Archive for the ‘Camps’ Category

Marine Science 2: Coastal Geology

Posted on: February 9th, 2016 by admin

California’s coastal geology began in the ocean. Our state is a compilation of Pacific Plate island arcs; like the Hawaiian Island chain, that converged and were forced by subduction under the North American Plate, until the appearance of the San Andrea Fault.  The Central Coast exhibits visible evidence of our geological history from Guadalupe to Big Sur.  Here on the coast, we sit on a constantly shifting piece of the Earth’s crust and we’re also on the western rim of “The Ring of Fire” where the majority of the earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and plate shifting occurs. For millions of years, the topography of California has been shaped and reshaped by glaciers, plate tectonics, volcanic activity, and earthquakes. 


In Montana de Oro State Park, we’ll explore marine terraces, shale coves, and sand dunes.  We’ll climb Valencia Peak and Bishop’s Peak and examine the pillow lava formations near Port San Luis.  We’ll explore Oso Flaco Lake Dunes and the Pismo Dunes Reserve. We will also have a couple of field trips to Pinnacles National Monument to explore the Talus caves. We’ll also visit the “Earthquake Capital of the World” Parkfield, Calif.  On the way there we’ll see the San Andreas Fault up close and see the visible effects of fault activity.


Marine Science 1: Estuaries and Beyond

Posted on: February 8th, 2016 by admin

Students will explore Morro Bay Estuary and learn the importance of estuaries, in the lives of marine animals and birds.  We’ll observe nesting local marine birds and their feeding behaviors. We’ll observe summer migrants traveling along the Pacific Flyway, as well as local raptors (hawks, falcons, and osprey) that patrol the estuary.  We will also Kayak the entire bay during the week.  Students will examine local Aquaculture (marine farming) by visiting an oyster farm in the bay, and The Abalone Farm in Cayucos.

During “Belly Biology” (observing invertebrates, while laying on your belly!) we’ll examine the invertebrates that make their homes underneath and discuss the adaptations that make their way of life possible. We’ll explore the salt marsh, examining halophytes (salt tolerant plants), the mudflats, and its inhabitants; like ghost shrimp, Navanax, and the arrow goby. We’ll explore the harbor mouth where the Sea otters hang out, and roam the breakwater rip rap searching for slugs, sea stars, urchins, and sea cucumbers.

Students will get a overview of Harbor Patrol operations, and equipment and learn to read tide charts, while observing the effects of tide cycles on estuary life. On Friday’s we’ll finish the week by boarding a Sub-Sea charter boat for a whale watching cruise to track humpback whales and other marine mammals. When we dock, we’ll grab some lunch at Giovanni’s on the Embarcadero.