Thursday, April 20, 2006

California Trip - April 10, 2006


In the morning, students and chaperones cleaned the basement of St. Timothy Lutheran Church. The church needed to use the room later in the day. Everyone pitched in and the area was spotless when the group was done. Mr. O’Connor, Guy’s father, had recently arrived in Monterey on a family visit. He was gracious enough to shuttle the entire group, one carload at a time, to the Monterey Bay Aquarium (http://www.mbayaq.org/). While waiting for a ride, groups that remained at the church played a football game in the parking lot.

When the entire group was assembled, an aquarium guide took us up to a research lab for an hour long class entitled “From Stingers to Spines.” In this class, students had the opportunity to handle many sea creatures including starfish, abalone, hermit crabs and moon snails. Students put food in the animals’ aquariums and watched them react to it. Students were required to sketch several sea creatures in their journals, list facts about them and describe how they reacted to stimuli such as food.

After completing the class, the group was excused. Small groups of students walked with chaperones to nearby restaurants. Several groups visited Carl’s Jr. Although slightly more expensive than McDonald’s, the hamburgers were much better. After eating, groups walked along the Pacific Grove waterfront to the Hopkins Marine Station
of Stanford University (http://hms.stanford.edu/). On the marine station beach, students had a chance to witness a large resident group of harbor seals. Students pointed out several small harbor seal pups. The group then walked back to Cannery Row (http://www.monterey.org/museum/canneryrow/), the area captured by John Steinbeck in his famous novel by the same name.

At approximately 1:30 PM, all Adventure Ed groups gathered, once again, in the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s research lab. The group was met by two scientists from the Sea Otter Research and Conservation Program (http://www.mbayaq.org/efc/efc_otter/otter_resources.asp). The two scientists introduced students to the fascinating world of sea otters. The scientists talked about the current sea otter population in Monterey Bay and how they are monitoring their numbers. The conservation program has been working hard to boost the numbers of sea otters in Monterey Bay. After hearing the scientists present information, Adventure Ed students walked outside to the aquarium viewing deck and used high tech equipment to spot sea otters in the immediate area.

At about 2:30 PM, students and chaperones were allowed to explore the aquarium. Some highlights included the kelp forest (http://www.mbayaq.org/efc/kelp.asp), sharks and rays (http://www.mbayaq.org/efc/sharks.asp) and the jellyfish exhibit (http://www.mbayaq.org/efc/efc_se/se_jla.asp).

Langley Middle School Adventure Ed would like to thank Scott Stratton and the Monterey Bay Aquarium for allowing our entire group to experience a world-class aquarium free of charge. Your generosity made for an amazing educational experience that both students and chaperones will never forget.

After exploring the aquarium, Adventure Ed students walked to the Monterey Public Library to escape into a book before walking on to St. Timothy Lutheran Church.

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