The Marine Science Institute has educated and inspired hundreds of thousands of students over the past 45 years. I was fortunate to be one of them in 1998 during my fifth-grade field trip aboard the R.V. Robert G. Brownlee. It was the inaugural year of the Brownlee, taking students out on San Francisco Bay to educate them about the Bay’s marine life. In the photo, I am 10 years old and standing in the stern well of the boat while readying the fish trawl. Leopard sharks, a bat ray, and a slew of other animals were caught and used for the program. I remember being amazed by the variety of life found in water that was practically in my backyard! “WOW” moments such as this inspired me to pursue a career in marine science, first in research and then in education. Because of programs like those at MSI, I was excited at the opportunities the field of marine science presented. I became an avid SCUBA diver, earned a B.S. in Biology and M.S. in Marine Biology, and was a part of research projects in Honduras, Bonaire, Indonesia and the Bahamas. I was eager to share my passion for marine life and became involved in education and inspiring future marine biologists.
I was excited to revisit MSI upon learning of an opening for a Science Instructor position. It
became my job to encourage students and the public to be curious about the San Francisco Bay and nearby Pacific coast (How is something so dynamic and rewarding considered a job?). Opening students’ eyes to the natural world, inspiring students to ask questions, and encouraging them think a little outside of themselves is a dream position I hope that everyone experiences one day. I am now the Marine Camp Manager at MSI and part of my job is to build and develop curriculum that boosts knowledge about, and appreciation for, nearby marine life and habitats.
Being able to apply real world marine research techniques and lessons in a fun learning environment sparks curiosity and appreciation. The opportunity to connect with nature encourages the desire to protect it. MSI’s Mission to “cultivate a responsibility for the natural environment and our human communities through interdisciplinary science education” has been achieved in the minds of thousands of campers and students, including mine. The ocean and Bay are terrific classrooms that foster interest for students, summer campers and the public.
I am in the process of developing dynamic curriculum for summer Marine Camp that introduces marine life to young scientists and challenges our returning campers with new material. MSI strives to retain campers from year to year by introducing new themes, incorporating different field trips and subject matter, and constantly updating our knowledge and awareness of new developments within the science community. Each camp will also have the familiar fun day of fishing, sampling mud and invertebrates, and towing for plankton while aboard our 90-foot research vessel.
Throughout the year, MSI provides marine science education to inspire students and the public to explore our nearby marine habitats. We provide funding for schools to enjoy our programs, and we are dedicated to 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. Please consider donating to our Marine Camp Scholarship Fund to give the gift of camp. This fund, which is supported entirely by the charitable donations of our community, supported the tuition of 17 campers in the summer of 2015! If every camp family from 2015 donated $10, we would be able to send 25 more deserving children to camp.
Marine Camp is truly a one-of-a-kind program that excites and inspires children to appreciate the nearby marine life and the processes that sustain it. I look forward to sharing this unique program with you. Keep your eyes open for special opportunities to connect with Marine Camp before summer, including tidepool excursions, open houses at MSI, and a docent-guided walk and picnic lunch at Año Nuevo Natural Preserve! More information can be found on our website and in the side bar.