughs and mudflats, the Ocean Explorers camp focuses on coastal California and the world ocean. Both camps explore how we are connected to those habitats and how we have a direct impact on their health. The Explorer camps both have 2 days at our site, 2 different field trips, and a day aboard our Research Vessel.

Our Naturalist program (entering 4th-5th grade) is for campers who have previously attended one of the Explorers camps and are ready to dive a little deeper into marine science and research methods. Campers will learn how to be naturalists and will focus on aspects within both the wetland and oceanic habitats. This fast-paced camp has 2 days at our site, 2 field trips and a trip aboard our Research Vessel to take students behind the scenes as marine biologists.

Underwater Investigators is for campers entering 6th-8th grades and involves much scientific investigation. Campers explore the varied fields within marine science including marine ecology, biodiversity, biological oceanography and more by using scientific data collection and analysis on land, boat and canoe. Our middle school age camp even has an overnight aboard the Research Vessel!

Our final camp option occurs just one week of the summer. The Project Discovery campers (entering 9th-12th grades) have an action packed week starting with animal sampling and data collection aboard the Research Vessel, followed by 4 days of camping along the coastline. This camp is geared towards high school students who want to study marine biology in the field.

Join us this summer for new field trips, activities, and friends! Week-long sessions are available June 13 – August 12. Registration begins Monday February 1 at 8 am.

CAMP PRICE ENTERING

GRADES

STARTING DATES

(all camps run Mon-Fri – camp is closed for July 4th holiday, and that week will be prorated)

Plankton Pioneers $415 K-1 June 13, June 27, July 5, August 1, August 8
Wetland Explorers $500 2-5 June 13, June 20, June 27, July 11, July 18, July 25
Ocean Explorers $500 2-5 June 13, June 20, June 27, July 5, July 11, July 18, July 25, August 1, August 8
Naturalists $550 4-5

(for returning campers only)

July 5, July 18, August 1, August 8
Underwater Investigators $650 6-8 June 20, July 11, July 25
Project Discovery $1300 9-12 July 18

 

Summer Marine Science Camp is just around the corner. To learn more please visit our webpage at http://www.sfbaymsi.org/marinecamp or contact Alex, the Marine Camp Manager at 650-364-2760 x19 or e-mail alex@sfbaymsi.org.

Share this article, and the opportunity to register with your friends and family.

 

Marine Science Institute is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) not for profit organization
©2016. All Rights Reserved

Stewardship Monday: Kid’s Ocean Day

Last Friday we celebrated Kid’s Ocean Day with over 700 elementary students from San Francisco and Marin. They converged onto Ocean Beach for a massive beach clean-up and a culminating aerial art project to send a message of conservation. In honor of their efforts, let’s focus once again on keeping beaches, oceans, and communities clean! We can do so by recycling and disposing of trash properly, but also by reducing the amount of trash you make. Here is a re-post of Stewardship Monday: Trash Audit to inspire us to cut out waste.

“As we clean up our homes, we may also be able to clean up our habits. In America, 1.35 billion pounds of garbage was thrown away every day­­­—about 4.5 pounds per person. That garbage weighs about as much as 6,750 blue whales! How much trash do you throw away? Sometimes it is hard to tell as we move about our face-paced lives. A straw here, a wrapper there, a ready made lunch and dinner from a mix…it all adds up.

photo credit: whalewatch.co.nz

Trash audit challenge:

Don’t throw anything out! Keep it all, including recycling and compost, no matter where you are. You may want to carry around a couple of bags to sort trash, recycling and compost. Start with one day, then see if you can make it to a whole week.

At the end of a day (or week), weigh your unsorted waste. Next, weigh your recyclables, compostables, and trash. What do you discard the most?

After making this trash audit, consider what you can do to throw away less stuff—can you buy something that comes in a recyclable container rather than one that must be thrown away? Are there reusable options?

My personal goal is to plan ahead to make my lunches more often rather than buying premade lunches at the coffee shop or grocery store. This will save on packaging materials, money and calories! What small change will you make?”

Marine Camp Sneak Peek: In the Field

Over the 15 summers of camp, we have enjoyed some fantastic field trips. Every year one of the most fun challenges in planning camp is finding field trip opportunities. Finding just the right place takes a lot of careful consideration…What can we learn? What will we see? How about the logistics and safety?

Each site that is considered for field trip may fulfill some sort of learning objective or topic that fits with the camp’s themes. It also needs to be fun, engaging and safe. When our staff visits a site they look for “Opportunities and Obstacles” that will influence the field trip experience.

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Our Ocean Explorers camp always includes at least one trip to the coast. We search for sites that have accessible examples of different habitats, plants and animals, including tide pools, dunes, bays, sloughs and beaches. We also look for opportunities to do new activities or work with other organizations that can provide different views on learning about the Ocean, science, and other related topics.

Bay Explorers have a chance to connect to the natural resources in their own backyards. Past trips have brought Bay Explorers to the coast, the Aquarium of the Bay, and to local parks. There are many opportunities in the area to discover hidden gems, where campers can explore the wildlife around them, including in places that they can return to with their families.

Naturalists, our returning campers, focus on camp topics in more depth. Whether visiting a familiar site or a new site, they apply more scientific tools and methods to explore. They often visit similar sites to both the Bay and Ocean Explorers.

This year our Summer Camp Scouts joined in the search for the perfect site. They visited new and old sites to discover ways to enjoy the wonderful habitats that we are lucky to be near. There is one scouting event left in March, don’t miss this opportunity to make camp your own!

Stewardship Monday: Household Hazardous Waste

A recent report released by the San Francisco Estuary Institute showed that “contaminants of emerging concern” (CECs) have been detected in our waterways. These CECs include pesticides, pharmaceuticals and nutrients that can cause an impact on water quality. How do they get into the water that we drink?

Some of these CECs get into our watershed with little interference. Any substance that is sprayed or scattered on the ground—in our yards, on the road or on farms, eventually gets washed down the watershed. It is important to remember that storm drains do not get filtered, so anything that gets left on the ground (from litter, to pet waste, to plant food) will end up in the Bay. Even things that get buried (as in a landfill) can affect the water. Ground water soaks through the earth and flows to the Bay the same way water on the surface does.

There are also items in our homes that can affect the water. Household items such as CFL light bulbs (the twisty kind), batteries, medicines, electronics and cleaning products contain chemicals. They are safe to use in your house, but can be harmful to the watershed if not properly disposed of. Most pharmacies and police stations can safely disposed of unused medicines (which are not always removed by wastewater treatment), and many communities have household hazardous waste stations and e-waste collecting stations that properly dispose of or recycle products with hazardous waste. Find the right way to dispose of household hazardous waste where you live!

There are non-toxic options for cleaning supplies!

In addition to disposing of waste properly, you can do your part to keep chemicals out of the water (and your home) by finding alternatives to the chemicals that we use on a regular basis. Here are some less toxic recipes for household cleaners!

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