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Making A Splash at Marine Science Camp

Each summer we are excited to welcome fresh faces to the Marine Science Camp family. We also eagerly greet returning campers .One third of the campers this summer also attended camp in 2015! The constant flow of both new and returning campers keeps us on our toes. We expand upon existing curricula each year, developing new activities and planning new field trips to keep the summer not only fresh for our returning campers, but also to reflect current developments and events within the marine science community.

New this summer was an exciting overnight opportunity for our Naturalists. Campers spent Thursday night of their camp week at MSI with meals, activities and a fire pit session with s’mores provided. Underwater Investigators learned about different areas of focus within the field of marine science including marine chemistry, biological oceanography, bioengineering, marine invertebrate physiology and so much more. They also learned about the gear and boats that retrieve marine debris from the Bay, and even got to tour one of the recovery vessels in Sausalito! The Underwater Investigators even saw whales on their trip aboard the R/V Robert G. Brownlee!

Campers in grades 2-5 also had new off-site experiences. The Wetland Explorers visited

the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park to explore the Balclutha, Eureka and Hercules and learned how these 19th-century ships helped make the San Francisco Bay one of the world’s biggest seaports. The Ocean Explorers teamed up with the Ocean Conservancy to collect data on how tidal changes, storm fronts and currents affect the distribution of trash, nutrients and floating animals. While our Plankton Pioneers do not go off-site for field trips other than their excursion on the research vessel, they did have new crafts and activities in which they touched and learned about animals from the San Francisco Bay and Pacific coast.

We are also fortunate to have volunteers and instructional staff return year after year. Many of our volunteers were campers at one point, and many of our counselors were once volunteers! Most of the camp instructors teach at MSI throughout the year and are experienced marine educators that have taught pre-kindergarten through college marine science. This summer we welcomed new instructional staff from all over California, Illinois, Texas, Colorado, Hawaii and New York! They brought with them fresh experiences and ideas, knowledge about other habitats, and differing perspectives on marine science and environmental education.

As camp comes to a close and we look forward to a new school year, I am grateful for the experiences brought on by this summer. While many of our staff will return to MSI in the fall to teach, we will surely miss those who are headed off to school or positions at other institutions. Thank you for a tremendous summer; this whirlwind season was full of familiar fun, new adventures and friends, and a flood of new ideas. We hope both campers and staff will join us again next summer to experience even more of what the San Francisco Bay and Pacific coastline have to offer. As Thoreau stated, “One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter.” so please keep MSI in mind and join us for public and member events throughout the year.

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