Marine Science project members attended engaging ocean-inspired classroom series about marine life, presented by education experts at The Marine Mammal Center and Monterey Bay Aquarium. They learned about the diversity of life in the oceans, about the biggest animals in the world, about top predators and about endangered marine mammal species.
Marine Mammal Sunday – Sea Otters Spectacular
East Hill Marine Science project members attended the Sea Otter Awareness Week program at The Marine Mammal Center. They learned about this smallest and the furriest marine mammal. They learned about its habitat, adaptation to cold water, how it finds food, and how it uses tools to open tough abalone shells. Project members also attended classroom presentations and docent led tours of the Center.
Marine Science Sunday – Top Predators
During the Top Predators Sunday the project members learned about Orcas and Sharks. They learned about their size, and skills. Project members also discussed which specie is the top predator. They also found out about the largest species of dolphins. Marine Science Sunday included a tour of the marine mammal hospital, showcasing some of the patients, and how veterinarians are helping them to get well.
Members of the East Hills Marine Science project went to Monterey Bay Aquarium for a field trip. They took pictures of marine life in the Aquarium, got to touch marine life in touch pools, and participated in docent tours. They also watched videos about marine mammals, and saw programs in the Tide Pool Theater.
Community Service – Coastal Cleanup Day
As part of the Marine Science project, members also took part in the Coastal Cleanup Day. During the Coastal Cleanup Day they performed community service –cleaned up the Rodeo Beach, LK shoreline, and Crab Cove. Project members walked on the beach, carrying buckets and picked up trash off the sand. They also recorded what kind of trash was found, and in what quantity. Coastal Cleanup Day is a state-wide project organized by California Coastal Commission.
Vaquita – the Most Endangered Marine Mammal
Project members were deeply involved in efforts to save the Vaquita porpoise. Vaquita is a small porpoise found only in the northern Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez) in Mexico. Scientists believe only 16 of these animals remain. Project members learned about their sharp decline, their habitat, and their adaptations. Their decline is due to the poachers and fishermen using gillnets. Vaquitas get caught in those gillnets, and because they cannot surface for air, they drown. To increase awareness of Vaquitas’ plight, project members created a play, wrote a poem, and gave presentations about Vaquitas.
As part of individual explorations, some members attended Underwater Adventure at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. They donned scuba equipment and explored Monterey Bay tide pools. They learned how to safely use scuba gear, and how to be safe under water. During the dive, they had a rare opportunity to see shark eggs, sea urchins, and fish in their natural habitat.