Catalina Science Adventure
As Labor Day dawned and many were still fast asleep, students from Heritage Junior High School and Heritage Flex Academy began gathering for the annual eighth grade science trip to Catalina Island. Parents helped the students check their gear, then exchanged hugs and said their goodbyes. A team of intrepid teachers and chaperones took a final tally, then climbed aboard the four buses that would take them to Long Beach where they would board the 120-foot, three-deck, floating classroom, Enhydra. The Enhydra then crossed the 26-mile channel to White's Landing on Catalina Island for five days and four nights of marine science adventure.
Once on the island, students gathered into breakout groups and joined in non-stop marine science adventure. After a quick briefing, they got into the ocean and snorkeled through the kelp forests observing fish and participating in exploration labs. They even had a nighttime snorkel that allowed them to observe plankton bioluminescence and the crustaceans that are active at night.
Later, the students took to kayaks to observe the local ocean birds and their nests on the rocks and cliffs. While on dry land, students observed plankton life under microscopes. They also learned about the detrimental impact of plastic pollution in the oceans and learned ways to help conserve the valuable Pacific coastline.
Students ate their daily meals in the dining hall and slept on cots in large tents. Each day they developed new friendships and overcame apprehensions they may have had about the ocean and being at camp away from parents. On Friday, students cleaned up their cabins and packed their gear for the journey home.
Saying goodbye to camp at White's Landing, they boarded the Enhydra for the return voyage to Long Beach. Once there, they boarded buses and headed home. At Heritage Junior High School, parents were waiting with big smiles to receive them. This was a fantastic science camp experience for the 8th grade students of Heritage Junior High School and Heritage FLEX Academy.