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Reports from SEACAMP

Wednesday October 24 Seacamp Day 3:

Day 3 at Seacamp began a little earlier as we had an early start with the boat trip for Group A. Breakfast today was scrambled eggs, oatmeal, hash brown potatoes, fruit, cereal and juice. Group A headed off to the harbor for their boat trip while Group B got organized for their Plankton Lab and trip to the Zoo.

Group B enjoyed learning about plankton and its importance in the marine ecosystem. There was a lot of information about plankton and samples were looked at under the microscope on the large screen. The students in their table groups were then given some supplies (play doh and toothpicks) and a challenge to design plankton that would take the longest time to sink to the bottom of a water-filled column. Team Argentina won with a record beating 41 seconds for their plankton to sink to the bottom of the column. Well done, Emma C, Emily, Chris Sw and Gabe O.

Group B then headed to the San Diego Zoo where they met Zoo Ambassador, Cocoa – an armadillo and got to meet and feed the Galapagos Tortoises as well. The students embarked on their bus tour of the zoo, learning about the many animals and interesting facts about the zoo. The group ended their tour at the Giraffe enclosure where they went behind the scenes to feed the giraffes. The afternoon, after sack lunches, was spent touring the Zoo in smaller groups with the Seacamp instructors and STEM teachers. Many got to see the babies at the zoo – there were baby orangutan, gorilla, hippo and meerkats.

Group A headed off early for their boat trip. After all the gear was loaded, the students learned many interesting facts and important safety information for the day on the boat. They headed out of the harbor to the kelp forests. Students put on their wetsuits and vests and when ready, got to step off the boat into the water. Groups spent time snorkeling through the kelp forests looking for interesting specimens with the Seacamp instructors.

Some of the students felt seasick so we headed back into the harbor and completed a trawl in Mission Bay to sample some of the marine organism populations. The students all helped with setting the nets and then pulling in the nets. They were lucky enough to find many different marine organisms including a few different species of fish, sand dollars and a stingray to name a few. After docking back in the harbor, the students went to the Children’s Pool to see the seals which they enjoyed very much. They then headed to the tidal pools at La Jolla to collect different specimens. They had a fun time looking through the tidal pools and under rocks to see what they could uncover. The Seacamp instructors then identified the specimens found and shared lots of information about the specimens.

Back to Seacamp for both groups where they had showers, played basketball and many played card games in the free time. It was lovely to see the kids interacting with one another and the Seacamp instructors and STEM teachers. There were many students who enjoyed hanging out at the touch tanks as well. Dinner tonight was Orange Chicken, rice, broccoli, salad and rice crispy treats. Group B got their gear bags ready for their boat trip on Thursday.

The workshop in the evening was on Night Adaptations. The kids played games and enjoyed learning lots of information about the many adaptations to the deeper parts of the ocean. The workshop ended with a fun game of Capture the Flag out on the beach area at Seacamp.

Thursday – Group A will complete the Plankton Lab and their trip to the San Diego Zoo while Group B will go on their boat trip and then to see the seals and explore the tidal pools.

Today was another great day for our Seacampers.

Day 2:

Tuesday October 23, 2018 Seacamp Day 2

Hello Seacamp families.

Today began with a delicious breakfast of pancakes, fruit, cereal and juice. The kids received great reports from the Seacamp chaperones overnight for their behavior – well done Seacamp kids!

After breakfast and clean up, Group B headed to Mission Point to spend the morning snorkeling and seining. Groups went snorkeling looking for various marine invertebrates and small fish while others learnt sein netting – a useful tool for population sampling of the marine invertebrates and fish of the area. Group A stayed at the Seacamp facility and completed their Fish Adaptations Lab. The students investigated many of the adaptations and enjoyed learning about chondrchthyes (cartilaginous fish) and osteichthyes (bony fish). They got to pet Larry the shark and completed a fish dissection as well.

Group A headed off and joined Group B for lunch at beautiful Mission Point. Group B then headed back to Seacamp to complete their Invertebrates Lab. The Invert Lab investigated many interesting marine invertebrates with lots of specimens to hold and observe. Many of the invertebrates discussed in the lab were seen while snorkeling and seining. This lab concluded with a squid dissection and the kids got to draw ink tattoos. Group A enjoyed playing some fun games and then spent the afternoon snorkeling at Mission Point and seeing what they could catch with the sein net.

Free time today saw many playing basketball and card games. The kids got to purchase items from the Seacamp store – they look great in their Seacamp hoodies and shirts! Dinner was delicious - it was Taco Tuesday and there were lemon bars for dessert.

After dinner Group A got their gear bags ready for the boat trip tomorrow and then all the students went to the Marine Mammals workshop. They learned lots of interesting facts and information about our marine mammals (looking at the orders Sirenia, Carnivora, Cetacea and Pinnipedia). They played a fun game – mother seals and baby seals had to find each other in the large group – it was noisy but a lot of fun. The workshop ended with some interesting videos on the marine mammals studied.

Group A will be on the boat trip tomorrow while Group B will complete the Plankton Lab and the trip to the San Diego Zoo. We are taking photos and are going to put all the photos together and will share them with you all. It was another great day at Seacamp.

Monday October 22, 2018 Seacamp Day 1
Hello Seacamp families. Day 1 at SEACAMP saw an early start to the day with the morning flight to San Diego. We were lucky to fly in a brand new Southwest airplane. The kids received great reports from the Southwest crew with a shout out to STEM at the end of the flight!
Seacamp picked us up at the airport and we made our way to the Seacamp facility on Fiesta Island. The kids sorted out their beds in the dorms and got to meet the Seacamp staff. They were then fitted for wetsuits and we headed to beautiful La Jolla beach for lunch and some fun beach activities. Groups went boogie boarding while other groups went on an interesting beach walk and talk and then swapped to the other activity. There were many waves caught and some impressive distances achieved! A couple of the groups were lucky to see a seal.
We then made our way to the BIrch Aquarium where the kids and their Seacamp instructors and STEM staff took part in a scavenger hunt. We got to walk through the aquarium, enjoying all of the wonderful displays and different marine creatures. Some of the students also got to hold spiny urchins and touch anemones. There was also some time spent purchasing souvenirs at the gift store as well.
We headed back to Seacamp and students got to wash the wetsuits and then enjoy some free time. Some basketball was played while others took the chance to call home. Others played games. This was the time for showers as well.
We enjoyed a lovely dinner and then the students had a lab activity. One group completed the Fish Adaptations lab while the other group completed the Invertebrate lab. 
Tuesday will see the students completing the other lab (either the Fish Adaptations or the Invertebrate lab) and they will alternate with a snorkelling and Seining activity at MIssion Point as well. They will also complete an evening workshop on marine mammals and behavior.
Kathy Dwyer,
Kathy Dwyer
7th Grade Science Teacher | STEM School Highlands Ranch
t 303-683-STEM (7836) | e